I just finished watching a documentary that confirmed many of my suspicions, and echoed a few of my sentiments about politics in America today. I wish everyone who is old enough to vote could watch it before they go to the polls on Election Day - it's called, Split: A Divided America. I saw it on the Independent Film Channel, so I don't know if cable subscribers get that channel.
What made this documentary so compelling were the questions they asked, although the people interviewed were about as diverse a group of people as you could hope to find in America: from experts to regular people, old to young, from the Rust Belt to the Bible Belt, conservatives, liberals, and many people in-between. Noam Chomsky was interviewed; Tucker Carlson (former host of Crossfire on CNN) was interviewed, former heads of both Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns of years past.
They worked behind the scenes and offered their insight.
And the truth is the political campaigns, especially today, are deliberately negative (as a way of keeping voter turnout down - isn't anyone else bothered by the fact that the ONLY people who are bothering to put people in the White House only represent 30% of our country? Are you comfortable with that??), and are run by the same people who promote ... toothpaste.
Tucker Carlson called the political advertising "narrowcasting" because of how it narrows the viewpoints on any given subject. I forget what his exact words were, which is a shame because he really hit the nail on the head.
One other expert (I forget who just now) wanted to know why some housewife in Iowa is more bothered by the idea of an Islamic radical killing her and her family, than she is about her husband's job security, or the fact that they don't have health insurance for their family, or the quality of education her children are getting. His point was, this woman is going to cast her vote based on something that ultimately, is very unlikely to happen, rather than being focused on issues that are very real to her (read: all of us) on a daily basis. In other words, what is the likelihood that she will have to pick up a gun to defend herself (in Iowa, mind you) from Osama bin Laden - or Al Qaida period - than she would have to take her kids to the doctor?
Anyway, the documentary did a GREAT job of telling the story of what's really going on inside the political arena of today's America going into Election 2008, and they didn't just interview experts. They interviewed Citizen Joes and Janes, and they discovered that for all the differences the media chooses to paint our country in, the fact is the majority of us actually agree more than we disagree.
If you watch the political ads and you really care about what direction our country is headed ... I highly recommend you watch this documentary. It doesn't make a case for any political party, so there is no particular endorsement to be found there.