People Still Vote

Is it just me?

Am I getting jaded? Fed up? Bored?

And no, it’s not life that’s getting to me – that’s just fine, thank you – LOL!!!!

It’s the elections in the United States (sorry for being partisan) that I find tiring. But truthfully, as one who loves to follow these things globally, I sense the same in most democratic countries (not to mention the comic book proceedings in the non).

To be clear, it’s not the democratic process that I find exhausting – on the contrary, the democracy part – when and where it works – is still the best there is.

What I find draining is what we have made of it – and worse, what we have allowed our candidates to become. And maybe worst of all is how we have pretended that the digital age has changed it all – and we use democracy as the cover.

I think what brought this all to a head was the recent first debate between the two US presidential candidates.

Did you watch it? Read about it? See key snippets on YouTube or elsewhere?

For all the lead-up hype, for all the commentary and tweeting (most ever to date for a political event – but what isn’t the most ever to date…on Twitter?), for all the punditry and deep analysis – it seems to me to boil down to who was less bad in delivery and who had listened more to their media trainers.

In the US, we seem to feel there was a clear winner – and maybe by the rules of that particular engagement there was – but the way I see it, the winning was around style and not around substance – sort of like the Winter Olympics skating competition where the technical and freestyle are two different events.

And I’m hard-pressed to see what the digital effect was – particularly when the last US election was touted as having been decided by the brilliant use of digital channels by the Obama campaign (and there was some really clever usage for fund-raising and communication – some of which won Titanium at the Cannes Creative Festival). But today that same campaign machine is pouring tens of millions of dollars and more into – shudder – TV (whatever that means) and there is little talk of any millennial or other buzzword power giving anyone a winning edge.

Here is my take – the digital exponential force is always at work today – it’s a given – meaning that whatever we do gets digital power or amplification because it’s what we do. The problem is that somehow we have imbued digital magic – like shamanism – into the process and somehow think that a candidate will emerge from the mire like some great FX fantasy movie.

To me it seems that once again we confuse real life with digital – we mix up what is with what we hype – we lose the true magic because we make it mundane.

Bottom line – may the best candidate win, anywhere in the world – and may they all understand that at the end of the day it’s not the Twitter feed that ultimately decides – it’s the quality – because at the end of the day if the product isn’t good the digital exponential will take it down even faster than it brought it up.

And to continue my beginning cynicism I share the following…listen:

“If God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.” Jay Leno

So there you have it – I only point out that we fly because we made great wings – so we can vote – we just have to make great candidates.

What do you think?

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