Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Polls schmolls and when parents are stupid.

There is a wonderful poll on a pressing current issue on the opening page of CMT.com: "Sara Evans will be performing at the Republican National Convention this year. Good idea?"

Ok, this pisses me off for a couple of reasons.

1) Only marginal artists for whom being a moron is part of their whole schtick or washed up weirdos are supposed to play for this Repub convention. Like kid rock. You just expect him to be dumb and totally uninformed about politics... and basically everything else. He is opinionated and tries hard to stay uninformed and avoid hearing other viewpoints. But I like Sarah Evans and part of her appeal is that she comes across as a somewhat sensitive, intelligent person. This admin has gone out of its way to distance itself from both sensitivity and intelligence; she should not sing for them

2)The wording of this and every other damn push poll in this country. "Push poll? Easy tiger, this is just a little celebrity poll..." Bullshit, the wording of the poll choices leave only a few options:

'yes, she's speaking out for something she believes in.'

so you can say you are a heartless republican android in support of this admin and all who fall in line for their horrid crap, or...

'maybe, but I'd rather she just sing for everybody.'

you are a bland centrist moron who just wants everyone to get along, but you still nod that it is ok.

'no, a performer should stay quiet about politics.'

if a bunch of people say no, we will say how they think performers should stay quiet about politics.

'don't know'

gee, I don't know about all this politics stuff or I would probably support her singing there.

If you 'don't know' don't take the poll. But where are the options for people like me? Where is the 'no, I like Sarah Evans and don't want her idelibly associated with the bullgoose-loopy freaks in office' or perhaps the 'no, I don't want her inside the worlds largest bullseye with them most consolidated mass of globally disliked americans ever assembled'?

I don't think that entertainers should stay quiet about politics, but I do think they should only step into the fray when things are so fucked up that they have to and they should make damn sure they are on the right side of things and that they are well informed.

Just a note that is going to sound really arrogant and dogmatic and I don't care: if you are supporting bush's re election, you are on the wrong side of things and you are not well informed. Repeating republican talking points is not the same as being well informed. That is being well programmed.

Polls schmolls. My dad pissed me off like crazy when I was home last. Not intentionally. Not trying to. That would be ok and probably make me laugh, but by being stupid in the most common and dumb ways.

My parents are not and have never been stupid people. They have always been kind generous souls even if a little sarcastic and blunt at times, and have great analytical minds when they care to bother. And they used to be very circumspect about talking about things they aren't well informed about.

I guess they kind of still are, but even though they kind of don't bother a whole lot with current events (certainly not in the ridiculous obsessive way I do), the talking points still make appearences and drive me up the wall. Hearing my dad talk about Kerry flip flopping or my mom letting the dumbest of scandinavia gay marriage horror stuff slip casually hurts my soul.

I bring all this up because at some point we talked about polls. I said politicians pay too damn much attention to polls and not enough time really researching issues. Dad responds "of course they should listen to polls; that is their job, to do what the people want them to do." No, that is not their job. Their job is to represent the people and work for the collective best interests with the Constitution outline the guiding principles for that. Yes, people should have an influence in what our best interests are, but it shouldn't funtion like training a dog: roll over and you will get a vote.

Any remotely functional adult should know better than to think that what you want is always the same thing as what is good for you. I want leave work early and go play soccer and eat french fries and milkshakes for dinner every night and start drinking at 10 in the morning and sleep in late. They don't all work together and they wouldn't be fun if I did them all the time.

So sure politicians should listen to what people have to say, and sometimes polls are a good way to do this, but the way polls are worded to elicit a certain response ("I like Sara Evans supporting this republican administration and thereby support them too, or I just am kind of tired of thinking about politics when trying to be entertained, or I am kind of out of it.") and swung around like a drunk with a sticker bush. Pols aren't using polls to divine the concerns and pressing issues of the masses to better understand how to guide policy to address these concerns, they are using them as tools to justify their agendas and distract people (or themselves) from the selfish crap they are doing.

this is something my dad should be telling me (and I think has at some point), not telling me that politicians are supposed to be doing what we want.

Fine, I want a 4 day weekend, universal health care, nationwide public trasportation, and better lottery odds.

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