Back in August, I blogged here about why I thought this electoral cycle was so important that I didn’t want to cloud my thought processes with “fake news” of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report variety. Yes, I’m not stupid, and yes, I recognize(d) that those are fictitious, humorous comedy shows, and not “real news” (whatever that means). So don’t e-mail me to explain the obvious, alright? I get the obvious.
Still, even getting that, I felt that seeing clips of candidates selected for their humor potential every night couldn’t help but permeate my consciousness and settle into the hidden parts of my mind where I make intuitive decisions that I may or may not even actively, logically understand I am making. I didn’t want this to happen, after yukking along every night during the 2004 elections. Look how well that turned out. I didn’t and don’t want to laugh for, with, or at anyone running for President this year. I want to know how they are going to lead us, at home and in the world at large. Seriously.
Six months have now passed with me having had nary a single spotting of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert or any other night-time or morning entertainment talk show hosts interacting with or riffing on this year’s Presidential candidates. I avoided those types of shows like the plague as well, as I also didn’t and don’t want to be entertained by a Presidential candidate this year. I want them to appeal to me in intellectual terms on the basis of their plans, expectations and qualifications for the Chief Executive and Commander and Chief of our nation. I didn’t and don’t want glib sound bites. I want substance. You don’t get that on talk shows.
So I voted in the New York Primary today, and as I was pondering my options and making my choice (no, I’m not telling you who it was), I felt clear-minded and responsible, making my decision for reasons that had nothing to do with whether my candidate was able to swap yucks or play a musical instrument on a television show that ultimately profits no one but its corporate parents’ stockholders and advertisers. I voted on issues and competence in things that matter. Being a good talking head isn’t one of those things.
I felt so good after voting, in fact, that I won’t be watching any of those shows until the General Election in November either. The issues are still too important to laugh about or be entertained by. This isn’t a sitcom, a talk show, a sporting event or a hospital drama. It’s a precious process to select a person who is going to influence the shape of the world for a generation or longer. It deserves our attention. Our serious attention.