Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election fatigue - and the semester - taking a toll

- Election day dawned sunny here in California, which predictably means even more people will flood to the polls today, arguably a good thing.

But even with that sunny-day beginning, the long drag of this election - coupled with the semester running short already, in terms of what needs to be covered in classes - has induced kind of early week ennui, as the French would say.

Isn't it nice to be about mention the French again and not be accused of being unpatriotic? I think I will have some Freedom Fries, er, I mean French Fries, with lunch today to celebrate that.

The election fatigue is in good part because teaching journalism requires very close attention to what is going on in the media (No kidding!) and in this case, trying to analyze how the media has behaved (or not) and how politicians and others have manipulated things.

This clip of a Minnesota Congresswoman - who seems to suggest we need to root out people she says are anti-American - is the kind of thinking (or lack thereof) that has me reaching for serious caffeine most mornings and room-temperature merlot in the evenings.

Here in California, the heaviest political action has been over Proposition 8, which would ban gay marriage.

Until recently, it appeared that the measure would be easily defeated. But in these final weeks, the campaign in favor has stepped up the rhetoric - and advertising dollars - to the point where it looks like it might pass. The proponents started using a familiar fear-based bogeyman - that the gay lifestyle will now be taught in schools unless the measure passes.

Numerous school authorities across the state have branded that as complete bullshit, but, well, the political advertising just keeps coming.

Over the weekend, I received four phone calls - on my cell phone - from people urging me to vote yes. And it appears that the pro-Prop. 8 forces also made a major buy of internet advertising. My web pages have been flooded with Prop. 8 ads.

For the record, I have no control over the Google ads that show up on those pages.

My students are exhausted by the political chatter, too - and frightened by the economic meltdown. While I worry about retirement income, they worry on the other end of the telescope about their ability to get a job when they graduate.

After today, perhaps we all can get some rest.

I am reminded of that old chestnut I've heard since the 70s:

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Amen to that.

And then there is the old adage from Chicago:

Vote early, vote often.

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