Written by Rev. Bentley de Bardelaben November 6, 2012
Last week four year old Fort Collins, Colorado girl, Abigael Evans, cried as she listens to the 2012 political season campaign advertisements on National Public Radio (NPR) in her mom’s car. ‘I’m tired of Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney’, says Abigael sadly. Me too! Her mother, Elizabeth reported said, “That’s why you’re crying? With crocodile tears streaming down her face, Abigael nods affirmatively.
Many across the nation have probably had similar thoughts as to what this beautiful and insightful little girl was able to articulate, especially in the swing states. When is it enough? All day long, especially during certain programs and hours of the day, all we mostly see are campaign political ads.
After a while, don’t those paying for them realize that all we hear is “blah, blah, blah”? Or we switch the channel to try to escape the constant bombardment to no avail. I cannot wait until Wednesday, November 7th when many of us will let out a collective sigh and cry out “free at last”!
I heard that the rationale for the onslaught for many of these has been was to sway or speak to the independent voter. Well as one of those targeted, how many times do I need to hear something to make up my mind? One? One dozen? One hundred? Really? This election season has been such overkill. The billions of dollars spent to influence us alone could have been monies pumped into the economy to make it healthier.
Further, is the information spouted through these ads factually accurate? Is it political spin? Is it outright campaign deception? What about propaganda? Or some of each? Are people aware that they have to fact check them? Do viewers or listeners know which online sources are neutral? Truth be told, not all websites are.
As any good parent would, Abigael’s mom attempted to reassure her child by letting her know that the election would soon be over. When NPR heard of this situation, they apologized to the little girl. A NPR blogger was quoted as saying “do we feel bad now”. Additionally, the public radio had words of encouragement for Abigael (as well as the rest of us): “On behalf of NPR and all other news outlets, we apologize to Abigael and all the many others who probably feel like her. We must confess, the campaign’s gone on long enough for us, too. Let’s keep telling ourselves: “Only a few more days, only a few more days, only a few more days.”
Too bad the majority of other news outlet stations won’t be issuing to its audience any apologies. Since today is Election Day, the good news is that today ends this crazed campaign malarkey. It won’t end the pundits spin on any favorite cable twenty four hour news channel. But at least I have the option to escape their paid punditry. In those instances, it’s about ratings which generate profit for those channels.
I’m speaking to much larger and deeper issues; i.e. campaign financing, voter’s rights, etc. Elections are about governing and the making of public policy. They should not be about who has the capacity to fund advertisements which may or may not be grounded on which group has the deepest pocketbook instead of what is best for all of the people of this amazing republic versus a select few of its citizenry.
I can only hope that for all the dollars raised and spent, people go to the polls and due their civic duty by voting. As evidenced by all barrage of political ads, many groups believe that each vote matters. Hopefully those viewing and listening were stirred to do that and not turned off and hence elect to stay home. That decision doesn’t help any one of us.
So thank you Abigael Evans. Thank you for expressing yourself in a way that I and others have not so done. I have heard, agreed and stated that familiar adage, “out of the mouth of babes”. Who knew that it would be such an appropriate saying in such a time as this election season? Be that as it may, I’m grateful that the madness of the campaign ends today.
Rev. Bentley de Bardelaben Executive for Administration and Communications Justice & Witness Ministries Program Team Based in Cleveland, Ohio Justice And Witness Ministries 700 Prospect Ave. Cleveland,Ohio 44115 216-736-3713 firstname.lastname@example.org