Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day games

Election Day is an exciting time for Americans. It's the opportunity to participate in government and make changes or confirm policies. What it shouldn't be, though, is a game. Unfortunately, that seems to be the only thing that the media considers important.

The horse race is more important than the platform, or so it seems. I watched with head-slapping disgust as CNN discussed what it meant for a Florida candidate's poll numbers when she viewed a text message offering her advice during a commercial break in the gubernatorial debate. Shouldn't the media be asking how they will try to get people back to work and try to stem the bleeding caused by the financial meltdown?

It's more fun to talk about campaigns than it is to talk about how complicated policies will actually affect our everyday lives. But it is those platforms of the the new Congress that restarts in January that should be the highest item on the news agenda.

Republicans may win the House today. But two months later they'll have to govern. Or the Democrats might hold onto both chambers. But two months later they'll have to govern.

Too often the media portrays these races as a sport where there are winners and losers. Sure, half the candidates win and the other half lose. But it's the policies set into motion by the victors that will change our lives. I can't help but to think how those policies may have helped to trigger (or failed to prevent) the economic meltdown two years ago. Would I have spent the past 16 months searching tirelessly for a job that I should have never lost?

So go to the polls today... or don't. I plan on going, but I'll let you decide for yourself if you want to invest 10 minutes into our democracy. Just remember that this isn't a game. In a few months, the politicians elected today will make serious decisions about our future.


  1. one of my friends at work says politics has become more like football -- only absolutes, like "winning" and "losing" and no middle ground for compromise. it's kind of a pisser.

  2. Yeah, it's definitely more of a game than an instrument for public service.