The country’s attention is focused on two men, but there are hundreds of other people – seen and unseen – that greatly affect the public’s perception of those two men: Obama and Romney. Who do you think is the most important person or group in a campaign?
I’m not one of those who believe that The Daily Show is just a comedy show and that Jon Stewart is just a comedian. As the US presidential election officially kicked off with conventions in the past couple of weeks, The Daily Show began its full coverage, and Stewart and his correspondents were in top form. Yes, they are funny, and yes, they are clever, but the foundation of their material is comprised of hard-hitting, actual honesty. As the election continues, the rhetoric will unabashedly increase, from both parties as well as the media outlets covering the race. Whether Jon Stewart and The Daily Show impact the actual results means little; it’s the impact of what we learn and are exposed to that is of higher importance.
No matter how well the candidates perform in the debates (or not), no matter how well they explicate their policy plans (or not), no matter how much money they raise (or not), it will all be for naught if no one actually goes to the polls. And that is not an unlikely possibility. As is detailed in this article, only 56% of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2008 U.S. presidential elections (the highest percentage since 1968). Compare this figure with 95% voter turnout in Australia, 79% in New Zealand, and 65% in the United Kingdom. The U.S. currently ranks 138th out of 172 countries in voter participation. For arguably the most vocal proponent of democracy in the world, the U.S. hardly seems to appreciate, practice, or understand it themselves.
Our president for the next four years, who will play a huge role in shaping the future of our country, will depend solely on the people who make the effort to vote on election day. Those who don’t vote should take care to remember that they will have no right to complain, not even once, if things don’t proceed as they would like over the next four years.
Since when are “off the cuff” remarks not considered an important insight into the character of a person? When the public image of each candidate is so closely scripted and rehearsed, it’s often times hard to tell who that person really is. Yesterday, the news world exploded with a video posted on Mother Jones’ website of Mitt Romney’s thoughts on Obama supporters. Secretly recorded, Romney said, “47% of Obama’s supporters are blah blah blah.” He later explained away his remarks as “speaking off the cuff in response to a question.” He wants “to help all Americans — all Americans — have a bright, prosperous future.” Thanks to this anonymous videographer, voters have a new insight into Mitt Romney’s character – or lack thereof.