A few nights ago I was on the couch channel surfing for something good to watch on TV. There really are only three channels I watch. From the stories my mom tells, three channels is all she ever had growing up. I don't feel sorry for her. Three is all you need. I have close to one bazillion channels, but the only ones I ever use are Comedy Central, a local channel to watch The Bachelor and local news and then a channel to satisfy my addiction to documentaries.
On this particular evening I ran across a documentary about the many affairs of John F Kennedy. We have all seen the breathy birthday song Marilyn Monroe sang for him. It's kind of easy to guess that one, but I had no idea about how many others there were. There were many, MANY others. This dude was straight pimp. These weren't just average, low profile interns in blue dresses under his desk either. His affairs were with people who not only could have caused catastrophic damage to his credibility as president, but also could have caused disaster in this country had any of the scorned women decided to share information they gained from their pillow talk. They were women with mafia ties, German prostitutes, famous actresses, strippers and well-known socialites. He was a busy man.
He made great strides for civil rights during his term as president, no doubt, but how did his scandals not over-shadow all of it? Why? Because the general public had no idea. Had they known then how carelessly he waved his freak flag things would have been different. Camelot wouldn't have had nearly the royal luster it did among doting Americans.
The difference is that good ole' JFK was privileged to live in a time where people didn't know every detail about him. Most people decided to vote for him based on the information they gained from reading three-day-old newspaper articles. They formed opinions from short reports they watched on their little static television sets. Paparazzi weren't hiding in every corner with long range camera lenses snapping every sultry detail to share with the world. Despite his overwhelming poor decisions and the risk he put our country in because of it, he was still America's sweetheart. Still the popular vote.
Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
During this time people only really knew about the bad stuff that happened in the town where they lived. They didn't have to process every sordid detail of every politician or celebrity around the world.
We are not made to handle all the information, in the amount of detail we get, in the volume it's given to us. We are constantly made aware of every scary story that unfolds around the world, yet we aren't equipped nor do we have the ability to make most any of it better. I'm no psychiatrist, but it would make sense that this could play a role in the continuous rise in people experiencing depression and anxiety. We know too much now and cannot mentally process every bad scenario from all over the globe in real time. It's not how we are wired.
Even after watching the documentary, I don't dislike JFK. I've still think of him as a good president -- sucky husband, but good president. He's far from the only politician with a shady past. He just happens to be the example that got me thinking.
I'm wondering if the world is really that much worse off now or if it's that we just know more about it now.
I'd love for the media to band together, requesting each presidential candidate supply them with a document which includes two columns. In one column, the candidate would list what they are in favor of. On the other side they list what they oppose. Maybe the last page of the document could be a list of experience and references. That's all voters really need to know.
We don't need to know how much Hillary paid for her suit or if Donald's wife graduated from college or not. It's doesn't matter.
Since the media will likely never do this, we could at least help keep ourselves sane by turning off the TV more. Life hack, the hide feature on Facebook is a gem of a tool for frequent political ranters, bless their hearts. This feature has helped me continue to like people with loud opinions. It's not that I don't love them, it that I'm tired of seeing them jump and down while driving a real, live, living person's name and character into the dirt. I've not spoken to anyone yet who has read any of those posts and changed their political opinions anyway.
A friend of mine has a 5-year-old son, Asher, who has it all figured out. It's genius really. She recently asked him if he knew what it meant when she said she was going to vote. He replied, "Sort of." She went on to explain it to him by comparing it to how they choose which restaurant to go eat. He is number three out of four children in the family so he is used to this form of voting. He said, "Ok, I vote for Mexican (raises his hand like he's voting). My sister will vote Chick-Fil-A. Even if I do this (jumping up and down with his hand raised) and yell "Mexican! Mexican! Mexican!" she will won't change her mind. She's still going to vote Chick-Fil-A. So you should just raise your hand, say "Mexican" and vote."
Yes, Asher, EXACTLY!
We are in the homestretch of this election campaign season. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but as of today we still have to get through the avalanche of election talk everywhere we turn. I wish my friend's smarter-than-the-average-bear-cub's epiphany could be promoted alongside all of it to serve as a reminder to all of us that jumping up and down and screaming who we are going to vote for, doesn't change anything and only makes the person jumping exhausted.
It's only three months until it will all be finally decided on and done. We will be able to unhide our loved ones who drove us crazy on Facebook. The era of bumper stickers that say "Don't blame me, I voted Trump" and "Don't blame me, I voted Clinton" is just around the corner. Persevere my friends. Stay strong, we've almost made it through.
Let's take a lesson from my friend's wise little boy and vote. Nicely. Quietly and with consideration of others.
Feeling happy for the mack daddy, Mr. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, that he was alive during a time before the world wide web.