Back down at Prudy's Junebug Cafe and Internet Lounge, I'm beginning to feel a bit more at ease. I've regained my confidence, and the local citizenry have been assured that I am not, indeed, losing my mind. Conversation is once again flowing smoothly.
With Election Day less than a week away, our daily discourse has once again turned to politics. Normally, one approaches this season with a great deal of trepidation. Calm and polite discussion can quickly escalate to red-faced, spittle-spewing emotional contests. I will not hesitate to take some of the blame for these occurrences. There is a child-like joy in winding up Dickie Jensen and setting him loose. It's too damn easy.
Yet, the political talk over the past few days has remained subdued. The mood has been sour. It is quite possible that the tone of political advertising in the US of A has reached a new low. No longer does a candidate stand forth to announce his or her stance on the issues of the day. Rather, strategists have determined that the most effective means to garner votes is to paint a picture of one's opponent as a monster intent on destroying our beloved country. Any joy we once had in participating in the electoral process has been drowned with negativity.
Yesterday, I set about furthering the sciences by conducting a little study down at Prudy's. While the regular crowd sat back to watch Ellen on the big screen, I counted the number of political advertisements during the show. I also made a note of how many were "issue" ads.
There were a grand total of 16 advertisements from both Republican and Democratic candidates seeking office at the county, state, and federal levels. Of these, a total of zero were about actual legislative issues. That's right. Every single one of them suckers was nothing but name calling.
If a visitor from another planet were to plop down and examine this year's election, they would come to the conclusion that the planet is about to be infested by criminally psychopathic elected officials and, as a result, is on the verge of social, economic, and environmental collapse.
By the end of an otherwise stellar Ellen, the gang could take no more. In a rare moment of solidarity, it was decided to turn off the damn TV. Silence filled the room while we all collected our thoughts and pondered what to do next. Dickie said that he just got his disability check in the mail today and maybe he and Junior should set about getting it cashed and buying themselves a case of beer. And all was back to normal in the Holler.
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