Smile Politely

Stories That Are Fascinating Leading Up to the Election

These are the stories that are fascinating me before the election:

1. The research (and subsequent news stories) on how presenting misinformation and then rescinding it only strengthens some people’s belief in the lie. Research now specific to politics is underway. So, trying to turn a belligerent Republican — or Democrat — into someone who reads is a futile effort. This knowledge has lately stopped me from forwarding left-leaning NYTimes op-ed pieces to my poor republican sister who only wants her millionaire husband to “be able to keep the money he works so hard for.” He hates the idea that he has to pay taxes. (You can start here.)

2. Voter caging: The mostly Republican sport of sending confusing, incorrect letters to befuddle voters. Letters are sent out to registered democrats in targetted areas; the letters include “new Republican voter registration cards” with incorrect numbers on them, thanking them for registering as a republican, signed by John McCain. The letters are marked “Return to Sender” – if the letters do not get returned, the recipient is suspect to having their vote challenged, because ostensibly, they don’t reside at that address and are committing voter fraud. There are numerous documented cases of hundreds of thousands of votes being challenged in this way, and evidence they’re working on this strategy again “bigtime.” Read here, here, and the Voter Supression Wiki.

3. Virginia Tech, during a voter registration drive, the local registrar of elections issued incorrect warnings to students that in registering to vote at a different address, they are jeopardizing their status as dependents on their parents’ tax returns and could lose scholarships or coverage under their parents’ car and health insurance.

4. A new conspiracy theory I’d not heard — by Mark Crispin Miller — that the undead Christian Right (my words) who came out to vote against gay marriage in 2004 (thank god they were able to shut that down, huh?) was all a front to keep our attention from the fact that through various illegal and technical means (see #2 and 3), the election was stolen.

5. Anything on, “electoral projections done right” – a site run by Nate Silver, a baseball stats guy, uses his skills to crunch election numbers. Lately it has turned back to the blue!

6. Go to Baskin-Robbins on Neil and Green and ogle the “Straight-Talk Crunch” ice-cream. An employee tried to sell me on it and I nearly punched her. They are supposed to have Democrat ice-cream too, but they didn’t seem to have it out on Neil and Green today. Maybe tomorrow.

7. David Foster Wallace killing himself before the election. I’d have waited. How could you skip out before that? He must have really had someplace better to go to.

8. These op-ed pieces, even David Brooks getting in on the action, and especially Alan Wolfe in Salon who claims that Republicans have to lie about their platform, otherwise no one except the very, very rich would vote for them.

9. Women’s voices against Sarah Palin.

10. The mainstream media “growing a pair.” (The ABC Charlie interview and the View)

11. To think, I voted for Nader so many years ago.

I’m not scared that another nation is going to attack me. I’m scared our own nation is going down the tubes, economically and academically. I want things to be more fair here. I think some people have too much money and it’s not like it’s making them happier, either. They need to learn that. The people I know who have an overload of money usually spend most of their time worrying it’s going to go away, and the rest of their time staring at TV screens, trying to decompress. The amount of money you have does not correspond to amount of happiness you feel. And finally, I want our nation to be respected once again. I want an intelligent group of people in the White House. How have we sunk so low as to allow people who cannot even pronounce words (like new-clee-er) to be ruling our country?

The Republicans I encounter (who aren’t rich) only state two reasons for voting for Palin-McCain:

1) We haven’t been attacked since 9/11 and 2) Obama is a Muslim.

Let’s hope the reign of illiteracy and terror ends soon.

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