Election Fever

TV political ads 004I adopted an alien son last week. He looks like us, talks like us, but has slightly protruding ears and blueish pallor to his skin. He’s amazingly bright, already knows our language and is a voracious reader. Unfortunately, he’s a fish out of water on Earth, in America, and particularly here in Santa Fe.

From just one week driving around town and watching TV at home with me, he’s observed a lot and rattles off questions like there’s no tomorrow left in our universe. At first, I wondered why all the questions, but realized – unlike me, an eighteen year citizen of Santa Fe – he is still seeing things for the very first time.

As we drove down St. Francis Drive yesterday, he asked, “What are all those signs sticking out of the ground over there?”

“Pictures of people running for political office in our upcoming elections.”

“Oh,” he said. “I have noticed some of these people are very attractive by Earth standards.”

“Well, yes, and sadly, some people vote solely on that criteria.”


“I suppose it’s because voters don’t know anything more about the candidates.”

“How could they not? I have seen 129 ads for political candidates on TV this week.”

“Right, but candidates don’t talk about themselves or the issues they stand for because they’d rather show how the other candidates have screwed up, whether they have or not.”

“Why do people believe these ads then?”

“I don’t really know.”

“When do we hear about what the candidates do stand for?”

“Sometimes in debates and sometimes in the newspapers.”

“Do people here read these newspapers?”

“Not so much.”

“Do they watch the TV?”

“Oh, yes. A lot.”

“Then people must know a tremendous amount about the candidates.”

“No, they don’t.”

“Even with the debates?”

“Well, there’s usually only a few of them, if that.”

“Then how do voters get to know the candidates and the issues, from these signs and all the political TV ads? I ask because New Mexico political candidates are spending 7.7 million on 177 hours of political ads for November’s Election Day.”

“How do you know that?”

“From these newspapers you speak of. I don’t understand who receives the 7.7 million dollars spent for TV and newspaper ads.”

“Advertising agencies mostly.”

“They must know a lot about the issues and what’s right for your planet. With all that money spent on campaigns, they must get a lot of people to vote.”

“No, because not everyone registers and only about half the voters get to the polls.”

“Then how are elections valid?”

“Look, that’s the way it works with elections and our two-party system.”

“You only have two parties, only two contrasting candidates?”

“Well, sometimes three, particularly if that third-party or voice has stumped for enough campaign contributions.”

“What would money have to do with it?”

“Oh ho-ho, let me tell you, without millions in fundraising, no one could win.”

“What is all this money spent on?”

“Advertising agencies, I suppose.”

“These advertising agencies seem very popular and powerful – smart, too. So, who makes these road signs of beautiful people?”

“Print shops, advertising agencies.”

My once stoic, alien son suddenly looked excited. He even rubbed his tiny hands together.

“Is anyone from an advertising agency running in these elections? I’d like to vote for him!”

“What? Even if you were old enough and an American citizen, you haven’t even heard the issues.”

“No one else has. I do not understand your logic.”


Filed under Blog, The Daily Thought

4 responses to “Election Fever

  1. Before long we’ll be electing our President solely by likes on Facebook.

  2. Nice piece. It’s Citizens United that has made things worse and it’s not going to get better until we have election reform and term limits. I’d like to see serving in office be like the Peace Corps, sign up for you r 2 or 6 year stint then leave. Money rules as it is now.

    But anyway thanks for your follow on my blog and I look forward to reading more. I’m a disillusioned boomer too. I keep asking What Happened to My Country?

    • Thanks, Sheila, so much for your response. It’s nice to meet you. And yes! I agree with bringing back some form of the Peace Corps, civil service, CC camps or whatever you want to call or structure young people’s service to country that is not military. I taught high school for 12 years and knew many student’s would have benefited far more from service than college at that time in their lives. Let’s talk more down the road.

  3. What a fun way to address some serious issues. I love your writing style.

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