What picture does “Amercia” paint for you? After, I get past playing the sounds-like and word association games – side effects may include: dementia, inertia,… — I imagine it as a place where everyone gets a picket fence whether they want one or not, a steady ration of sunny days with clear blue skies, and a pony. Everyone definitely gets a pony. Don’t worry, if you happen to move to Amercia too late to get a pony I’ll give you mine. My family has seven horses and sadly I don’t get enough time with what we’ve already got. However, if it’s unicorns that Amercia is handing out, then I’m sorry I don’t have one of those yet, so I can’t give you mine if that’s the way things play out.
Unless you were under a rock, you couldn’t have missed the “with Romney, A Better AMERCIA” mobile app. You might’ve missed the initial roll-out, but more than likely not the backlash and hilarity (thank you Stephen Colbert) that ensued. Truth be told, by day two I was a little tired of hearing about it. Ok. A lot tired of it. So, I apologize for extending the life of this topic further for the length of this entry.
Very rarely do I discuss politics with anyone. I’m not afraid to express what I believe in, and can usually see anyone’s point in anything including politics, but I also feel that politics is one of those areas like religion where it’s ok if we all don’t feel the same way. In fact, we’re all different people with different upbringings and life experiences. What’s right for you may not be right for everyone else. I respect that, but in all honesty I don’t want to listen to you rant about it for three hours. Even civilized conversations on this subject last about 1.5 hours minimum.
I myself am not one-hundred percent supportive of any one party as I support the right person for the job or the right proposed solutions for the current dilemmas/crisis being faced at the time. With that said, I have until this point identified most with the democratic and liberal systems and don’t foresee myself falling in line with the overall somewhat dated Republican point-of-view anytime soon.
In this country, we are all lucky enough to have the ability to choose what party we affiliate ourselves with. Not only that, but also have the choice of switching to a different party a week later should we experience any vacillation, or should you find out that there aren’t enough perks with being associated with that party in this “what’s in it for me?” day in age, without experiencing any repercussions.
In addition, another perk of living in this country is that our fore-father’s votes and political orientations no longer (if they ever did) bear any weight on what our vote must be. For the most part we are free to make our own political choice. Although, I am aware that even to this day there are still certain parts of the country where families stand united in their, at times backwards and head-scratch inducing, political beliefs. However, we can only hope that those pockets of uninformed citizens will one day choose something other than the “Deliverance” banjos as their soundtrack of choice.
When all is said and done we are all born with and to our dying day have the option of being influenced.
And influenced we are. By friends, by colleagues, by public figure, in short we’re influenced primarily by people we respect . Many a time those people we respect have also shown us, even if it’s in a general non-personal way, that they respect us as well.
Which is why I was actually really annoyed by this typo from the Romney camp, I understand that to him a mobile app is just another way– perhaps not so significant—to reach additional potential voters. I also understand that it could’ve been an intern or a low-level clerk running on fumes responsible for the deployment of this app.
Regardless, what it showed was a lack of detail and lack of quality control and if that’s the example that this camp wanted to set or the way it wants to represent a country that already has much reputation to re-gain then I can’t get behind that. Not that they really had a shot, but there went their chance at having any sort of influence over me.
Actually, that typo didn’t bother me half as much as the fact that they didn’t think a Mobile App was important enough to spell check or to put through a series of approvals prior to going live. I could plug in a multitude of statistics and case study findings as to why mobile platforms are becoming increasingly more and more important than their online counterparts. However, you don’t need me to put you through that. Throughout your day, just take a look around and you’ll easily spot exhibits A- Z that support this statement as we all walk around playing with our phones for the majority of our day. Bottom line, the fact that this happened was more troubling than amusing as it clearly shows that once again those in power or potential power are missing the mark and not at all connected with reality and what’s happening in the world around them.
A world they’re trying to influence and capture the attention of. A world they say they want to better or fix, but how does regressing to cave drawings as forms of communication show progress. They need to learn to speak the language before they can communicate. If this would’ve happened with the Obama camp I would still feel the same way.
It used to be long ago that a person came into the presidential office by really knowing what the country needed and by proving themselves for years and years. They had to lead troops in battle and were to a certain degree in the line of fire with the other ordinary citizens facing many of the same issues. That hasn’t been a pre-requisite for a long long time. I know a disconnect has happened from that position of authority to the rest of the world, but with that being said those who go after the not-so-coveted position of President also have, to put it mildly, all of the tools in the world to re-create the current state of a country they want to serve, what they choose to extract as important from that re-creation and what they let fall by the wayside is perhaps what we should be paying attention to, unless we lived in AMERCIA. There such things wouldn’t worry us, we’d be too busy enjoying our blue skies and unicorns.
Last week one of my best friends got married and he asked me to speak. He asked me a few weeks before the wedding and I, having had a few whiskeys in me and having played a few terrible rounds of pinball, didn’t hesitate. I wrote a draft of what I was going to say but knew I wasn’t going to revise it at all or look at it more than once.
I had bullet points memorized. The time we went tagging and his brother almost died. Our intricate drawings of alien-reptillian genitalia (I only say “our” to communalize my embarrassment). My bullet points were reserved for stories like that. I didn’t plan to be up there for longer than a pre-Revolver Beatles’ song. The bride’s speaker went first. He was a very articulate gay man.
He introduced himself, “Hi. I am so-and-so and I’ve known so-and-so since we were in elementary school. I am a writer so I wrote my speech down.” Then he pulled out his 32 page speech with footnotes. I immediately ordered four drinks and took off my shoes (my toes are long enough to hold bottlenecks comfortably).
Two hours later it was my turn to speak and I did the normal hello and what’s my name and all that jazz. I skipped the part about alien dicks that controlled the one world government. I didn’t skip our brush with death.
There were scattered laughs. I looked at my feet a lot.
I retold the time I met my friend’s wife for the first time and mentioned that she had a political bumper sticker on her car. I didn’t mention the political party because it was a wedding and even though I had never been to a wedding in my adult life, I had seen enough movies to know that they are breeding ground for familial political hatred. I mentioned I lived in Texas some time during my two and half minutes.
After I threw the microphone in the pool some guy came up to me and said, “So what was with all that political shit you said? You seemed really radical. Can I ask you what political party you are?”
About half a second of my speech was dedicated to being ambiguous about politics.
“Me? Radical? I recall not saying it to avoid exactly this situation.”
“You said you were from Texas and you made a big deal about not saying what the bumper sticker said.”
He was getting really close to me and his breath smelled like what most human breath smells like. Nothing really special. Thought I’d clear that up.
I turned the tables on him.
“What about you? What are you?” I asked.
“I’m an anti-war Democrat.”
“Well, I consider myself a pretty liberal guy, nice to meet you,” and I walked out.
I think I avoided what would have been a fight with an aggressive pacifist at my best friend’s wedding.
Sometimes it’s best to just tell people what a bumper sticker you saw three years ago said. It said OBAMA-BIDEN 2008.
It was very important to this man.
Andrew Hilbert is a recently displaced Southern Californian living in San Antonio, TX. He will be sharing the adventures he encounters in his new habitat via his column Real Gone (to be published monthly on the second Monday of each month here on intraffik.com) He still wears his Dodgers hat and argues passionately against Spurs fans. He is one of three founders of art/poetry magazine Beggars & Cheeseburgers. One day he will own a llama or three.