Thursday, July 19, 2012

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…

It’s easy to know we’re in the midst of summer.  It’s not because of the record temperatures and humidity scorching the bulk of the U.S.  Just look at what’s playing at the local Cineplex.  The Avengers teamed four superheroes together to launch the popcorn movie season in May.  A few weeks back a reimagined Spiderman opened.  This weekend Batman is on the agenda topping the weeklong ComicCon in San Diego that saw dozens more crusaders coming to the big screen in the next few years.

Mythical superheroes got their start in 1938 with Superman.  There have been scores since, with a variety of powers, affectations and costumes – but all with the commonality of a strong moral code to make a difference in their communities and the world.  The ability to effortlessly solve massive problems or rid the world of evil inspires.  They’re also a lot of fun.
Superheroes are a cash machine as well – with comic franchises worth billions of dollars.  This money is generated because people from all walks of life, all socio-economic positions are drawn to the universal excitement of the good versus evil stories. 
It’s not too much of a stretch to look at the political climate through the same spectrum.  The stark division of good and evil is drawn by the leading candidates.  Solve complex entrenched problems by a single vote!  Romney-man or Super-Obama to the rescue.  Winning has become the barometer of success.
The media coverage of politics as a sporting event is not a novel observation.  Lots of the terminology is similar:  – who’s up, who’s down  – watching poll numbers as one analyzes batting averages.  Even the Democrats versus Republicans has vestiges of rivalries like the Celtics against the Lakers or the Yankees and Red Sox.

The result of politics being communicated to the electorate as a game or a cartoon minimizes the stature that public service should have.  Donning my Aaron Sorken hat and standing on my soapbox – representing our fellow citizens on the important issues of the day matters.  There are grand public policy considerations and history to consider certainly.  More importantly, though, is the day to day impact on the people.
·       8.2% is the official unemployment rate.  The unofficial count puts 30 million Americans out of work or underemployed.
·       $16 trillion is the current U.S. debt load – with trillions more in unfunded liabilities sitting there.  The U.S. spends $1.43 for every $1 it brings in is simply not sustainable.
·       Americans are dying in military conflicts around the world that the Congress never authorized.
I enjoy going to the movies and seeing good triumph over evil.  I can get caught up in the minutiae of changing opinions like anybody else.  I also rigorously distinguish these escapist ways with the reality that my beloved America is in some serious need of saving.  The issues are epic but don’t require a superhero to solve them.  The best way that this can happen is for voters to educate themselves and divorce policy from personality.  Now that’s a movie worth watching.

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