A Rally to Get Election Day Over With

November 1, 2010

I genuinely enjoy election day. 

I’m always inspired by going to my voting center and seeing a couple of small time local politicans handing out buttons and just seeing democracy work.  It makes me proud.  Not so much all the smear campaigns and TV ads, but election day itself is fun. 

Now, I’ve never tried to be political with you on this blog, or even explicitly tell you where I stand.  Though I’m personally really into politics, I’m not going to start now.  But on the eve of another election day, I’ve got five thoughts, and I think everyone will find something to agree with me, and vehemently disagree with me on.  Here we go. 

What on earth is wrong with Glenn Beck?

Seriously, has he been diagnosed?  What is his damage?  I think I know what it is.  He’s a giant crybaby vortex of contradiction.  I know this, because I will admit, I actually listen to his show on the way to work. 

The thing is, I think there are a lot of things that need to change about this country.  That being said, Glenn Beck’s one and only ploy is to constantly announce the end of the whole freaking world.  He’s incessantly talking about the whole country falling over cliffs and precipices (always in future tense).  The real kicker is that this is all while he spouts more and more Jesus talk right along with his assurance that we’re all doomed.  So while he tries harder and harder to be a prophet, he wants you to know that there really is no hope for the future.  Way to be a giant crybaby vortex of contradiction. 

His sponsors know he’s just a doomsday prophet too.  Take a look at three actual random products advertised on Beck’s program: 

Bomb Shelters:  Yes, like the kind people built in the 50s.  Have a premium bomb shelter installed, and get a handy-dandy portable “pinko traitor detector” FREE! 

Freeze Dried Food Survival Packs:  If you didn’t go ahead and get your survival pack in preparation for the horrible Y2K disaster, now’s the time! 

Shady Gold Dealers:  You’ll be thankful you traded in all your soon-to-be-worthless dollars for solid gold.  Because when the world economy turns to dog feces and the illusion of “money” and “value” is permanently broken, taking a box full of gold bullion to the grocery store instead of money will surely not make you look stupid. 

Jon Stewart is Glenn Beck’s evil twin

I like Stephen Colbert.  He’s funny, even when he’s making fun of my point of view.  But Jon Stewart’s show is a complete pile, built on the Bush years, when political satire didn’t exactly require talent or creativity.  The whole point of Stewart’s rally last Saturday was to “restore sanity,” by trying to cool down the political venom in this country.  That’s great, except why did it take Glenn Beck’s rally for him to think of this?  I don’t remember him trying to restore sanity when the party of his obvious preference was out of power.  Where was his rally when those mad as hell protesters were spending eight years on the street corners with posters of George W. with a Hitler mustache?  No, that was perfectly “sane” and logical political debate.  And so, Jon Stewart is also a giant vortex of contradiction so massive he is in danger of collapsing in on himself. 

Of course, the idea of “restoring sanity” is inherantly flawed because it’s based on the insulting notion that half the country is presently insane.  The crowd seemed to really buy into that message with some youthful peaceniks showing up with posters advocating bombing Fox News.  That’s the kind of rally that’ll really make people want to work together.  But my kind of sanity is just the crazy mumblings of a drooling Midwestern half-wit who is too stupid to enjoy the sophisticated humor of Jon Stewart.

Stop saying the word “ideologue”

Even though I don’t like Jon Stewart, I do like the idea of everyone calming down and/or taking a Xanax.  Step one, everyone stop using the word “idealogue” as if it’s an insult.  Oh no, please don’t imply that I strongly advocate my own opinions and ideologies, rather than being a limp wristed jerk who doesn’t think for himself and just sticks his finger in the wind!  People who try to win an argument by calling someone “ideologue” are like chimps trying to win by flinging poo at each other.  Honorable mention to the people who use words like “partisan” and “real Americans.”

The Republicans need to win

But not because I have a ton of faith in them.  I just think the government works best when it can’t get much done, because most of the government’s ideas are bad.  I’m educated enough about history to acknowledge that America has needed both parties.  We needed Lincoln, a Republican, to act decidedly un-Republican and take away the states’ right to secede.  We needed Teddy Roosevelt to do a bunch of trustbusting.  We needed Woodrow Wilson and Dwight Eisenhower and JFK and Ronald Reagan. 

The problem is that whenever any party has control for too long, they screw it up.  Remember, we just kicked the Republicans out four years ago because they screwed up.  We did the same thing to the Dems in ’94.  Neither party can be trusted on their own.  It’s only when they really have to fight to get anything done that they choose what’s really important and things work out best for us. 

Politicians are content to divide us…

…As long as we only care about our side winning.  That’s the real reason for any insanity going on.  We care more about making everyone believe that Sarah Palin is a braindead moron, or Barack Obama is a foreigner than we care about what’s really good for the country.  And as long as we act that way, happy to have our itching ears scratched, politicians will be happy to oblige us while they don’t really do anything except try to not look stupid for the next election. 

Those are my thoughts on this election eve.  Feel free to agree with me or be wrong.  Are you a fan of Beck or Stewart?  Are the Republicans going to win because people love them, or are they going to win just to stop the Democrats?  What does the country need right now?  What other “insult” words are you tired of hearing?

35 responses to A Rally to Get Election Day Over With

  1. We have a state election coming up in Victoria, Aust this month, and I’d like to hear policies that actually mean something (making it illegal for people under 18 to buy pets, and animals must be desexed when purchased from pet stores – one of the incumbents promises; restoring and renovating the W-Class trams for Melbourne – one of the oppositions promises). Also, tell me what you’re going to do, not what the other party hasn’t or won’t do.

  2. You included my pet peeve when it comes to insults – real Americans. I also hate the phrase “take our country back,” as though our country belongs more to one group than another.

    I think the biggest problem we face can be summed up in your last point, “politicians are content to divide us as long as we only care about our side winning.” It’s that point that makes me think an opposition party in Congress might not make a difference this time. I suspect it’s just going to be another 2 years of each side refusing to give up any ground.
    Single and Sane recently posted..I See Dead People

    • Yep, forgot about “taking the country back.” Each side trots this old chestnut out, and then when they’re in power, they try to make the opposition (that is now fighting to take America back) look like a marauding horde of zombies.

  3. I would posit that since Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire in 2006 (where he totally took down the show), his primary target has been “the news.” He definitely does political stuff, don’t get me wrong, but I’d say that “stop hurting America” was his first call to sanity. My impression from the rally was less that it’s the people that are insane and more that the news makes people insane. When every single difference is pointed out as a crisis, we cannot come together. On Saturday he called it the “24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator.” I would suggest THAT is who he feels is destroying sanity and I think he’s been pretty adamant about that point for a long time.
    Alise recently posted..What I Missed Not Growing Up Fundie

    • I hope you’re right and I’m wrong. He just strikes me as a guy who puts politics first, then comedy, and his audience laughs because he validates their opinions.

      • I think it’s easy to get that impression, but when I see him interview those from the “other side” of his political views, he treats them with, IMO, a fair amount of respect. His interviews with Mike Huckabee last year are some of the most reasonable discussions that I’ve seen. He could have spent the time mocking Huckabee’s views that are completely opposite of his own, but instead took time to really examine why they were different and see where they could come to some kind of middle ground (their discussion of abortion is, IMO, the single best discussion of that issue that I’ve ever seen in my life).

        I don’t want to say that he’s not political. He definitely is and his audience is definitely left.
        Alise recently posted..Musical Monday- Interview with Katie Todd and Giveaway!

    • I think this is so true. Stewart’s main focus in more recent years has been to call out media on making this country worse, no matter what political leanings that media outlet might have. He’s gone after CNN, MSNBC, etc. just as brutally as he has with Fox News. If it seems he goes after Fox more often (which may or may not be the case, I don’t watch his show regularly enough to tell), I think it’s because Fox employs more hosts who spend their show screaming and ranting and polarizing every issue to it’s extremes.

      One of the best summaries (though from a liberal-leaning blog) of this weekend’s rallies looks at it from this media-critical perspective:

      “Television news was paralyzed and confused when they had to cover an event that did not fit into their polarized partisan model. The idea that a rally would be held that wasn’t about politics or supporting a particular candidate or party left them stunned. They were equally dumbfounded by the idea that hundreds of thousands of Americans would show up to an event that had no political motive. They couldn’t figure it. ”

      Stewart obviously has his biases, but in this case I believe him when he says that the rally was not a political response to Beck’s rally. A response to Beck’s methods, certainly, but not his politics. Of course, I also believed Beck when he said his rally was not meant to be political, so maybe I’m just gullible. Though certainly in both cases, the political leanings of the attendees acted as a lens which colored how each rally was perceived.

  4. I’ve always wondered why people would put all their money in gold. If our economy crashed, gold would be worthless. The economy would turn into a barter system. A can of gas, bottled water, and matches would be valuable, not gold bars.

    I like quoting Mark Lowry on politics. “I don’t know that much about politics but that’s never stopped me from having an opinion.”

    Jonathan Chang recently posted..Pre blessed food

  5. I’m Canadian and I watch Glenn Beck faithfully. He has a lot of good stuff to say, but I don’t necessarily agree with everything. I agree that the U.S., and Canada for that matter, need to get back to letting the people look after themselves instead of having them think the government has to look after them. Definitely too much government interference. Just saying.

    • Absolutely. It’s not even that I disagree with Beck on everything. It’s just that even when I do agree with him, I can’t help but feel I’ve fallen in a bottomless pit of despair after two minutes of listening to him. For him, doom seems irrevocable, unlike a lot of other analysts.

  6. Jon Stewart and Glenn Beck may be crazy, but with the help of Stephen Colbert America may once again be on the right track.
    Darrell recently posted..I am going bald

  7. I actually had considered a run for governor of MA. Even with backing, my company frowned upon it because they are decidedly in a business that is considered a demon by the other guys.

    I am tired of all the rhetoric. The negative ads don’t bother me too much – as they at least point to something that is a concern. The attack ads I mute. I do prefer ads that present stands on the issues. Add to that guys like Beck and Stewart, Colbert, Hannity and Olberman… shut up!

    I don’t watch folks that are “bashers.” I do grab a little of ABC, CBS, CNN and Fox. I get enough information to research the candidates, and I know their political biases.

    I catch Bill O’Rielly from time to time because he best represents my OVERALL views – though he takes some stands that are totally stupid. The lefties only saw his clips of Whoopie, Behar, Frank and Dodd.

    Last Tuesday I wrote about the types of voters for my Political Tuesday Blog series which ends tomorrow.

    I am with you on the two party system – though I’d like to see it three. I really believe that Christians need to have their own party. One in which they take the issues that have biblical merit and stand for those. It’s working in Europe. Currently we have to go with one or the other while voting for questionable character to get us some of what we want – or toss away a vote on Ralph Nader.

    How does a pro-life, pro-environment, pro-term limits, anti-oil (foreign or domestic), anti-war, pro-DOMA, slash-taxes, get rid of the IRS, pro-2nd Amendment, fix immigration, and pro-national defense voter vote?

    I hate to hear the word “loon.”

    Thanks Matt for stirring it up. Debate is the cornerstone of Democracy.

    You’re a virtual American. 😉

    PS – If you don’t vote, don’t complain.
    David recently posted..What Kind of Voter Are You – Stupid Voters Stay Home

    • Governor, huh? You should go for it! At least get in the race and get on a debate. I think I’d actually enjoy getting into small time local politics. The kind where no one has to spend a million bucks. To me, that’s real, pure democracy that gets stuff done.

      • I was serious. I even had some donations and guaranteed backing – but my company basically said that it would reflect poorly on them. This would have been a good time to be independently wealthy!
        David recently posted..5 1-2 The 95 Theses

  8. Hi Matt,

    Thank God I’ve never before heard of 90% of the people you mention in this posting… Except Lincoln, a republican, and John F. Kennedy, a democrat.

    Somehow, I don’t feel deprived for having missed the others.

    Equating a political system with Christianity makes me uneasy. St. Paul told the early Christians to “honor the king” when that king happened to be Nero.

    When Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world”, I think He was issuing a disclaimer.

    I especially liked one line of your post: “Bomb Shelters: Yes, like the kind people built in the 50s. Have a premium bomb shelter installed…”

    I recall a cartoon from the ’50s–a salesman in a bomb shelter store shows various models and styles to a middle-aged couple then asks them, “Now, just how big of a bomb do you want to survive?”.


  9. I’m just tired of the constant bombardment of campaign ads around here. They started with the primaries MONTHS ago, and just haven’t stopped.

    It makes me giggle a bit when one candidate is demonizing another by saying that s/he supports things that I agree with, e.g. (in a tone of complete and utter disbelief/horror): “Candidate A wants people to be free to own _PUPPIES_!” The HORROR!

    And having spent some time in a predominately Muslim part of the world (and therefore knowing more about them than your average person and certainly having more God-given compassion for them than most American Christians), I’m tired of hearing Muslims demonized. Whether I like his politics or not, President Obama’s religion is irrelevant! Islam is no more of a “terrorist” religion than Christianity was when it was approximately 1400 years old. Nor do they want (for the most part) to take over the world. I’m not saying that it’s not possible to let a person’s religion (or lack thereof) give you an idea of their character, but just because they’re Muslim (or any other religion), it doesn’t mean that they’re terrorists any more than any Catholic would give ultimate control of the US to the Pope. And to call for a limit to their rights because of their religion will eventually limit _all_ of our rights.

    Makes me nuts.
    Princess Leia recently posted..Feeling Obligated to Post

  10. Having been in media and knowing the way the game is played, I’m burned completely on politics. I educate myself on actual issues and then go vote without paying attention to the pundits.

    I watched the “Rally” and it was fairly non-partisan on the staging but you’re very correct about Stewart. He’s hard left and tries to hide it so he can continue to try and claim he’s centrist. That’s ok…he’s a comedian. :)

    I did toy with the idea of voting for whichever party called me less with these recorded phone messages. So far it’s Democrats 23, Republicans 20. I wish there was a “STOP CALLING ME AND PLAYING RECORDING OF PEOPLE I DON’T KNOW AND WHOSE OPINIONS I DON’T CARE ABOUT” option on the ballot.

    • President Obama called us the other day. After the obligatory delay before the recording started, I was poised to see who/what it was and then hang up on them. I felt a little guilty/disrespectful when it was (a recording of) the president. I still hung up on him though. “Hello! This is President Barak Obama.” Click.

      The call that bugged me most though was when some politician’s daughter called our house phone well after 9 the night before the primary, asking us to vote for her dad. She (and her dad) should be happy that I was so livid we were getting a campaign phone call WELL after the kids were in bed that I didn’t even listen to the name. She asked us to vote for her dad (or something) and I think I replied that I’d think about it, but that I’d be more likely to do so if she had called earlier. She seemed REALLY surprised (like maybe she’d just lost track of time, which made me feel a _little_ bad) and made a fumbling apology, then asked me to vote for him again. That fired me up again, so I said goodbye!
      Princess Leia recently posted..Feeling Obligated to Post

      • just a little help incase you havent made your mind up how to tell a polition is lieing their lips are moving.

  11. I hate politics. I studied the issues, prayed, and then voted early specifically so I no longer feel compelled to listen to anything remotely connected with campaigns and mud-slinging.

    Does anyone actually change their mind and vote for someone based on those recorded messages? Please make them go away.

  12. It’s almost like your passionate about this or something, Matt. :)

    I can’t listen to watch Beck anymore for the reasons you mentioned. Not to be a religious fanatic here, but I’d rather trust God and what He has to say than the political pundits who crave power and influence above everything else.

    PS I too hate the phrase “take our country back” and “real Americans.”
    jasonS recently posted..Now That’s Scary

  13. Thanks for the post. I definitely lean liberal in social issues, with a more conservative fiscal stance. I like John Stewart (though more before he got too into political debates with his guests) because he holds up the mirror of lunacy to everyone. It’s true that he does it more often to conservatives, but he makes fun of Obama and democrats quite a bit as well.

    What drives me crazy about politics right now in America is how often it feels like politicians are against each other just to be against each other. There are so many issues and bills that you can tell both sides really agree on, but nothing gets done because then they would be cooperating with the “others.”

    I wish that we didn’t have career politians any more. That we could go back to the days when local folks would get elected, go for a few terms, and not many people made it a career. I also wish that we had three parties. Not a Christian party though (it seems too divisive to me, and my religion isn’t political to me).

    Anyway, thanks for saying what you think, and saying it respectfully. We clearly have differing opinions about things, but it says something that we can all have a rational discussion about them.
    Cara recently posted..Halloween Dishes – No Recipe Required

    • Amen! I’d love to see a 3 party system and see career politicians go away. People need to be elected, serve their country, then go back to being productive citizens who actually have to live with the decisions they made in office.

  14. Matt, OK, you’ve pushed me over the edge.
    I am actually going to comment on your blog which I accidentally found on a google search and have subscibed to ever since. Another preface is that the reason I subscribe to your blog is because you articulate an opinion that I often don’t share, but very much appreciate. And you articulate those opinions with honesty and intelligence.
    That said – I agree with everything you have said today. Right On! Well, in this blog anyway :)
    Thank you for posting, even when I am not in agreement I always enjoy your take.

    • You scared me there! Most of the time when people say I’ve “pushed them over the edge” and they’ve subscribed for a long time, but never commented, they usually use their first comment to tell me how much I’ve disappointed them. :)

  15. You’ve got some pretty good stuff here man. I’m looking forward to reading some more. I have a feeling we’d probaby make sense to each other. Keep it up.

  16. Yep, you nailed it when you said “The Republicans need to win [because] the government works best when it can’t get much done”. I used to love getting involved with politics, I went to the Bush rallies back in 2001, but the last go around with the Republicans in charge just reiterated the fact that they don’t have a clue how to run the country any more than Obama & his possy do. The best scenario is when neither have the majority and they have to work together on the stuff they deem to be most important. I think you look back at history and you can see that point reiterated time and time again.
    Nathan recently posted..Best Commercial Ever

  17. This is exactly how I feel about politics:

    “I just think the government works best when it can’t get much done, because most of the government’s ideas are bad.”

    Everything in moderation. Nothing in excess. Amen.

  18. The “Christian right” or “the fringe” on either end of the spectrum.

    I agree completely that the government works best when it does nothing. I urged people in ’08 to elect a congress of the party opposing the administration. Hope it’s not too late to undo the damage.

  19. Magnificent post, Matt. I’m a little ashamed to say that I let myself get swept away by the passion of Beck’s rally. I’ve come to my senses since then. I do still want to throat-punch Jon Stewart, though.
    Big C recently posted..Big C iPhone Wallpaper

  20. whoa…this was really good. although i like jon stewart and am a democrat :) nicely done.
    mo recently posted..155- Wartime and Peacetime

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