Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hucka...cockroach? Hucka... grasshopper? Hucka... berry?

A friend sent this video to me with the ominous words: "These people's votes count as much as yours."

It is, of course, damn funny and damn scary. And Jay Leno's line, "You get the government you deserve," is both apt and... damn scary.

But here's the thing about showing people on the street *pictures* of the candidates and asking questions about them: I'd fail also. And come to think of it, I'm proud of that fact. I can name the candidates, I can tell you things about their parties, their positions, and a little bit about their successes and failures in the primaries. I know these things primarily from listening to the radio (KPCC, my local NPR station) and I know a little bit more from websites like, the one magazine I get (Harper's), and conversations with friends and family. When I stop to think about it, I think it's pretty fucking great that none of my opinions are based on what the candidates look like. I mean, yeah, Hillary's the female one and Barack is the black one; it'd be hard to fail to identify them from their pictures even if I didn't already know what they looked like. But could I identify the Republicans from their pictures alone? Nope. Good for me.

I'll say it again, folks: it's not a beauty contest.

(Ok, I was able to correctly identify John McCain because when I saw his picture I thought, well, I know he's pretty old so that must be him. Ouch.)

HA!!! I know these things "primarily", get it?? Ha!!!!!!


neonspecs said...

Yeah, I don't think it's important that one knows what candidates look like, but it is a little disturbing that that one woman thought the woman was Jacqueline Kennedy. Anyways, I could name all of them except Ron Paul. go me. haha.

jjd said...

I'm wililng to bet that you are the exception. I don't think these people failed to identify the candidates due to their extensive NPR listening and Harpers reading. Sadly.

Mary said...

Jeff would say: if you don't think elections should be decided on the basis of beauty, then you clearly haven't seen a picture of Ukranian hottie prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

alexis said...

The thing is that these people didn't even know the candidates NAMES. Like when Jay says this guy's first name is "Mitt", it's sad how many people couldn't get to Romney. I agree with JJD, this is not a case of people being educated about the candidates' platforms but simply know knowing what they look like.

However, I agree that it would be great if everyone based their votes ONLY on platforms and not on looks :)

satjiwan said...

yes, scary. but, if it's helpful, only 50% of the people he interviewed will vote. but still....

i guess the thing that disappoints me more is that there's such a lack of distinction between candidates in the major parties (they're almost always in the pocket of corporations pushing for more war and drugs, and wars on drugs) that it's hard to give a crap about voting for the lesser of two evils, and harder to get people who are less civically engaged to put any effort into our "participatory democracy".

rdb, remember that woman in the student union who wouldn't participate in our voter registration drive b/c she thought voting was one of the least effective and, in fact, illusory ways to create change?

ReadDanceBliss said...

Alexis - Um... yeah, glove, it's glove.

Satjiwan - I think of that girl every time I hear about elections, actually! Her name was Ann and I bought her this sticker that said, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." But then I realized "attention" was misspelled and I couldn't decide if that was just a stupid fuckup or if it like exactly proved the point... and so I never gave it to her.