We had a small plate in our house when I was growing up. A coffee table thing with a cartoon printed on it. A dude with a crabbed face had stuffed himself in a tiny box. He held a sign that said 'people are no damn good.' Which brings me to the current election here in America. We've got what, three weeks to go? Thank frikkin god!
Is it too late? Only if you believe the guy on the plate. We're so close to fobbing off super-serious decisions based on what makes good TV. But let's not do that. Brave New Films, however, has made some darn good TV (internet-style) with its brief but potent DVD The Real McCain, a disc which features ten short internet videos - linked with people talking about things you can do to affect the outcome of this election - that hammer home points about how McCain's straight talk is sometimes deceitful, dangerous and often downright disturbing. Independent of that DVD, some of the wild things out there threatening to cloud our judgment about the election are as follows: Economic collapse gets peoples' attention; environmental disaster, too; bomb Iran; a hot hockey mom (yeah, I said it) in an American flag bikini with a rifle - now that's good TV.
But does any of it make sense? Yes, and no. To the apathetic multitudes content to allow any particular corporate-controlled major media outlet to make their decisions for them, some of it makes sense. Whatever makes you feel good while requiring the minimum amount of effort - none. Just sit back and watch.
Brave New Films, Moveon.org, and any number of other activist organizations that are by nature rather partisan, but more focused on simply making positive changes in our government by once again involving the people, see things differently. Even by taking a few minutes a day to sign an online petition or two, you can make a difference. If you think it's needed. Of course it would be great if you could take some time to talk to other people about what you feel is important, but at least the above organizations have cannily noted that seeds can be planted even in people afraid to leave their monitors.
(I know when we were all afraid the world would end on January 1st 2000 my wife and I - actually my wife, I just tagged along - took the time to meet with our neighbors. Those were uncomfortable moments for me, and thankfully totally unnecessary, but they helped me to know what it felt like to act on principal instead of mere self-interest.)
Do you believe John McCain is an out-of-touch, too-old man in of suspect physical health, who, though distinguished in service to this country, has turned into a guy who'll say anything to anyone in order to win this election? Pissed off that his plan to achieve energy independence has less to do with alternative energy and more to do with drilling the brains out of our shores and ANWaR? Outraged that his trump card is choosing a sexy running mate who, while obfuscating pretty much every issue in this election, has been described as more right wing than Bush, politically vindictive and terribly secretive? Even though The Real McCain predates the Palin weeks and uses flashy, techniques to make its simple points, it presents valuable information and uses personable people to speak about both easy and challenging things you can do to affect change - instead of sitting back and letting whatever happens wash over you like waters from a broken levee.