Monday, June 8, 2015

Need To Know Basis

Look, we told you all you need to know, okay?
Having made the mistake of going to a political fundraiser back in the day (although it seemed like a good idea, and a bargain, at the time), I've been on Democratic mailing lists for longer than I care to remember. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with the Democrats, but eventually, the constant drone of political messages blends into a background hum of attempted emotional manipulation. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sets out to hit a number of emotional triggers: the implication that "a millionaire like Jeb Bush" (as opposed to a millionaire like Hillary Clinton) is out of touch with the problems of regular Americans, and willing to contribute to them. The references to respected careers, like "construction workers, nurses, teachers" and "hard working Americans, and designed to play on people's sympathies and visions of themselves. And, of course, the ubiquitous "just plain wrong." When I read this, it seems so obvious that it strikes me as odd that anyone actually takes any of it at face value. (And perhaps no-one does. Maybe there's an inside narrative that I'm not hip to.)

Now, in this particular instance I'm not taking a position on whether or not the retirement age should be 70, or 17. Mainly because as far as that particular question is concerned, I'm a Low Information Voter. And, to a degree, it seems that's exactly who this mailing targets. There's no obvious source of more information to allow a reader to come to any more informed a conclusion than they already have. Granted, I didn't click on any of the mailing's many links, but I suspect that none of them would have taken me to a detailed analysis of the Social Security system or its funding.

Politics is often an emotional game. And I'll admit that I'm a better observer than player of same. But it seems to me that the emotion thrives because the discourse is starved of information.

No comments: