by Evan Nasse
Election season is here, and appropriately it is coinciding with cold and flu season as well. Much like a cold, the political advertisements have made many of us sick to our stomachs and assaulted nearly all of the senses save for taste (only because so many of the advertisements tasteless by nature). Having been a registered voter for quite some time and participating in the civic duty that is the democratic process as often as I remember to, I have been exposed to a fair share of campaign commercials, radio advertisements, tacky billboards, excessive fliers, stupid stickers, pedestrian promoters, political platform cereal brands, presidentially endorsed bottled waters, and many other ridiculous ways to childishly scream, “PLEASE LIKE ME AND GIMME YOUR VOTE! C’MON! PLEASE!” I have yet to be compensated adequately for this despicable aura of harassment that comes about from these things. This year, however, has been different—at least for me.
Let me explain myself a little bit. I have vehemently abhorred advertisements in any and all forms for as long as I can remember. I do not believe water needs a commercial, I think brands like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola could get along just fine without eating up airtime with back-to-back commercials, and no, I do not want to get a great low rate online, so I will not go to the General to save some time. Commercials are, in my opinion, the lowest form of violence we have invented as a species—it isn’t enough to kill or even harm you, but much like the Chinese water torture devices they can eat away at your thoughts until they drive you insane, to the point in which you can only communicate through jingles and sound bites. So, any party or politician is already at a severe disadvantage when attempting to deliver an “important” message to me, regardless of who approves it. So you can see a little bit as to why I am so thoroughly annoyed at this election seasons sycophantic buzz of endless political ads.
So here we all are, just a little ways away from the next time you drive by a Church or public school and remember to stop in to vote. Who are you voting for? Sorry, that’s a little personal. No! Don’t tell me! I already know. It’s the person who paid for the most advertisements, isn’t it? Nah, you seem the type more apt to vote for the person with best attack ads, or perhaps you were passionately moved by the candidate who had a military marching song play in the background of their majestically whimsical message to the public. Never mind, I don’t want to get political on you, because regardless of your decision it will be wrong and you should feel bad, especially if you didn’t vote (So you’re the reason! If you’re not part of the solution then you are part of the problem, man!) you awful person.
I’m sorry for that outburst, let us all take a few steps back from my rabid perspective on politics and advertisements and take a more objective look at these last few months of campaigns. According to Alaska Dispatch News, the combined spending on campaign advertisements reaches over $50 million dollars, and is projected to possibly double by the end of this ridiculous race. With a population numbering roughly 735,000, harboring 509,011 registered voters, Alaska state residents are being woefully underpaid by two campaigns trying to purchase their votes. I’d rather they just pay me directly rather than pander with lies and promises they can’t or won’t keep, or annoying gravelly voiced movie guy attack ads. Punching in the numbers and dividing the amount of these “charitable contributions” for their advertising campaigns and instead depositing them directly to our pockets would put each of us registered voters up by $98.22, and look at that—there’s even a smiley face on the calculator! That is, of course, using the rough numbers from today should they have tried to literally purchase our vote. Should these rapid-fire tactical vote-missile advertisements continue to stream the way they have been then it’ll be estimated to cost roughly $100 to $120 million disgusting dollars of filthy outsider lobbyist money. Good for the ad agencies and radio, television and various websites (I’m looking you, Facebook and YouTube. When did you two stop being fun and cool and start working for the man?!) but decidedly bad for those of us with tact and taste who don’t enjoy repeated exposure to 30 seconds of vitriolic, juvenile attack ads, backed up with a battering of military marching music and city buses smeared with cheesy grins from people I wouldn’t want to eat with let alone vote for. There should be massive fines imposed for any political advertisements still present after Election Day—billboard the size of a dumpster lid displayed on the corner of Northern Lights asking for your vote after November 4th? $50,000 fine per foot for disturbing the peace and the city thanks you for your donation; we’ll add it to a school budget.
Don’t forget to vote, people. It’s your civic duty (not accompanied with any convenience by being, say, a Federal Holiday or even a weekend, but at least we have Columbus Day!) to get out there and show the world you can fill in circles and possibly write, at the very least your own name if not also a better candidate on the write in election form. That’s what I’ll be doing, and I encourage others to do the same. Any candidate that wants a public position so badly as to accept millions of dollars in unscrupulous cash for such an advertising media blitz-frenzy-stravaganza (and other zany z words) does not deserve your vote. The simple fact that Mr. or Mrs. Smith could never afford to go to Washington is a clear reason why we desperately need some severe campaign finance reform. This is why Leslie Knope is going to be my write in candidate for 2014! That’s right, the fictional character created by Amy Poehler from the hit television show Parks and Recreation, because at least she’s a candidate I can believe in.
This message is approved by a registered voter suffering from acute ad nauseam.
Evan Nasse is currently in his senior year at APU and is co-editor for the Turnagain Currents.