Fat Tuesday. Pancake Day. Day of Ashes tomorrow and off we go into the Lent season. What better way to reflect upon the Lent season but to discuss the political process during this Super Tuesday. Huh?
Today, Fat Tuesday and Super Tuesday converged on the same day and as I was scrolling through by blog feeds, I read this thought provoking post from Al Hsu over at The Suburban Christian. It makes you reflect on some issues of faith and politics as we enter into the Lent season:
An Associated Press news story reports, “Sens. Clinton and Obama each poured more than $1 million a day into TV ads in the last week alone; Clinton buying an hour on the Hallmark Channel for a town hall meeting on Monday night, Obama seeing some $250,000 disappear in 30 seconds in his Super Bowl ad a day earlier.”
Yikes. That’s $8333.33 a second. So if someone contributed $50 to the campaign, that $50 would have bought a mere 1/167th of a second of a Super Bowl ad. I understand that money and advertising are necessary components to elections, but it all seems so ephemeral. Some estimate that the candidates are going to spend a combined half billion or more this election season. Which feels like typical American overblownness – a lot of other countries have much shorter election seasons and spend far less money.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the candidates declared a cease fire for Lent and stopped spending money on commercials? Wouldn’t it be great if the candidates used that money elsewhere, to actually accomplish some of the things they’ve been talking about, in terms of reducing poverty, providing international aid and development, covering health care costs and improving education? A half billion might be a drop in the bucket compared to the multi-trillion national budget, but still, that could accomplish a lot more concrete, tangible good than TV commercials that will disappear like vapor. [read entire entry]
Why does this sound so refreshing? Seriously. I’ve always believed that America would be better off if somehow the political process allowed for each candidate to receive the same amount of advertisement – particularly on television and newspapers. How cool would it be if television stations and newspaper outlets - as a service to the American people – gave free equal advertisement to each legitimate candidate for a certain period of time leading up to the primaries and elections? This way, candidates could stop raising so much damn money and have mandatory, quality, sit down conversations, debates, and think tank discussions on “how” they intend lead.
Free advertisement. Restricted fundraising and cap amount for each candidate. Shorter election season. What are some of your suggestions?
One more suggestion: I’d like to give each legitimate candidate an hour hour slot on prime time [via internet maybe?] where they are given some pens and a giganormous whiteboard with the simple instruction: Map out your hypothetical presidency.