Now that the election is officially over we can return to watching subpar commercials for Dominos’ cheesy bread, Walmart’s latest sale, or whatever it is that gets advertised on TV these days. While I do not watch much TV myself, I am pretty sure that like you, I probably did not learn a single positive thing about either candidate from their own campaign advertisements. And from the negative campaign ads there are only a few things that I did learn about each candidate.
In an Obama attack ad, we come to understand that Mitt Romney has about as good of a singing voice (“For Amber Waves of Grain”) as freshmen serenading women’s halls during Frosh-O. In a Romney attack ad, we learn pretty much what we already knew, that the debt is up (to $16 trillion) and unemployment is at about 8%. To let us know how much they cannot stand each other, the campaigns spent roughly $646 million combined on negative campaign ads. And what do they do on Election Day? They congratulate each other on well fought campaigns. I am pretty sure they wanted to just duke it out during the second and third presidential debates, and perhaps some of us would have been just fine with that. In 1806, an Andrew Jackson naysayer wrote an attack piece against Jackson to which Jackson responded with a written duel. He got shot, but he ended up winning the duel.
While the presidential election process no longer includes “bring it” candidates like Andrew Jackson, it is mildly amusing to consider other more interesting ways in which we might select the president. The first one that comes to mind would be to set up a presidential Hunger Games to see which candidates would actually survive fighting each other in a more direct way than via attack ads. I can imagine that the spectacle would be quite the public entertainment thriller. Additionally, we the American people would be able to introduce obstacles into the game that Americans face each and every day. Of course we would take from the candidates all of their financial assets, and then we would selectively introduce other factors. “Today, Mr. President and Governor Romney, you have both been laid off.”
Next, we would introduce a massive storm to destroy not only their primary homes, but their second and third homes as well. Their resources would erode, and they would begin to understand what it is like to eat PB&J, to make $7.45/hour if anything at all, and to pay $3.50 a gallon for gas. May the odds be ever in the American people’s favor.
The presidential campaign season does have its good sides though, as people invent hysterical videos, memes, and websites to add some comedic relief to the whole thing. Little Abigael Evans broke down into tears the other day when she heard NPR broadcasting more on the election. Her response? “I’m tired of Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney.” My personal favorite was the “Get the Details” website, which invited you to click the button below for details on the Romney tax plan. When you went to click it, the little button jumped all over the screen, supposedly as evasive as the men whose plan it divulged. Another oddly familiar, yet similarly hilarious website featured a Florida butterfly ballot that would not let you vote for Al Gore on its fake version of the 2004 Florida ballot. And of course, there are those people who threaten to move to Canada after the result of the election. Well let me tell you, you’re a liar and Canada does not want you anyway. Regardless of outcome, I love living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Michael Jackson is a fifth-year senior in the Riley Dual-degree program. He wants to be a lion-tamer when he grows up. Contact Michael at email@example.com.