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Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Why is a cable network interested in me voting?

Every 4 years we are treated to the MTV "Choose or Lose" campaign to get "young voters" out to the polls. Does anyone...

Hold on. Dr. Phil just said on a radio commercial, "There are 14 characteristics of a serial killer -- and your son has 9." Only 5 away, then watch out! I'd love to know what those 14 characteristics are, according to Dr. Phil. I'll research that and report later. What if one of them is totally random, like, "Eats corn on Thursdays" or something? That would be cool.

Anyway, does anyone else think it's strange that a cable network would devote massive amounts of time and resources for what is supposedly a Public Service Announcement? Especially MTV, the Pamela Anderson of cable networks (meaning beautiful, vapid, blindly liberal and socially degenerate). What are they up to? Well, the slogan for the Choose or Lose (heretofore referred to as CoL) campaign is "20 Million Loud". What does that mean, you ask? On the CoL website it has a dictionary-type definition for this:

20 Million Loud, (cutesy phonetic pronunciation), noun, a national campaign of organizations mobilizing more than 20 million young adults aged 18 to 30 to vote and be a deciding factor in the 2004 presidential election. (emphasis mine)

On first glance this looks ominously like a propaganda campaign designed to get young people to vote en masse for a candidate, thus being the "deciding factor". But it could be taken in a more benign way, making sure that young people are represented as well as other groups. But what would that matter, if they split their vote 50-50? Wouldn't that just be "20 million loud" people shouting, canceling each other's voices out?

The fact is, this voting business and how we view it is way more complicated than most people realize. I am reminded of my old high school Government teacher, whose hairy knuckles intimidated even the most jaded of high school burnouts, and who implied that people who just vote without knowing any of the issues shouldn't vote at all, and should in fact stay home and stop ruining democracy for everyone else. It was an expression of really really watered-down Hamiltonianism -- the idea that an elite and most knowledgable class of people should elect the president, and keep the stupid masses out of it -- only in this case the elite class was made up of those who simply cared enough to find out the candidate's positions on things.

And you know what? I sympathize with this concept, I really do. There's something to be said for keeping uninformed people away from the polls. But there's no way to stop them, and we shouldn't even try -- we live by the people, and we die by the people. The solution to this is informing the people, not taking away their rights. No Taxation Without Representation or somesuch. That's why Hamilton was super wrong and lost the argument way back when. But he's still on our money, which should tick off anyone who's not a snooty elitist.

So, is the MTV CoL campaign really for information purposes, or something more sinister? Well, let's take a look at these organizations that are "mobilizing young people". What are their purposes? It would seem that "Rock the Vote", "Hip-Hop Summit", and "WWE Smackdown the Vote" (not making this up) would be liberal by default no matter how much the term "non-partisan"(notice it doesn't say non-idealogical) is thrown about on their literature. What do you suppose the percentage of conservative Rockers/Hip-Hoppers/WWE Roid Restlers would be? Isn't the over/under at about 3%? What do you think their message is going to be? Comparing Bush to Hitler and scaring people into voting him out, that's what.

(Side note: It's interesting, this fear that Michael Moore and his ilk are trying to stir in people -- fear of this nefarious cabal of rich white dudes who start wars for oil and repeal civil rights legislation and rip us all off in so many ways. Interesting because they accuse the other side of using fear of terrorism to get political things done. )

(side note 2: You will notice there's no "Country Fry the Vote" campaign involved in this, which is understandable because MTV literally pretends on a daily basis that no other form of music exists outside Rock and Hip-Hop. Even normal Pop has been pretty much relegated to VH-1. Therefore, I don't count the lack of such a program involved in this as a political bias of any sort. Another way to put this is: The corporate philosophy of MTV states that nobody under the age of 30 listens to country. Which I don't mind, considering today's country music is our National Embarassment, even moreso than The US Men's Olympic Basketball Team, the Iraq war, or Dr. Phil getting his own show in Prime Time on a Network.)

Of the other groups listed, is a joint project of the George Washington U. and the PIRG's. What are the PIRG's, you ask? They have the generic name Public Interest Resource Group, but all they really are is a group of people pushing for tougher environmental legislation in each state. PIRG also has a less non-partisan voting campaign to get low-income and "historically underrepresented" people to the polls. A good goal, but one that most definitely benefits John Kerry at the expense of GW Bush. itself seems pretty solidly non-ideological despite its liberal backing, as do "Declare Yourself", "", and "Project Vote Smart". "Voto Latino" is non-partisan, but has many ideological statements expressed by bloggers and essayists on its site. It's definitely not just some sort of liberal front organization, however.

So, all these organizations are saying the right things, but it's what's unspoken that's important here. Namely, the unspoken fact that 20 million marginally informed 18-30 year-olds voting will contribute probably 10 million more votes to Kerry than Bush. You see, people who turn 18 are mostly liberal in ideology, thanks in large part to the pretty people of pop culture preaching liberalism at them. Of course, parental influence is still key at that age -- at least among the 10% or so of kids that see their parents every day and like them. But any remaining conservatives at age 18 will quickly be indoctrinated in liberalism at the college of their choice, causing the few conservative holdouts to bunkerize and get haircuts and wear ties to class and berate people with talk of flat taxes and 2nd-amendment-worship.

What all this means is that the more young people vote, the better it will be for John Kerry and the Democrats. MTV and the Artists they create know this. They can't possibly not know it. Not that I'm necessarily Pro-Bush, but it's just not fair that a TV network (especially one aimed solely at impressionable 12-20 year-olds) would devote so much time and energy to getting Kerry elected. That's why I'm proposing somebody or some TV network (with more time and money than myself) start a new "get out the vote" program, one that targets the 30-and older crowd, regardless of social position. It could be called "Choose or MTV Will Choose For You." That should be enough to scare some people. If we can get 20 million people older people to vote who wouldn't have otherwise voted, we can bring some fairness and respectability to the political process.

And how about you young people fricking think for yourselves for once and stop letting people tell you what to do? The real cool, rebellious thing to do in this election is to not vote. I mean, rich white people will decide the election anyway, right? At this very moment rich white males of both parties are organizing campaigns to go out on the street and scare trashy non-voters into voting, often by outright lying to them (proven fact). You aren't naive enough to believe that your vote counts, are you? Be reverse naive instead. And let me tell you what to do.

I disavow the last paragraph, and apologize to anyone I disenfranchised. I will end this madness by saying that the next time you see an MTV "Choose or Lose" program, shudder, because every time Drew Barrymore says, "I want to find out what this high-schooler thinks about Health Care", an angel loses his wings and gets run over by a garbage truck.

I disavow that last paragraph also. I'm leaving before I have to disavow anything else.


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