Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Election Rant

Everyone is tired of hearing about the presidential election. I know I am. But I am frustrated too, for several reasons.

1. Once again, the media has stereotyped West Virginia as backwoods people with little education, low income, and oh let's not forget to mention, predominantly white. When did it become a problem to be a predominantly white state? I would bet Mississippians of both races feel the same about being noted as a predominantly African American state. Why does it matter what color we are? We're voters, plain and simple, and we have the right to make a choice.

The implication seems to be that since we're a mostly white state (94.9%), we must all be racist. Yet I didn't hear comments about the whiteness of Vermont (96.7% according to the US Census Office QuickFacts), or Maine (96.7%), or Idaho (95.2%). Why was race considered as a factor by the media in West Virginia (and North Carolina and probably a few others), but not in all states with skewed demographics?

And why is it okay for the media to make remarks like this? To me, it's discriminatory. Our votes were apparently unimportant because, well after all they're all dumb hillbillies who aren't educated and probably don't know to vote for the "right" candidate.

2. Who, in the media's opinion, is obviously Obama. He's a good man, and he's run a fantastic race. I may end up voting for him if he wins the party nomination. But the slant in his favor in the media is flagrant. The constant drone of "Hillary must drop out" that we hear day after day is meant to influence voters. When did the media stop reporting the news and begin trying to determine what the news will be? I find this trend alarming in the extreme.

The not-so-subtle message for West Virginians was "you might as well vote for Obama since Hillary is going to drop out anyway." When did the press take on the role of telling us who was going to win? Sure, poll after poll might indicate a candidate is in the lead; a candidate may move ahead in the voting in the primaries and become the obvious candidate. But the process, I thought, was that the actual candidate is selected at the convention. Which is still some time off.

3. And the rush to judgment is making West Virginians (and those in states who have not yet held primaries) feel that our votes are insignificant, that we don't count. "Oh well," analysts say, "Hillary won West Virginia but it doesn't matter."

Yes, it does. It matters to me and to everyone else who voted. We want our voice heard. Those still waiting to vote want their vote heard. Pundits decry the decline in voter turnout. Is it any wonder that people feel disenfranchised when we're told that the candidate is already chosen and our votes won't matter?

Amidst the cacophony of talking heads, West Virginians turned out in droves to cast votes. This even though we've heard for weeks that the Democratic candidate is really already chosen. We voted for the candidate we like, not the one we have been assured will be the one. We voted, even though the media repeated over and over that in the end our vote won't matter.

Maybe it's because we're stubborn mountaineers that we naively believe that our votes count, that we have a voice in this country. A small voice it might be, but it echoed loudly in these hills yesterday.



Well said! Ellouise

bluemountainmama said...

i felt the same... that by the time we got a chance to vote, the media already had "decided" who was going to win. it irks me. but i cast my vote for ron paul anyway. :) he's my pick, even though you hardly heard anything about him during the election and the media "announced" john mccain was going to be the republican candidate way before that was the case.

Granny Sue said...

Thanks, Ellouise and Blue.

blue, your point is a good one--no matter the party or politics, the media is inserting itself into the process too much. Anything can happen before the primary, and all candidates still in the field still have a chance until the conventions.

MK Stover said...

It matters to me, too. I already made it public (TC blog) knowledge that I voted for Hillary, so I'm not saying anything new here. However, I have to chime in and agree with you: I think it's a load of crap that the media keeps shoving Obama down our throats. It's scary, is what it is. The tougher the media makes it on Hillary, the more I like her - but that's probably one of those stubborn-backwoods hillbilly traits, though, huh?
We West Virginians spoke pretty loudly on Tuesday. It might be pretty smart for the rest of the country to listen rather than to belittle our voices.

and - John Edwards gave his official endorsement to Obama. I heard it on NPR this morning.
Bad, bad, bad....

MK Stover said...

Oh - I forgot - and I have to add:

I was ranting at the election returns on Tuesday night because I felt that they put WAY too much emphasis on our 'whiteness,' too.


Granny Sue said...

I hear you. My vote went to Hillary too--I have had few opportunities to vote for a woman in these top offices of government. She may not win but I wanted to make my vote count for her too.

That's not to discount the other candidates. I found things to like in Ron Paul, John McCain, John Edwards, and several others. What I want is fair, unbiased reporting that does not make subtle or not-so-sublte efforts to convince me one way or the other.

Doesn't seem like a lot to ask, but this year its been very hard to find.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was interesting that Edwards got 7% of WV. That tells me that 7% of WV would rather vote "None of the Above". I actually considered it myself. I also voted for the fairer Clinton. She will stand a better chance against McCain than Obama.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100%.

"The View" made me mad the next day...

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