FreedomOfScreech

freedom-of-speech-1943.jpg!Large
Norman Rockwell: Freedom of Speech (1943)
© by Norman Rockwell under Fair Use
"I ain't buying anything promoted with screeches."

Maybe The Founders intended elections to deeply upset the public, lest we grow lax in our responsibilities as citizens. During election season, our much-vaunted freedom of speech seems to expand into what I might more reasonably insist seems more like FreedomOfScreech. The most fantastic fictions masquerade as facts while facts cower in corners until after ballots get counted. We claim that voting amounts to our sacred right, though we treat it with little reverence. The SOB who never once seemed interested in representing you or me suddenly seems redeemed, clothed in whatever raiment seems most appropriate to appeal to a divided electorate, while deliberately further dividing that electorate. My mute button gets overworked as the same misrepresentations appear as gospel. I wonder why that local television station agrees to carry that advertisement and they respond with vague references to civic duty, which seems more of an indenture to me. At least election season serves to dramatically reduce my television viewing.

I apparently inhabit a backwater of political discourse since I've seen blessed few of the ads.
I might inhabit an uninteresting demographic, one given up for lost by the most dramatic candidates. False equivalences abound and I feel astounded that many would buy into such obvious lies. The desperate candidates lose all reason and seem somehow proud to proclaim anything. Gullibility seems to peak as people I know to have been reasonable suddenly start speaking in uncouth screeches. Halloween comes early. Ghouls suddenly abound. Trick or trick seems the only game in town.

I've reduced my choices to the obvious. I once tried to vote for whomever might produce the most entertainment during their tenure, but I gratefully outgrew than practice. Now I vote for those who do not engage in the more unseemly electioneering practices, those who deign to commit public truths, a venial sin in some quarters. Those who insist upon trading in twee myths miss receiving my vote. The ones who wave the flag as if experiencing spiritual enlightenment seem bent. Those who insist that the very government they claim to want to represent is the source of all discontent only remind me of all our form of government does for us. Those who complain of their taxes, I insist, should try to learn to live earning much less, so taxes won't serve as such an obsession to them. Those with substantial capital gains hold no credible complaint about anything.

I imagine our democracy as the sort of place Norman Rockwell illustrated, where a common man might stand in a public meeting and humbly voice his opinion to appreciative opponents who seem willing to defend his right to speak in opposition, unto their own deaths. This image always a lie. I, for instance, have come to understand the necessity of playing my political opinions close to my vest, lest I receive a vehement knock upside my head. My stance might better represent reverence, as if voting actually were a sacred right. One dare not speak the name of their true god, and certainly not in public. Evangelists seem to damn themselves with their own irreverent insistences. Speak not to me of sacred rights but of humbling responsibilities. Do not try to sell any perspective to me. I ain't buying anything promoted with screeches. I do not sell my vote to anyone for any reason, particularly not during election season, for to do so seems tantamount to treason.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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