Monday, October 20, 2008

A Canadian in America, attack ads and initiatives

Dave works during the week but I decided to stay on for a few days to cook some food for my trip home, do a little laundry, and catch up on my blog. Dave's cat Diamond is not sure what to make of me, she is not used to other people being around but she hopes that I might be good for opening doors and putting out catfood.

On Monday it rained most of the day so I stayed indoors. When Dave got home we watched some TV. I am amazed at how different the political ads on TV are from the ones in Canada. Our election was quite brief in comparison, less than two months. But we don't have primaries, each party already has its leader going into the election. I don't know how Americans can keep up their interest in an election process that takes two years!

The ads I saw on TV were all negative ads. You only know about a candidate through what the opposing candidate says about him or her, and of course it is quite bad. So you never hear much good about anyone! Washington State is I gather supporting the Democrats unequivocally (for President, that is), so neither party has any Presidential ads on TV. That is a done deal here, the ads are all for Governor and members of Congress. Lots of Obama bumper stickers around. Dave's next door neighbour supports McCain, but he has no lawn signs for him. Instead he has three lawn signs for other Republicans running for Congress and Governor. Dave figures his neighbour is a dyed-in-the-wool Republican who has doubts about McCain.

Another interesting thing, Dave gets an election pamphlet that describes every candidate running for every open office, and all of the referendums and initiatives being voted on as well. It's huge! Almost a small novel! The information is quite detailed, so I guess if you never saw a TV attack ad you could still make up your mind on the basis of the less biased information in the pamphlet.

I found the initiatives quite interesting, we don't have initiatives in Canada. I am still not clear on what the difference is between an initiative and a referendum, but referendums are pretty rare in Canada too. Each initiative is described in detail, including background history of the initiative, lists of pro and con arguments for it, the exact costs of each initiative and even rebuttal arguments for the pro and con arguments. There is one for opening up HOV lanes during off peak hours, one for assisted suicide, and I forget what the third one was about.

There's a huge emphasis here on taxes. It's all about reducing taxes, or at the very least not raising taxes. I find it odd that the richest country in the world is so hung up on not spending tax money. Dave explains it to me as a fear of "Big Government", somehow government is viewed as a necessary evil and god forbid it get any more money or else it will become even more evil. Somehow, in spite of this fear of Big Government and rising taxes, the US administration still manages to spend huge amounts on war and subvert the American constitutional separation of powers and protection of civil rights.

A country of contradictions.

1 comment:

Barbara Anne said...

AMEN, sistah!!!!!!!! It's not reasonable at all and who one earth could vote Republican after the evil and betrayals of the last 8 years??????????? They need to be charged and tried for treason!

Stepping off my soapbox now!

Hugs!