The broccoli campaign


We have met the enemy, and it is us

Pogo had it right: we are our own worst enemy. We are in the midst of a crucial presidential campaign, facing issues of war and peace, economic prosperity or ruin, staggering budget deficits, health care costs that soar unrestrained, and so on — things that affect the well-being and security of us all.

And yet, consider this exchange from one of W's "Ask President Bush" campaign events:

"Do you like broccoli?" inquired a citizen interlocutor.

"I'm not nearly as turned off by it as my dad is," answered the president and commander in chief. (NY Times, 5-Sep-04))

It's wrong, all wrong!

W wages his campaign before carefully screened and friendly audiences at by-invitation-only venues. No dissent is allowed. At one recent event, a woman was ejected from the audience for carrying — not wearing, just carrying — a t-shirt with a pro-choice message. At another, attendees were required to sign a loyalty oath before gaining admission.

So first of all, shame on the press for reporting on these events and showing audience reaction as if it were real.

Second of all, shame on W for being such a girlie man (to quote our governor) and hiding inside his bubble instead of mixing it up in the hurly-burly of a real campaign stop.

Third of all, shame on us for not demanding real debate about real issues, for not answering slogans with the only proper response: "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

Democracy is at risk, and it's our own fault.