November 4, 2012

Exercising our franchise


This model continued until the cable television revolution. With cable television, the cost to allow one more viewer plummeted dramatically. With this lower cost structure per viewer, a cable station no longer had to appeal to majority of viewers. Instead, it could peel off a small slice of a large population.

Soon, every major special interest could have an outlet willing to cater to it, and every member of the public could subscribe, essentially for free, to a station that catered almost exclusively to what they want to hear, rather than what they ought to hear. Rather than the creation of an improved flow of information, we ended up with a much more partisan and dumbed-down media where none of us is challenged in our way of thinking, and each of us feels a bigger part of an ever-narrower club.

If we watch the debates or follow the election campaigns following the primaries, we see each candidate all of a sudden try to navigate toward our center of mass. Meanwhile, their more intimate stump speeches instead try to excite and cultivate their converted. Yet, our leaders suddenly seem uncomfortable with this centric model. Now, little of modern politics seems designed to appeal to the vast center.

Many of us in the vast center have great difficulty associating with either candidate in this increasingly divided two-party system. We all want to exercise our franchise, but each of us feels we can do so only if we hold our nose and are forced to vote for one candidate or another, neither of whom seem to represent the dire needs of today’s typical household or tomorrow’s children. We vote, or ought to, but we do so with little passion or excitement. It does not help that each candidate tells us less about who they are, and instead seems to focus on who they are not.

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