No, I’m not going to try to talk you into voting for Coakley. I really don’t think I have that ability, nor do I really think Coakley is worth such an effort. [This is where I thank G-d I am not a highly-visible Democrat.] I have spoken with a number of you over the past week and asked why you are all ready to vote Brown. I will not judge you for that, because, honestly, I don’t blame you. Coakley’s campaign is too little, too late. They made the assumption that MA was so blue that anything she said would go against her, so she said nothing. She made little effort to meet you and learn about you. She was delivered as the candidate from a primary in which few folks took interest, where the really interesting candidates [Khazei and Capuano] were shoved aside. Martha was safe, she was an heir to the Kennedy’s, and she really didn’t need any of you. When pressed with these annoying facts as Scott Brown surged, she grunted about her effort. “Look at my website,” and “You expect me to stand outside Fenway Park, in the cold, shaking hands?” To her, meeting SEIU leaders to get the vote out was her campaign.
Meanwhile, Scott Brown has really impressed. He’s put together a campaign from nothing. Nobody gave him a chance. He scored perfect sound bytes like “This is the people’s seat” [which Coakley has stolen], and has terrific ads that crush Coakley in her weaknesses. [The one where he’s in S Boston greeting people is killer.] Coakley’s ads grate and some border on untruth, all evoke a sense of desperation.
But, but, but…yes, you know that I am holding my nose and voting for Coakley anyway. Even though there is a chance she will remain entrenched, given MA politics. [Brown, OTOH, could be given the boot after 3 years, which isn’t such a bad proposition.] Even though her campaign is a farce. Even though I voted against her in the primaries. Even though her stance on law and order is contrary to my being. [Her participation in the Amirault case is one hell of a black stain.] Why?
Look, I am not going to attack Brown. You all know why I cannot vote for him. But what I ask is that you all look beyond your personal likes and dislikes, because these have NOTHING to do with how the election of a candidate impacts your life. Nothing. The sound bytes, the zingers, the mistakes…in a year, nobody will remember them. What matters are the issues that surround the election, and whether you are voting your interests. And, from what I have heard this past week, not enough of you are doing that. And that includes a lot of you voting for Coakley.
I fear that our elections, especially this one, have become a war of symbols. From “The Coming of the Third Reich” by Richard J Evans:
The decay of parliamentary politics was graphically illustrated by the increasingly emotive propaganda style of the parties, including even the Social Democrats…[T]he political struggle became reduced to what the Social democrats called…a war of symbols. Engaging a psychologist – Sergei Chakhotin, a radical Russian pupil of Pavlov, the discoverer of the conditioned response – to help them fight elections in the course of 1931, the Social Democrats realized that an appeal to reason was not enough. ‘We have to work on feelings, souls, and emotions so that reason wins the victory.’ In practice, reason got left far behind. In the elections of July 1932 the Social democrats ordered all their local groups to ensure that party members wore a party badge, used the clenched-fist greeting when encountering each other, and shouted the slogan ‘Freedom!’ at appropriate opportunities…In adopting this style, the parties were placing themselves on the same ground as the Nazis, with whose swastika symbol, ‘Hail Hitler!’ greeting and simple, powerful slogans they found it very difficult to compete.
Seeking for an image that would be dynamic enough to counter the appeal of the Nazis, the Social Democrats…and a number of other working-class organizations…came together…to form the ‘Iron Front’ to fight the ‘fascist’ menace…Long, boring speeches were to be replaced by short, sharp slogans.
No, Scott Brown nor the Republicans are Nazis. The proper context is that the absence of examination of the issues and the replacement of them with sound bytes and snippets can have disastrous consequences for a democracy. I hear women voting for Coakley because Brown is anti-woman. [Brown is quite moderate on this issue.] I hear loads of people voting for Brown because he won’t coddle terrorists, he’ll lower taxes, he’ll really stick it to the libs. But ask yourself, what will either of these candidates do for your family? How will they contribute to making your life better? How, for example, will Brown seek to cut taxes without hurting whatever you care about? How will we pay for the health care reform, and what are the provisions of the bill? Is abortion REALLY the number one issue affecting you and your family? [Maybe it is, I don’t know.]
Please consider this before you go to vote tomorrow, and take a minute or two to read up on the issues.