Propaganda is wrong, wrong, wrong

I keep forgetting why my kids will be home from school tomorrow. The Puddinette has told me repeatedly that it’s because tomorrow is an election day, but I just can’t seem to remember that. I honestly find it highly amusing that my memory fails me at key calendar dates such as this, but somehow I can very clearly remember driving past a stop sign at the Florence Mall in the second grade after picking up the suit for my First Communion. Odd, right? Don’t worry; I have hundreds of similar examples. I remember most of the memory test definitions from the standardized tests of my youth – a baloo is bear, sculch is junk, a yonker is a young man – but often have to resort to subtraction in order to deduce my own age. In the fourth grade, I was kicked out of our classroom spelling bee for having the word “insure” and misspelling it “ensure”, like the dietary supplement. Incidentally, in the fifth grade, I won the school-wide spelling bee on “parenthesis”. Yet, with all that keen memory skill, this morning I struggled to determine that yes, today is Monday, which means garbage day, just like last week, the week before that, and every previous Monday for the past three years.

Someday medical science will study the brains of average middle-aged nerds like me. I can hardly fathom the marvels such research will reveal.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Election Day. So, all told, I can’t decide if my poor memory is because tomorrow is a Primary Election as opposed to a “real”, or General Election, or simply because I’ve grown to loathe the trappings of the political machine. Now, before anyone grabs the shotgun from the rack in pick-up, utters the phrase “commie pig”, or suggests I try my hand writing Puddintopia in China, let’s all simmer down and have a little Bud Light Summit. I love America, apple pie, grandma, baseball, etc, etc, just as much as the next guy, and I’m continually awed by the fact that every few years, the US shows up most of the world with the demonstration of government can transition peaceful. You’d be hard pressed to find a more ardent fan of the US Constitution than yours truly. However, believing in the Constitution is not the same thing as supporting the mind-numbingly twisted political tactics that have grown out of our two-party system.

Technically, I’m a registered Republican, because well, I was pretty conservative in my youth, and also because Democrats where I live get tarred, feathered, and skinned every other year as part of the Autumn Harvest Festival. In all honesty, though, I haven’t felt much like I belonged in the GOP since Bob Dole used to say “Bob Dole”. The Party’s become too socially conservative for me, and I’m so not the guy to tell someone else how to live the “Right Way”. There’s a church for that, I reckon. At any rate, I was planning to skip voting tomorrow because nowadays I lean more towards the Libertarians, and they appear to have a Primary Election only in years in which the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.

That all changed last week, though.

Thursday afternoon, I received three (count them, three!) letters in the mail from theoretically different groups with very official-sounding names, suggesting that Candidate A (to whom, subsequently, I have some tenuous familial ties) is a purse-snatching, senior-punching, baby-eating, soulless Demon from Hell and that I should immediately surrender all my worldly assets to Candidate B so that he might secure the Magical Sword of Justice and smite Evil Candidate A back to the depths of the Abyss from whence he came.

I might have exaggerated that, somewhat.

Still, it was hardcore propaganda, full of hasty generalizations, false conclusions, and misleading statements. What’s worse is that all three letters said effectively the same things, using the same language and the same tone. In other words, they were almost certainly written by the same hand, or by some nefarious shadow committee. There are few things in the world I hate more than propaganda, and I hate it with every fiber of my being. I despise it because the underlying assumption is that I’m some gullible yaw-hoo that doesn’t know when he’s being lied to and that’ll just blindly believe anything as long as it comes in an envelope with a stamp on it.

So here’s today’s political advice for candidates wishing to earn the highly regarded Puddintopia endorsement: don’t lie to me, and don’t lie about your competition, because I have four kids, and I know a lie when I hear it. Oh, and if you send me your propaganda, I’m going to vote against you.

Which is exactly what I’m going to do tomorrow morning. Congratulations, Candidate B, you propaganda’d* the lethargy right out of me.


*yes, today it is a verb

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