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Scapegoats can come in handy at times


Voting for president in Arkansas and other states painted in reds and blues seem like you are playing a lottery. It’s like watching your daughter compete in a dance recital. You know what the outcome will be. You’re going to lose the lottery money and your daughter will do okay.

How could a single vote out of 170 million votes cast nationwide really matter? Is it possible that a person in Arkansas can stand at a voting machine and influence an undecided voter in Ohio? How can your vote count when it has already been counted by a pollster?

All (interesting) politics is local: Votes seem to mean more concerning state and local races and issues. Anything that mixes local politicians and money can get emotional fast.

And the local races involving individuals heated up in recent weeks with some of the candidates packing weapons in their TV commercials, blasting away at what they consider to be dumb ideas with real guns and bullets.

One bragged that he was for the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. However, a noisy newspaper reporter checked and learned the candidate does not have hunting or fishing license.

So much for the outdoorsman image.

A pit-stop state like Arkansas is one where the candidate is so heavily favored that he only drops in a few times a year to pick up the contribution money. However, a pit-stop state can benefit if its candidate is elected president.

Don’t bother to ask exactly how do our ballots matter? A vote for president is a way of thanking those who have served in defense of this country.

The millions spend on political TV advertising could go a long way toward reducing the national debt the candidates are always talking about. Some of this year’s political advertising qualified as a hate crime under federal laws.

There are always many good reasons that lead a person to vote for president, no matter the preordained numbers, patriotism chief among the emotions.

The lasting images of this presidential campaign may not be the candidates, but the babble of cable news personalities making a final pitch for your ballot.

Television news doesn’t translate facts or news, placing the objective voter in a sad state. It’s an afterthought, like the consumer affairs stories that are broadcast during Sweeps Week.

The distorted face of politics is the biased cable TV news personality, the real scapegoat of the political season. The anchor proves to be more calculating than Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart, and much less entertaining.

The cable news characters are no more qualified to spread their politics than action movie stars or romantic leads.

The voter is apt to wonder how he or she could support a candidate who attracts such a strange endorser. Two years from now the same cable stars will be selling life insurance on late night spots.

Biased TV news is offbeat from the start. On the cheerleading channels, they’re preaching mostly to the wooden pews — nothing in the primary audience is ever going to change.

Cable anchors are probably already working on their highway robbery sermons or insurance spots.

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Larry Fugate is a veteran journalist and former editor of The Pine Bluff Commercial. He can be reached by e-mail at fugatel@sbcglobal.net or at (870) 329-7010.