Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Issue of Character

The morning after the National Screwing allows one to hobble into the loo to apply numbing paste and reflect on the issue of character. Protagonists and Antagonists exist beyond the pages (or e-reader screen). They cover the Web, TV, and our daily human-to-human interactions.

At what point did the characters we mock on "Reality TV" become the standard by which we want to be measured?

For the last 90 days, if you had a landline, you had political telemarketers. If you watched network television, you were blinded by political commercials. If you had a snail-mailbox, you were buried beneath direct marketing junk mail. If you had e-mail, you had political spam. If you had voicemail, a DVR, a shredder, and a delete button, you could escape the barrage with minimal damage to all but your hope for a nation of progress.

When did we stop demanding strength of character in our leadership and welcome obstreperous bullies into our lives?

If you didn't employ the items of self-defense, chances are you were introduced to politicians who out-evil any DC Comics villain. Take away the super-human ability to fling flaming asteroids at earth, and even Starro the Conqueror demonstrates more redeemable qualities than pugilistic politicians. From Horror to Sci-Fi, if a writer imbues a character with as little as three traits demonstrated by these verbal gladiators during election seasons, a reader would immediately identify that character as the villain. The tragedy is that these real-life Lex Luthors will represent you, your ethics, your morality, and, yes, your character to the nation and the world. Of minor consequence is their stance on issues that will will create guide-rails or barricades in your life. For a gladiator to win, they must decimate their opponent. If they behave that way during elections, imagine how they will behave in Congress. It is little wonder that pork-barreling accounts for 1/3 of most legislation and appropriations bills.

Exactly how does that void of personal character benefit our lives?

I'm not casting blame on the candidates alone. No. They are the face, the marionette directed by a hundred invisible hands. Were we, Joe and Jane Public, to treat our co-workers in a similar fashion, we would be part of the escalating number of unemployed. The United States is technically a republic, governed by law not popularity; however, We the People like to think we are a Representative Democracy. It is both disappointing and appalling to see the gladiators 41%* of us have elevated to commanders. [What happened to the 59% of Americans eligible to vote yet too self-absorbed busy to do so is a post for another day.]

Are the people working beneath the great white dome in D.C. representing 
American caricatures or American character?

*Voter Stats:


  1. I think I love you.

    Honestly, I'm so disgusted with the majority of politicians in this country. I can't bring myself to believe anything any of them says.

    On the other hand, phone polls are sorta fun.

    "What do you think about Candidate so and so?"

    "I hate him. I think he sucks and he's a loser."

    "What do you think about his opponent, Candidate boo and chew?"

    "I hate her too. She sucks and she's a liar. In fact they're all liars."

    "What do you think about policy xyz?"

    "I don't care."

    "What do you think about policy abc?"

    "I don't care."

    Yeah, they've sorta stopped calling.

  2. Two thumbs down for So&So and Boo N. Chew.

    The most disheartening thing is that the public continues to elect persons of questionable character because the pool of candidates is ridiculously small.

    We suffer from the popular-kids effects by holding tight to the mentality of "I'll waste my vote if I pick the Independent candidate."

    Unbelievably frustrating.