Author’s Note: Mom and Pop Culture are a couple of real characters. They could be you and me. Or not. Every so often, I eavesdrop on their conversations. Let’s listen in on what they’re saying right now about the upcoming presidential election.
MOM CULTURE: Who’re you voting for, Pop?
POP CULTURE: I’m not voting for anyone, Mom.
MOM: That’s criminal.
POP: No, it’s not. It’s legal not to vote for anyone.
MOM: Well, it’s not civil.
POP: Did I say I wasn’t voting at all?
POP: Just like half of the supporters of each major party candidate, my vote will be cast against the candidate I don’t like. Instead of voting for someone, I’m voting against someone.
MOM: Oh, yes. There’s a lot of that going around this year, I understand.
POP: As I just told you, one poll shows half of voters in each party say their ballot will be a vote of protest, not a vote of affirmation.
MOM: That’s a shame.
POP: Other people polled say they’ll vote for the third-party candidate, or not cast a vote at all.
MOM: What’s going on in this country?
POP: If anybody had that answer, they’d win in a landslide.
MOM: The candidates act as if they have all the answers.
POP: That’s why they call it politics, Mom.
MOM: More like theater of the absurd, if you ask me.
POP: More people should go to the theater. It’s more entertaining and more truthful.
MOM: What is that aphorism about, “We get the government we deserve?” Reminds me of “The Lady or the Tiger.”
POP: The Who or the What? Is that Dr. Seuss?
MOM: No, silly. This election reminds me of that famous short story by Frank Stockton, where a person’s fate is decided by which door he decides to open. Both doors look alike. The accused has to pick one and hope for the best.
POP: We’re voters. We’re not accused of anything.
MOM: Maybe not literally, but we get the candidates we deserve...
POP: Yes, and now one-third of voters in each party say they are upset with their party’s candidate. And more than half of voters across the country hold an unfavorable view of one or the other candidate.
MOM: I have a headache just talking about it. And listening to it. I am so tired of the campaigns and speeches and childish insults.
POP: And I am so tired of so little useful information ever seeping through all that noise.
MOM: Listen, Pop, if you want details, you have to read. Books. Articles. That’s where you can sink your teeth into juicy steak. TV is sizzle. Social media is noise. If it’s nuance you want, you have to read the written word.
POP: Well, we’re not the only ones getting tired of the noise. Another poll says six in 10 people complain of feeling “election fatigue.”
MOM: I can relate, Pop. Nov. 8 can’t get here soon enough.
POP: More than half of people polled say there’s too little coverage of important issues and too much focus on the moral character of candidates and which candidate is leading in the polls.
MOM: Does anybody complain in the polls about too many polls?
POP: Good question, Mom.
MOM: An even better question, Pop, is why these polls are given so much currency when they always ask average citizens who they will vote for.
POP: Who should they ask?
MOM: It’s members of the electoral college who actually decide. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to become President of the United States. There is no minimal number of popular votes that determines who is President.
POP: Good point, Mom.
MOM: Everybody talks about the First and Second Amendments, but nobody seems to know much about the 12th Amendment. When it refers to “electors” choosing the president and vice president, it doesn’t mean individual voters. All the polls that survey only the popular vote don’t seem to take that into account.
POP: You are one smart lady, Mom. I’m back on Facebook right now to amuse myself with the political posts. Some of these comments are a hoot.
MOM: Glad you think so, Pop. To me, they’re mostly oafish opinions full of fulminating with a scarcity of facts to back up all the self-rationalizing and hot-air venting. I have no patience for the delusional opinions of information deniers. Knock yourself out.
POP: [starts to swoon, nearly falling off his Barcalounger]
MOM: Pop! Are you OK?
POP: Yeah, Mom. I’ll be fine.
[10 minutes later]
MOM: Pop, I Googled your symptoms.
MOM: You apparently have come down with a case of the OOPS!
POP: That’s a new one on me. Shoot!
MOM: It seems to be related to what you were saying earlier about election fatigue.
POP: You’ve got to be kidding, Mom.
MOM: ‘fraid not, Pop. OOPS is slang shorthand used in the medical profession for a newly discovered malady that is especially prevalent during federal election seasons. Says here that it stands for Overdosing on Other People’s Opinions.
POP: What’s the antidote?
MOM: It says: “The fastest way to rebound from OOPS is to 1) drastically reduce your intake of social media and 2) go read a good book.”
POP: That’s it?
MOM: One more thing it says: “If that doesn’t work, wait until Nov. 9.”
POP: What happens then?
MOM: It goes on to say: “You will feel a lot better. Or a lot worse.”
Media and marketing specialist Bruce Apar is Chief Content Officer of Pinpoint Marketing & Design, a Google Partner Agency. As “Bruce the Blog,” Apar is a weekly columnist for Halston Media newspapers and PennySaver, and a contributing writer for Westchester Magazine. Follow him as Bruce the Blog and Hudson Valley WXYZ on social media. Reach him at email@example.com or 914-275-6887.