The tent needs to hold more of the circus
By TIM WEST firstname.lastname@example.org November 15, 2012 10:40PM
Updated: December 19, 2012 11:15AM
Now that the election finally is all over, one thing that pretty much everyone agrees on is that the constant flood of attack ads on television and radio are obnoxious, uncalled for and pretty much about enough to make you throw a shoe through the television screen and yell “a pox on both your houses.”
That last would only be true of people who know what a pox is.
The rest of the country could holler “a Kardashian on both your houses” and be equally correct.
After months of watching Congressional candidates savage one another at each and every commercial break from whatever lame television program I was viewing at the time, I was thankful that I don’t live in a battleground state.
In September, my wife and I were in Cincinnati for a couple of days, and during the rare times we had the television set on in our hotel room, we saw Romney and Obama ads one after another. Most states, including Illinois, were spared that.
Conventional wisdom is that politicians use attack ads because they work, but I would question that, particularly this year.
If nothing else, they seem to be most effective at draining the pockets of billionaires and those corporations that are people, too.
As for effectiveness, getting to draw the map after the census would seem to work better than spending a ton of money.
And having a tent that is big enough to include women, ethnic minorities and gays would also seem to make sense, especially if the other side of the coin is doing everything possible to alienate those demographics.
It just seems to be logical that a party platform and message that would be inclusive to as many people as possible would be the way to go as opposed to, say, trying to limit the number of people who can vote to just the ones who you think are going to vote for you.
And even then, every old, white, male, gun-loving, Christian is not going to cast a ballot for the GOP candidate just as every young, African-American, female is not going to vote Democratic.
But reaching out has just got to be a better policy, especially in a demographically changing America, than working to make the tent as small as possible.
It may be more soothing for a losing candidate to console himself by saying he lost because the voting machines were rigged, his opponent lied about him, Hurricane Sandy was staged by the Democrats, and the people who voted for his opponent just want “free stuff” as opposed to considering that just maybe his message didn’t resonate with enough voters.
Some conservatives are now deluding themselves into thinking that Mitt Romney lost because he wasn’t conservative enough.
From election smoke
to Yuletide train
As a once upon a time railroad buff, I feel it is my duty to inform you of Morton Arboretum’s annual Enchanted Railroad display, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 23 through Jan. 6 (with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) at the arboretum off Route 53 in Lisle.
The Enchanted Railroad is an indoor model train exhibit that is put on by the LGB Model Railroad Club of Chicago.
The operating exhibit has been staged every year since 2001 and though it is aimed primarily at the kid set, it’s fun to watch for us older railfans as well.
My wife and I have attended most years, and it is very well designed, with good settings as well as trains.
According to an arboretum press release more than 20,000 people visited the exhibit last year. Tickets are handed out on a stamped time basis in the arboretum’s visitor center.
Admission to the Enchanted Railroad is free along with paid admission to the arboretum.
For more information, call 630-719-2400 or go to the arboretum’s website at www.mortonarb.org.