I’d like to think we’re smarter than that

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham
newdominion@ntelos.net

I’ve just about had it with watching political rallies and big speeches on TV and that kind of thing.

“O-bah-ma! O-bah-ma! O-bah-ma!”

“Mac is back! Mac is back! Mac is …”

Seriously, we’re supposed to be dumb enough to believe that these are spontaneous bursts of elation from random people off the streets who are so moved by the moment that they break out in English soccer-like song?

I dunno – reminds me more of those propaganda movies in the ’30s that Hitler used to put out to show how revered he was in the Motherland.

I’ve seen these kinds of things close up, so I know how they’re choreographed. I attend the Labor Day parade in the Shenandoah Valley town of Buena Vista every year, and in 2005, the annual unofficial kickoff to the fall campaign season in Virginia took an interesting turn from my perspective.

I made my way to the pavilion shelter where the candidates for statewide office were to gather after the parade to speechify and all, and what did I see but masses of high-school and college-age kids in khakis and dress shirts and ties and the like being assembled in front of the stage by what appeared to be handlers who were organized enough to have brought signs along for the occasion.

When the candidates made their appearances on stage, then, depending on which side the person represented, Democrat or Republican, the kids wearing blue would stand and cheer every predetermined applause line, or the other side would.

I also remember following around another statewide candidate at the Rockbridge County Fair and remarking how his campaign had arranged to have college kids walk around with him holding up huge signs with his name on them in a scene that looked like something out of Monty Python.

This kind of thing reminds me of what I hate about sports – the hype, the fake drama.

I want the meat and the potatoes – you can keep the garnish, thanks.

Can we ever get things back to that way of doing things?

Come to think of it, was that ever the way we did things?

Again, I dunno.


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