Idealism, Responsibility & Compunction: The Art of Constructing Our Political Narratives


I understand the thought process behind a piece like Clay Shirky’s “There’s No Such Thing As A Protest Vote”. I’d like to offer a different perspective. I chose to focus on Shirky’s piece because I believe it accurately reflects a particular perspective that is out there and the article itself is currently being shared extensively on social media and elsewhere as a school of thought some people are connecting with.

I think Shirky’s viewpoint runs the danger of functioning as a narrative for those who want to feel irreproachable in their voting decision by making any other voting choices or perspectives ineffective, irresponsible, and/or a sign of weakness. Shirky’s insistence that “Presidential voting is an exercise in distinguishing the lesser of two evils. Making that choice is all that’s asked of us, and all that’s on offer” can be seen as one example of a school of thought that indirectly (or even directly) stifles political change. It most certainly can be argued that it stifles progress.

Shirky sees only three options in voting this election (or any other):

A. I prefer Donald Trump be President, rather than Hillary Clinton.

B. I prefer Hillary Clinton be President, rather than Donald Trump.

C. Whatever everybody else decides is OK with me.

Continue reading “Idealism, Responsibility & Compunction: The Art of Constructing Our Political Narratives”

Idealism, Responsibility & Compunction: The Art of Constructing Our Political Narratives

The Embarrassment Of John McCain

Less than 24 hours after the debate, John McCain shows us exactly what he has become: a man so desperate, he can not be trusted or believed. What balls it takes to go on national TV, accuse your opponent of dirty campaigning and negative ads, while most members of the press AND members of your own party believe you yourself have taken negative campaigning to new lows in American politics. Then to play “hurt” and “shocked” that someone compared you to an ugly time in American History, while your campaign is wildly proclaiming your opponent “palls around with terrorists.”  Then–here’s where it REALLY starts to show McCain’s true colors–you say you don’t care about a “washed-up terrorist”, you are slammed down by Barack Obama who explains nationally his “association” with Bill Ayers, and then in less than 24 hours, your campaign is robocalling people in Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, West Virginia, Maine, Georgia and Minnesota telling people that they “need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans. Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington”.

Wow. Your campaign has become a sickness, Mr. McCain. You do not appear to have any pride left. Any decency. Not any more. It seems the maverick has sold his soul to the devil. And for what? Public embarrassment? Humiliation? Becoming the poster-boy for inappropriate behavior and all that is despicable in American politics?

Here’s audio of the call. And SHAME ON YOU, Mr. McCain. You embarrass us all:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

It should also be noted that it is very likely this calling campaign may actually be in violation of Minnesota State Law. As Shaun Dakin, CEO & Founder of the National Political Do Not Contact Registry, explains:

“Most robocalls are supposed to have two things, “paid for by X” and a phone number of the group making the call. Most do that. Now, that being said, there are some states that have their own robocall laws and they are much stricter. Minnesota pretty much bans robocalls entirely unless they are introduced by a human voice. And that pretty much never happens because it defeats the point.”

Addendum: It looks like the robocalling firm McCain is using here is the St. Paul-based firm FLS-Connect, run by prominent GOP figure Jeff Larson. This is the same firm that helped George W. Bush smear John McCain in the 2000 election during the now-famous South Carolina primary. McCain, at the time, spoke out against robocalling and termed them “hate calls.” 

The Embarrassment Of John McCain