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Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

This Election Year

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Someone, a lot wiser than I claim to be once told me that the best way to cover up a lieÖwas to tell another one as quickly as possible.

Iím not certain I agree with his advice, but I will say that in todayís race for the office of President of the United States, it certainly is beginning to look that way. Someone wrote me the other day and said that in his opinion the last really ethical presidential race we had was the Truman-Dewey campaign back in 1948. I was still a kid back then, but even then the newspapers had predicated a run away land slide victory for Dewey. You might have seen photos of Truman holding up copies of the papers with the incorrect headlines.

As I recall, at that time, the newspapers and the radio were the only method any of us had to keep up with what was going on in the world around us. I can remember as a small boy looking at a globe in my grandfatherís house and worrying over the physical size of the Soviet Union as compared to our country. I wasnít aware of the population differences between the two countries.

My, how times have changed. Today in addition to newspapers and radio, we have television, the internet, e-mail, text messaging, blogs, cable and who knows what else. You can turn your television off for a week and for the most part you wonít miss a thing.

The cable television programs seem to repeat all of their news every fifteen minutes or so. It would drive me crazy to talk about the same things time and time again and day after day. It makes me wonder who actually writes all of these scripts. The newscasters take on a zombie like appearance as they repeat their litany over and over again.

We are so starved for content to fill up the quiet spaces in our lives that any and every aspect of any personís life is subject to criticism and conjecture. Why anyone would want to be famous is totally beyond me. I liked what Paul Newman said about his life. He didnít want to talk about his movies or Hollywood since that was in his opinion, business. He liked to talk about other things such as racing and his charities. Paul Newman was a smart man.

The so-called talking heads of both political parties are almost rabid to see who can put out the latest morsel of innuendo or gossip about their opponents. I suggest to you that if one of them liked green beans the other would be against it for some unknown reason or another. On the other hand if their opponent didnít like green beans they would develop an argument to the contrary.

Anything to fill up the white space.

I consider myself to be fairly normal and so are the majority of my friends. I hear the same argument from them as well. This has been one of the worst election years they can remember. There is so much information being thrown at us from all sides it is extremely difficult on a daily basis to study any of it and see what it means much less determine if it is true or false.

The other night I was watching some program and finally turned it off since you got about five minutes worth of programming and about seven minutes worth of commercials. And to make matters worse, most of the commercials were a repeat of something you had already seen. I can only look at so many of these over and over before I want to throw my hands up and go to bed.

Both the political campaigns could do themselves a favor and stick to honest and truthful facts based on their own knowledge and experience. Slamming someone else and doing so in a ten or fifteen second sound bite is not the best method of getting your message across. Taking things out of context or not telling the entire story is also demeaning to those of us who have to sit in our homes each night and try to make sense of it all.

The average American may be tired and disgusted this election season, but that doesnít mean they are stupid. Try talking up to us, not the other way around.

© Peary Perry
October 1, 2008 column
More Letters From North America
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Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com
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