Why People Vote the Way They Do: Trying to Make Some Sense of it All-Part II

Over the years I have enjoyed watching voters who thought that candidates like Reagan would best serve the people of America.  He appealed to the masses, the common working people, and he did a fine job of convincing Billy Bob from Cut-And-Shoot, Texas to vote for him.  So what did Billy Bob get out of it?  Well, in the last episode (Part I) we saw that Billy Bob was a welder’s helper who had a pretty good union job until Reagan proved unions were dispensable by firing all the Air Traffic Controllers.  The shock waves trickled on down and finally Billy Bob found himself in a quandary when he got replaced by a cheaper-wage illegal, fresh up from the border.  Unions became unnecessary all of a sudden.  So when Billy Bob went looking for another job he found that now he had to compete with the cheaper labor available from the other side of the Rio Grande.  So as we saw in Part I Billy Bob had to let his air boat go back to the bank, no more alligator night hunts to supplement no income.  And that refinery job he was hopin’ to get thanks to his sister’s brother Buford just up and vanished along with that $18 an hour and lots of overtime.  Lordy, did anybody see that Mack Truck coming?

Bottom line Billy Bob should have known that voting for Reagan was akin to shooting himself in the big toe.  Those who benefitted most from Reagan were the Military Industrial Complex who Reagan helped by borrowing and spending $3 Trillion more and increasing our National Debt by that same figure.  And those Reagan benefitted returned the favor in kind with Billions of dollars funneled into his private campaign fund or the coffers of the RNC. 

Sam Walton and the Bush family would have benefitted by voting for Reagan, and they did just that.  So did Halliburton and Dick Cheney (who said ‘Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.’?).  In truth deficits did not matter to Cheney or Halliburton.  Why not?  Well the Big H received the money Reagan’s dutiful lapdog Congress borrowed and spent to build up the military. Halliburton was the manufacturer and provider of goods and services to Uncle Sam. And even though it was borrowed money, Halliburton and all their no-bid Military Industrial Complex cronies took it in their hot fists and ran.  Left us common taxpayers and Billy Bob flat-footed.  Like, in holding the bag.  So Billy Bob, at least in his own best financial interests, shouldn’t have voted for Reagan.  He should have voted for Mondale and suffered in silence.  Shucks, he could have kept his rifles,  bullets, and pickup with a nice gun rack in the back glass.  Why make such a big fuss when you get to keep all your firearms anyhow and you don’t have to shoot yourself in the foot?

People vote for the strangest reasons many of which do not serve their economic stations in life.  Billy Bob, see, was one of them fellers who voted for George W. Bush ‘cause he was the kind of president Billy Bob would want to have a beer with.  You know, the smiling, back-slappin’ good ol’ boy that caught a world and Texas state record White Perch on his Crawford ranch? 

Truth is Bush did not know his fish.  He lied.  But would that keep Billy Bob from pulling the lever for Bush come Election Day?  Shoot no, ‘cause it don’t matter if Bush knows his fish and stretches the truth to a nervous world that maybe chuckles at his buffoonery and Black Belt degree of terminal Dumbass.  But it was no joke when Bush attacked Iraq.  That was real alright.  And years later after the country was bombed, broken, and dismantled, we must ask, “Was stretching the truth to justify attacking and occupying Iraq just as excusable as Bush’s stretching the truth about his world-record White Perch?”  One was harmful to humanity, and the other was not.  But a lie is still a lie, and is an essential part of proven liar's moral anatomy.  And big or small, the lie must get out.  It is a part of a liar's soul and what he sees the world to be:  like, maybe a bunch of chumps for the clipping?   It tells you who he is from the git-go. 

Is it just me, or does the Bush family’s purchase of 200,000 acres of mineral-rich, with unlimited fresh water resources and farmland in Paraguay seem a bit out of the ordinary?  Or that a 400-man US Marine air base was created next door by Poppy many years ago?  Or that Paraguay is a country with no-extradition laws on the books?

But thousands of deaths later and years of occupation what did we accomplish, and did it matter to the American voter come election time?  Did the voters hold Bush accountable for his head fakes and lies that cost the taxpayers Trillions of dollars more, borrowed from the Chinese and spent to defend us from terrorists in Iraq that Bush said, had weapons of mass destruction pointed at U.S. cities?  Not really.  Nobody, including Bush, was ever held accountable for causing such a destruction of cities, countries, of our own men and women, and of our very own currency from the borrowing and spending for war.  And are we better off for it?  Is Iraq?  I say we are far worse off and so is Iraq now that al Qaeda has been given a free reign to set up shop there.

So why do people vote for such villains and all their war-borrowing-and-spending skullduggery that causes Americans to lose their homes, their jobs, and have to walk the financial plank?  Ask any political consultant. 

It’s the money. 

It’s always the money.  What money, one might ask?  The millions of dollars collected by candidates for their reelection campaigns.  The millions of dollars in Political Action Committees for political party campaigns.  Remember the Swift Boaters who blew John Kerry out of the water in the presidential race of 2004?  Money is king when it comes to effectively swaying voter opinion, and that spells polls.  The Houston billionaire, John Moore, paid millions to discredit John Kerry’s honorable service as a Swift Boat commander in the Viet Nam War.  The term “Swiftboating” was born.  It is the deliberate attempt to prove chicanery and the lies of a person running for office, to discredit him so that he will lose.  This hit money that John Moore gave toward the destruction of John Kerry as a viable candidate for president proved effective.  Kerry lost. 

Forget the truth.  The man who volunteered for combat and received more than one Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for bravery under fire was mocked into a corner of dishonor, and he lost the election.  He lost to George W. Bush who went AWOL during the Viet Nam War and had marked “Do Not Volunteer” for duty overseas.  Bush got a cushy Texas Air Guard (wave the magic wand) commission thanks to Poppy and his connections.  There, Bush would never see combat.  Money does it every time.  It makes a believer out of Billy Bob and other voters who do not have the time to research the truth.  Money can make a hero a coward and a coward a hero.  The more money, the better chance a candidate has of being elected or reelected to office.  Truth doesn’t matter, and it never did.  Given enough money you can produce and run ads that make everything seem real when it is not.  And those ads, mostly 30 second spots on TV, control elections and who will rule our land.

The money also bought very effective ads in the way of Band Aids with Purple Hearts painted on them so that the candidates to the Republican National Convention could wear them in plain view to discredit John Kerry’s duly awarded Purple Heart medals.  That bit of tasteless display said it all:  Kerry received medals that were not due him because they were little scratches, to be covered up by mere Band Aides.  It was a new low in American politics.  But it was effective.  To top it all off Arnold Swartzenegger gave the Keynote address and told the world that a vote for John Kerry was a vote for a “girlie man.”  That even set a newer low, but it was all effective.  Bush won.  So America had to suffer a president with only a 92 IQ for a second term.

If we care to address the truth and elect good officials who will work in the interest of ALL the people we must first look at ourselves.  A long look in the mirror and some self-evaluation has to reveal that we don’t really know shit from Shinola about the person we are voting for other than what television campaign ads tells us to believe.  No offense intended.  I include myself in that analogy, so please, let us do some homework.  Realize that you and I as a competent voters have never looked at a person’s voting record in order to make an intelligent decision to see if this guy or gal running for office is for us.  Please ask yourself when was the last time you really took time out from a busy job and what little time you had to spend with your family to attend political rallies, discussions, or anything that would further your understanding of the candidates?  Try to resist the camera effect.  The camera hated Nixon, loved Kennedy, fell in love with Reagan, hated the cadaverous Kerry, and loved Bush.  So what does the camera have to do with voting for the right candidate?  Everything.  Hence, the perverted lack-of-reasoning for voting for the back-slapping good old boy George W. Bush, the dude you would like to have a beer with.

Can’t we voters see that television ads can make any and all claims, good and bad, about any candidate running for office?  Do we ever feel a bit lazy that we have not given it our best shot when we, due to other pressing considerations of life, just watch the talking heads on camera and subjectively decide on a candidate?  Or a breathtaking political ad?  If we do, aren’t we a bit chagrined to know that we have given our souls to the money behind the ads and not the candidate?  Can we admit that we may be making ourselves victims of mass hypnotization?  That we are just as confused and ambivalent to knowing the truth as was Pontius Pilate who asked Jesus, “What is truth?”

Look, if our National Debt soars greater than $15 Trillion this year and $17 Trillion the year after, who is to blame when we vote our subjective mind, our unconscious mind based on television ads paid for by massive amounts of money?  If we would admit it to ourselves, wouldn’t Ron Paul have a real shot at the presidency if he had the camera presence and the young looks of Romney?  And if that is a true statement then we need to reevaluate our reasons for voting as adults instead of bloody, unconscious adolescents.  And prosper as an intelligent, fiscally responsible nation once again.