Welcome back to Balladeer’s Blog, the favorite site of Independent Voters and the only site on the web that truly criticizes both sides of the political spectrum equally. Well, it’s finally election day, which means the Liberal and Conservative fanatics of the Democratic and Republican parties are preparing their accusations of voter fraud and/or “intimidation” just in case their candidates lose.
Will the weak, inept and crooked little man named Barack Obama get reelected or will the outdated, out of touch religious nut named Mitt Romney win out? Either way we the people lose.
For a light-hearted look at how Liberal gibberish and Conservative gibberish have completely ossified political discourse in this country I figured I would trot out the 1972 Robert Redford film The Candidate. That film was a look at a fictional candidate for one of California’s seats in the United States Senate, with Redford starring as a Jerry Brown type of character whose father likewise had previously been governor of the Golden State. Melvyn Douglas (as in Helen Gahagan Douglas’ husband) played the father of Redford’s character.
The film was excellent for its time and gave an almost documentary feel for the phoniness and flim-flammery of political campaigns. When looked at today, however, it has an additional quality the filmmakers could not have intended. The Candidate nicely captures how the two political parties who have hijacked America’s electoral system have kept the country mired in the exact same tiresome debates and using the exact same tiresome cliches that fail to capture the complexity of the political and social challenges we face.
If not for the clothing, the technology and a few references to specific nations anyone viewing this movie might think it was made THIS year. Liberals and Conservatives are apparently comfortable staying in the exact same roles and restaging all the same arguments year in and year out. Redford’s Democrat poses as a social activist and foe of racism, his Republican opponent plays the uber-patriotic paragon of Family Values. The candidates in this film spout the exact same vague generalities that the candidates of today spout about the exact same issues – race, social programs, economic inequity and the environment.
Pretty pathetic that today’s political races use the exact same talking points as a political race from 40 years ago. I can’t imagine that being true about political races spanning any other 40 year period in our nation’s history. An audience would presumably very easily tell the difference between the political rhetoric from a Senate race in 1932 and the movie’s 1972 race. Ditto for races from say, 1922 and 1962, 1912 and 1952, 1902 and 1942 and on and on. The stranglehold that the Democrats and Republicans have on the country’s political machinery prevents the natural, organic evolution of the political discourse and leaves all of us trapped in this same repeating bad dream.
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