Virginia is now a swing state. If you already live in a swing state, you know what this means, and you have no sympathy. If you have never lived in swing state you couldn’t care less. But this is my first election year in a swing state, and I am in hell.
I, as far as I can tell, am the first Tweeter to use the hashtags #JustHitMute and #BoycottCampaignAds. I developed the mantras during the 2010 mid-year elections. They currently serve me well. But nothing, not even Derecho-induced power outages, or Super Storm Sandy can insulate me from barrage of political ads. The dollar amounts being spent in Virginia are vast, roughly $131,000,000.00 to date, second only to Florida, and leaving Ohio (who, frankly, should be used to this by now) in third place. Christmas has come early for the local TV stations. They are the only ones happy about this. The Washington Post has a nifty web page that clearly illustrates where the ad money is being spent.
I find it all quite nauseating, and not just because I have worn out the mute button on no fewer than three remote controls. Can you imagine how many hungry people this kind of money could feed? According to the folks at No Kid Hungry -- Share Our Strength, every dollar helps connect a kid with up to 10 meals. $131million could buy a lot of mac & cheese, and properly nourishing our future leaders feels like a better way to spend the money. Beyond feeling that the money could be better expended, I can’t help wondering what it says about us as a nation, this notion that the best man for the job has to outspend his opponent in TV ad dollars? Are we so shallow that we actually make our choice based on a TV ad? Do politicians really think that commercials are the only message to which We the People will respond? Really? I’m insulted.
I’d vote early, but it wouldn’t end the commercials. God bless the United States of America.