Eugene Cho

politics and lent – super fat tuesday

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.

Filed under: politics, religion, , ,

2 Responses

  1. franksabunch says:

    I’ve always held true to the notion–whether accurate or not–that in the modern era, being the president of the United States is incompatible with being a Christian that actively walks and operates according to the faith. Politics is by nature a dirty game and there’s no way one can rise that high without playing in this game where, ironically, following the rules means breaking them.

    That aside I would isolate each candidate from their aides/speech writers for 1 week then sit them in a room with a pen and paper and ask them to write down what they love about this country what they think they can provide the American people. AND ban the rest of the United States from seeing what they look like (impossible, I know) since Americans tend to vote on style and not substance. If TV, internet and Geraldo (Lord forbid) existed back during the 1800s, an ugly guy but bomb diggity speaker like Honest Abe would have never been elected president and slavery could’ve existed until the turn of the century. I can’t remember the last time I heard a presidential candidate give a speech that actually moved me.

  2. Derek says:

    Anything to support campaign reform…

    It appears that McCain is the clear Republican candidate and neck to neck with Obama and Clinton.

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