The story that mainstream media seeks to avoid is that story that tells the truth about average Americans and how they feel about their government.
Our fellow citizens, according to recently released surveys, aren’t anti-Republican, anti-Democrat or Obama-challenged. Americans are up to their necks in the muck of incompetence, partisanship, and self-service that now characterizes our national government. And they are just plain fed up.
The president’s approval rating is about 42 percent. More than 50 percent of all Americans want to rid their districts of incumbent congress members, and most think that both political parties are worthless. Considering that mid-term electioneering begins in just a few weeks for the 2014 cycle, the numbers are worth watching.
Obamacare feeds the fire along with the government shutdown and the general inability to get much of substance done without drama and pretense. People are just plain angry at their government. But will they do anything about it? And frankly why should they?
In an era of Internet communication, feelings of angst can be assuaged in seconds with the sending off of a pre-composed and targeted email containing pieties to calm the nerves of the most anxious constituent back home.
If you complain to your Congress member you get the email or even a letter. If you complain to your Senator ditto. If you complain to the president, who knows?
Simply put, we complain, and they narcotize us with mass communications, talk-show babble and smiles, and public appearances at home.
After all, if you start feeling better for just a moment, our incumbents figure, things will just subside and be healed forever by millions of dollars of paid advertisement funded by Washington special interests, coupled with Internet direct mail and telephone communications. And by the time Jane and John Doe have had their TV’s jammed with ads and their mailboxes stuffed with the remains of dead trees, all the worry in the world will be gone, incumbency will survive, and the world will be as it was before the anger appeared.
They likely have it wrong this time. The people who are waiting for real healthcare reform know they’ve been conned. The jobless figure that statistics are just that. And the young people wonder whether they will ever have enough to do anything the rest of us have been able to do.
So there you have it. Americans may be getting the joke: The voting booth only works when you throw all the bums out. And only if you do it often.
That means a lot of self-serving people who call themselves members of Congress might have to find other work come the end of 2014. It means they might also find out what it’s like when no one listens to you because you don’t have a fancy title.
They might learn too what health insurance really means when you have to find it, pay for it, and upkeep it. They might learn something. Because right now it doesn’t look like they’ve learned anything at all.
Hank Sheinkopf is an early creator of integrated strategic campaigns using all forms of media and has won national and international awards for his radio and TV productions. He is a veteran of more than 700 political, public policy, and public relations campaigns around the world. Read more reports from Hank Sheinkopf — Click Here Now.
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