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May-12-2010 21:14printcomments

Election or Rejection? Voters Ponder the Many Inconsistencies

Speaking from the heart, I passionately believe every voter should demand proof that a given candidate is an effective problem solver.

Vote or die
Courtesy: mynameiskate.typepad.com

(SALEM, Ore.) - It's springtime! Along with daisies and daffodils blooming we drivers in traffic can see bunches of lawn posters proclaiming loyalty to this candidate or that. It's Multiple-Choice Primary Time... choose your favorite multi-marketed candidate and see the consequences.

We imagine ourselves a free-will democracy while we get pounded daily with 5-second sound bites bandying about the candidate credentials. After being part of elections since my 21st birthday in 1962, I have decided to take a step back and examine what is really happening.

Here's the scoop (pooper and all):

  1. LAWN SIGNS: They attract us merely by color combo and design. Patriotic red-white-blue is often used to make us think that person is a super patriot who will fight for our freedoms. Wrong: these only are blitz attempts for name recognition. Seldom is there a compelling reason to vote for a certain individual. It's pure-and-simple bandwagon psychology.
  2. SLANTED LITERATURE: When a candidate's electioneering troops hand you their brochure, you can bet it is not a balanced assessment of that person's pros and cons. It's designed to convince you that their choice is the "perfect" one for you! Come join their fantasy world!
  3. BUZZ WORD EMPHASIS: Certain phrases have been pre-tested with voter groups as political turn-ons. Your vote is being cleverly seduced by injecting sweet phrases, "I will fight for you!" really means "I'd love your vote and will likely never get to sit down to you--so sorry!"
  4. AFFILIATION MANIA: Did you ever notice how electioneering materials will be loaded with lots of organizational affiliations? Does that really mean those volunteer roles were meaningful in some way? What is sadly lacking is proof positive that joining a group resulted in something truly progressive in the public interest. Anybody can be a joiner of a group, and then be peripheral. A wallflower, not a doer. Or a glory-seeker who was more interested in gathering applause than offering remedies to public grievances. How can we determine those differences?

Speaking from the heart, I passionately believe every voter should demand proof that a given candidate is an effective problem solver. Not by offering titles from the past but by illustrating problems confronted and resolved. We are voting for you to be our proxy and deserve nothing less. To coin a motto for the occasion: "Hot air deserves the cold shoulder".

Election or rejection? The choice is ours, not to be taken lightly.

Salem-News.com Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address: luckycoyne@yahoo.com

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