Mayan campaign mashup 2012: We belong together

6 09 2012

Yeah, he’s pretty good, isn’t he?

President Obama lacked the jocular wit of Clinton—who, despite some meanderings, pretty much killed it last night—but Obama’s got that (forgive the cliche) steely gaze that says We are on.

He’s not warm, not cuddly, not gather-y’all-in-my-arms like Clinton, but when he says “no one gets left behind,” you—well, I—get the sense that he will make goddamned sure that everyone is all aboard.

And Biden? Well, y’know, Joe. . . . If nothing else, he offered up a nice contrast for the supremely focused Obama.

My favorite part? The focus on citizenship, of course, the mention of obligation and responsibility, the notion that we really are a people.

So, yeah, I liked the speech—even more, frankly, than I liked Clinton’s (although I did enjoy Bill’s riffs more). And as a variation on what I said yesterday, even if this wasn’t particularly for me, it did include me, which, again, is nice.

How will others’ respond? I’d guess that most Dems will like it, most Repubs will dislike it, and the undecideds. . . well, I don’t understand undecideds, don’t understand what, at this point, what undecideds are undecided about.

In fact, I’d probably find it easier to crawl into the head of someone on the opposite side of the political spectrum than someone wandering about muttering I just don’t know. At least that rightist will share the sense that this shit matters.

No, that’s not a slap at the swings (although, to be honest, it started as one): I truly do not get those who care enough to vote, but who don’t care enough to form an opinion about that vote.

Eh, maybe they do, maybe I’m mistaking indecision for deliberation, maybe—probably—I fundamentally misunderstand the conditions under which the swings, well, swing.

And yeah, I could probably read survey results or transcripts of interviews with undecideds, and by perusing the literature could get a handle on the mechanics of indecision and the trajectories of swingers, and offer a half-decent analysis of the dance of the undecideds.

But in my bones, I probably still wouldn’t get it.

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9 responses

7 09 2012
dmf

hardly scientific but the people who they keep interviewing on the various news outlets as undecideds are woefully uninformed on even the basics and these are the people who hold our collective fates in their hands if Dems don’t get out the vote…

7 09 2012
8 09 2012
9 09 2012
BJ

Undecideds are easy to understand. What if you are pro-choice, and against gun control? Pro-education but anti-union? Pro gay rights and anti big government? Sensible positions that fit neither party. Polar bipartisanship forces many reasonable people to choose a candidate that doesn’t fit the full belief set. What’s most important? That’s what I find people asking.

In fact, extreme bipartisanship forces voters to choose by a horrible measure; the pocketbook. If you can’t find a belief set you fit perfectly, the next choice may be to protect yourself. There is plenty of indecision to go around there. Vote selfishly or for the greater good?

I’m decided, but many of my fellow middle-classers arent, and I get that.

9 09 2012
absurdbeats

BJ, thanks for this—it makes sense. But I guess I’d ask them, well, what, in the end, will help you to make up your mind? How do you decide what matters most? And what information will you use?

In short, I get that there is a rational component to indecision; I guess the next question would be, How much is rationality a part of the decision?

10 09 2012
BJ

What does matter most? That is a moving target.
Gross generalizations…
60’s – social issues
70’s – war, oil
80’s – cold war?
90’s – hmm.
00’s – security? Economy?

Point is; what happens that influences our choices? Who tells us what is important? If we rely on the candidates, the media, or the current mouthpiece to decide for us, we are in deep doo.

In my mind, it’s personal. Will people take the time to decide whats really important? Do we have a chance, as a mass, of understanding the economic proposals of each candidate? I think there’s a better chance of understanding the social issue (if people care). Are we really voting for a candidate? Or just the belief set?

Maybe it’s just confusion that doesn’t allow people to decide. For the average person, there is not enough return on investment to study the overwhelming amount of data that should influence us. Does a candidate really affect out daily lives?

And I suspect that many of us vote like its the Miss USA pageant; just choose the cute one from the Midwest. God save us if that happens in this one.

10 09 2012
absurdbeats

Well, except the cute one from the Midwest is the former senator from Illinois. . . .

(Okay, yeah, after a beat or two I got that you’re talking about Ryan. . . .)

One of my obstacles in understanding how most people make political decisions is that most people don’t care nearly as much about politics as I do, don’t spend much time thinking about it, and don’t care much whether any one vote fits within a coherent political world-view. If I try to imagine how Romney’s or Obama’s speeches were received by undecideds [which is actually a differentiated mass o’ folks], I just hit a roadblock. How do you figure out what someone wants if they don’t know what they want?

I’ll put up a post (tomorrow? Wednesday?) trying to dismantle that obstacle, or, perhaps, just to see that in some areas that others hold vitally important I can’t be bothered to care much—and thus I might be as frustrating to them as the undecideds are to me.

11 09 2012
BJ

You’ve teased me about my lack of neuroses….I got invited to a FREE trip to NY for work…Broadway show, dinner, tour, the works…tiny bit of business. With a good friend.

I said no.

I was in 7 plays (one with you) in high school and several other local theatres. Lead actor three times. Never had a worry. 20 years later I’m haunted by dreams of missed cues, forgotten lines…I can’t imagine going into a theatre for a show. it would elevate the dreams to unbearable.

And you wonder why people are undecided? Probably because we’re nuts.

12 09 2012
absurdbeats

Heh. I still have dreams where I’m about to go onstage, and not only do I not know my lines, I have no idea who my character is or what play I’m in.

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