This is the day that quarterly candidate financial reports are due at the FEC, so campaign press releases filled with braggadaccio -- justified or not -- are piling up in many bloggers' and reporters' email boxes. I know I'm supposed to be excited about the fact that many of the candidates I support are doing incredibly well in the area of campaign donations.
I know that as a political blogger I'm expected to rush to the keyboard and try to "scoop" other sites by being among the first to reveal the official numbers. I know I'm supposed to plug in the always boring and totally predictable candidate quotes about how "grateful" they are for all the support and how they will use it to change everything that needs changing in Washington. But I just can't do it today.
I was off wandering on the web, from link to link, wincing at explicitly bloody photos of the Tibetan victims of Chinese brutality. I found myself reading more than I have in weeks about the seemingly intractable problems we face due to global warming, habitat destruction, water depletion and exploding food prices in already starvation-filled parts of the world.
I checked out the latest body counts from Iraq and other "troublespots" around the world. And then I came back to my email boxes and saw all the press releases bragging about tens of thousands or even millions of dollars raised by politicians to buy ads from corporate media outlets and pay their "experts," and it made me want to wretch. Or cry. Can any culture have its priorities and methods of addressing them more screwed up than ours does at this moment in time?
I found myself wishing that some candidate, any candidate, would decide to take all that money, boldly proclaim they'd be running exactly zero slick ads with that same damned person with the same sickly sweet voice as the narrator, and announce they were sending the money to those in real need, right now, instead. Imagine the impact that would have. It might actually make their polling numbers jump 10 points. (Just kidding, but you have to use the preferred lingo to get their attention.)
I might like to encounter a candidate who'd force his or her media people to write at least one real sentence at least one time in a press release that sounds like a real human being is talking. Even better, the candidate might write the release on their own, in their own words. Risky, I know. Beyond the pale.
Or how about this? Instead of appearing at another one of those campaign fundraising parties with the snack trays and the white wine, how about gathering your supporters together to go on a volunteer mission to some charity doing good work to help real people in real pain? To show you really care about what's going on in our community and will do something real about it that goes beyond spouting careful talking points drafted by highly paid consultants?
I'm sure I'll get back to "normal" soon, but today I see a sea of pain all over the globe, sickening overconsumption ruining all that's sacred, degrading conditions and hypocrisy and greed ruling everything -- and I just can't pretend that political campaigns fought in the same old, same old, same old ways will have any genuine impact even if my favored candidates win. For they'll move into the same old, same old, same old government slots to play the games that have failed us so tragically for so long.
It's hard to take the same old, same old, same old approaches seriously today. We seem surrounded by emergencies of the first order with only business-as-usual politicos -- dependent on the cynical and phoney baloney tools of public relations spin -- to take them on. It scares me.
Crossposted on: Democracy for New Mexico