October 25, 2012

Publisher's Notebook: Voters’ minds already made up

By Willie Sawyers

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The political blather will increase ten fold the next two weeks approaching the November 6 election. But it won’t matter much. This presidential campaign has been going on for two years now and most people, like me, already have made up their minds up about who they are going to vote for.

People should realize they are wasting their time at this stage trying to sway others to their point of view. After watching three debates and thousands of political advertisements, voters surely have picked their candidate. So, the next thousand ads until the 6th will just be overkill.

I wish people would cease polluting my Facebook newsfeed with their political rants and their campaign shares. It’s amazing how quickly Facebook becomes infested with political rhetoric, especially after a debate, that is pushed out by Republican and Democratic operatives and passed along from one “friend” to another.

Some people on Facebook are so single minded and dedicated in their promotion of their candidate they should be put on the campaign payroll.

But it’s obvious the presidential election has tested Facebook friendships. A recent CNN article said that nearly one-fifth of people admit to blocking, unfriending or hiding someone on Facebook, Twitter or other social media because of their political postings.

For the most part, I have tolerated the political postings on Facebook because they represent a free and necessary exchange of ideas.

But I have ceased to become “friends” with several people who posted outright lies on their page or demonstrated a consistently hateful tone in their posts. It’s their page and they can’t post anything they want, but the beauty of Facebook is that I don’t have to listen to it.

I unfriended an individual Monday night who posted a photo of President Obama with yellow eyes and devil horns and insinuated he is the anti-Christ. Hate the candidate, fine, and don’t vote for him, but respect the office of the President of the United States.

Remember how the Dixie Chicks went to England and said they were embarrassed by the actions of President George W. Bush. They were vilified for not respecting the presidency and haven’t been heard from since. But, at least, they didn’t call him the devil.

What people on Facebook don’t realize is that their partisan postings are not swaying anyone. In fact, they may have the opposite effect by forcing others to solidify and defend their choice.

My column last week criticizing the candidacy of Albert Robinson for senator for the 21st District was not designed to sway voters. In fact, I’m sure it will have the opposite effect. People will defend Robinson and vote for him, that otherwise may not have bothered, just to show me a thing or two.

I normally don’t get involved in local elections but I’m upset at how the local Republican committee disenfranchised many voters by choosing a candidate, apparently in advance, that has a lot of baggage, brought embarrassment to Laurel County and was known as the worst legislator in Frankfort.

The committee members arbitrarily gave us a candidate that many Republicans, including myself, cannot and will not vote for. In the process, they created a senate race in a heavily-Republican district where traditionally there isn’t one.

But I’m sure my opinion doesn’t matter. People have already decided who they are going to vote for in the senate race and the presidential election.

That’s why I’ll be so glad when this long campaign is over, the hatefulness stops and we can be friends again.