I’m being silly, but indulge me here as I veer off into the realm of fantasy. Not *that* kind of fantasy, but the world from a Martian’s perspective.
Say we’re explorers from Mars sent to Washington D.C., in human form, in the year 2007.
What would be our conclusions about American politics were we to come down fresh, understanding very little of the political system?
We would understand immediately that there are purported to be ‘two sides’ (the validity of which is up for debate), and the two sides are represented by colors and animals–red or blue, elephant or donkey.
There are also a few fringe sects, marginalized by the craziness of their philosophies, who angrily disagree with both the reds and the blues.
So these are the two realistic options. Third or fourth candidates are not allowed to compete, really. They have “no chance of winning” or there’s the fear that the third party will take votes away from “real” candidates.
So the red and the blue appear to really dislike each other, but they’re two sides of the same coin, always in line to keep out the fringe and so they have some common interests.
Then things start to get good. . .
They have an even bigger common enemy: the media. The media supposedly reports the activities of both sides so they make more money from advertisers.
‘The Media’ claims to be unbiased, but it isn’t true. They are loyal to whomever is in power and whomever owns the media outlet.
What’s even more exciting for us explorers to discover is that there are even more enemies these two sides have.
Prostitutes. Most recently Louisiana Senator David Vitters who gives an awful lot of lip service to abstinence only sex ed, was identified by the DC madam and the Canal Street Madam as being a client.
Under aged boys. Uh oh. US Representative Mark Foley, crusader against child abuse and exploitation, became child abuser and exploiter when it came to light that he had a bit of a taste for Congressional pages.
Women. Specifically wanton women. There was this one time, the woman was wearing a blue dress. He liked cigars. . . . At least Bill Clinton had the sense to make sure the woman was over the age of consent.
Other noteworthy enemies include. . .
Closeted homosexuality. This has turned out to plague a number of people lately. There’s Larry Craig and the foot tapping incident (“misunderstanding”). And Democratic Governor of New Jersey Jim McGreevey. At least he’s no longer in the closet.
Extramarital affairs. The list is too long. And really, is this even an issue people care about anymore?
Women who don’t want to be groped. (CA Gov. Terminator).
There are plenty of other enemies. Crack cocaine (Marion Barry), voter fraud, blah, blah, blah. Actually, voter fraud is only a problem for the big loser, not the fake winner.
Blue, red, elephant, donkey, they seem to want to make all the laws and then break them.
In our research as Martian anthropologists, we’d have to conclude that some form of perversion or criminal record is mandatory for political candidates.
We’d also have to conclude that the non-politicians, the ones who vote (or don’t vote), have such a short attention span that really, it doesn’t much matter. It’s football season and there’s a new season of “The Biggest Loser” and it’s back to school time and the kids need new backpacks. And before you know it, it’s the holidays again.
Jumping into this little fantasy world sometimes gives us a fresh perspective. It’s all about framing. Putting a new lens on life.
Try it with your life and your persuasion. See how it goes. Tell others about it, tell me about it on this blog. Create a discussion, invite your friends and colleagues to join the discussion here. Lord knows we need to step back from the craziness every once in a while and talk to each other intelligently about what we observe.