As I sat outside, listening to NPR (National Public Radio), I was struck by an interesting concept. The topic up for discussion this morning was familiar... it was a topic that has been hotly and heavily debated every day for the last several months: the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries. A simple concept occurred to me so suddenly it was is if I'd been slapped in the face: The Presidential Election is the largest, longest, most public job application process that exists.
It's like a reality show... We start with two separate teams - The GOP and the Dems. Each team has a fairly large group of players, each filling a different role. Week by week, each state gets a chance to vote for who they want to be left standing when the dust settles, and every week, more players get eliminated until the playing field narrows to just a few people. After 3 months, the GOP has already chosen their competitor for the finale - John McCain, a 71 year old senator and war veteran from Phoenix, Arizona. The Dems have knocked off all but two players, both of which are battling it out every step of the way to eventually become one of two firsts in the history of the United States of America: For the first time ever, it is clear that the democratic presidential nominee will either be a black male, or a white female. Barak Obama, a young, charismatic senator from Illinois, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, wife of notorious former president Bill Clinton, and New York senator with an infamous attitude have already made history in the past several months. A process that usually wraps up quickly and neatly, with a clearly established candidate, has been extensively prolonged due to each camp's devoted fanbases and the will to fight being fiercely exercised by both candidates. The American public has been almost involved in this race as we were the last season of American Idol... Seriously though, everyone has been watching this election on the edge of their seats, in a similar manner to the way many Americans devour the ridiculous amount of reality television that clogs our airwaves. Americans have been rushing primaries en masse, each state's constituency eager to cast their vote to determine who gets voted off the island, and who will finally be chosen to duke it out opposite the formidable John McCain in November.
The difference between regular reality TV, and the reality of the election is this: Reality television offers viewers a glance into the life of carefully chosen contestants, usually with some sort of ridiculous spin or competition involved. Viewers watch because the characters are interesting (usually predictable, but still enthralling), the plots outrageous and dramatic, and the emotions high. But at the end of each episode, the viewer returns to his or her life, and that episode of reality television will have no direct impact on them. It's brain fluff, basically. The presidential candidates are applying for a job; arguably, the single most important job in the country, and whomever we elect will be our leader for at least the next 4 years. It's the ultimate reality television spectacle - the election process officially began with the first of the primaries in January, and isn't over until the general elections in November, or sometimes, the inauguration that will occurr in January of the following year. It's a show that is aired twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week on multiple channels for approximately a year, give or take a couple of months. The characters are compelling; they can be mysterious in the beginning, but each week we learn more about everyone involved, and the tension builds as the candidates compete for the ultimate job position - America's Next Top Chief Executive. Tune in now for all the excitement, controversy, and edge-of-your-seat election action.
Posted: 03/07/08 at 14:28 (642 views)