Two more debates to go before the November presidential election. Political TV spots have become a dull, nagging roar. Viewers long ago learned to tune out most TV commercials, especially ones detailing the many medical side-effects of prescription drugs. While we watch a lust-filled couple walk off arm in arm for a jump in the sack, all made possible by a pill that raises sagging fortunes, we are simultaneously warned not to take the pill if any of a list of dire things happen including, god forbid, an erection lasting more than four hours. A truly schizophrenic message.
Night after night the 60 second medicine shows continue. We see pretty, happy, people taking pills that now let them clip flowers, run along the edge of the beach, and stare deeply into each another’s eyes, but the voice-over simultaneously warns of horrible side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, loss of consciousness, flatulence, jaundice and other unappetizing dinner hour images.
Americans have allowed these disturbing mixed messages into their homes without complaint, simply tuning out what they don’t want to see or hear. Political commercials have very little credibility or effectiveness today, and none offer a warning about elections lasting longer than 4 lifetimes. Some can cause vomiting, but again, there is no warning. Lies and out-of-context claims delivered in a Nancy Grace-style snarling voice-over are combined with jarring music and this is supposed to attract your vote. It has become a juvenile school lot shouting match and, indeed, invites one to tune it all out.
The two remaining live debates offer a last chance for a real candid exchange of ideas by McCain and Obama, and for listeners to submit their own questions in the Tuesday October 7th town hall style debate. Many will still only hear what they want to hear and will tune out the rest just as they do every other night as they watch TV. Maybe the debates should end with McCain, a grin on his face, running in slow motion down a beach into the sunset.