May 3, 2004
BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
I've never tried to influence anyone's vote before, but the on-going attack on America has been so successful that I've become active. If Bush gets elected or appointed to a second term I think America will face almost complete destruction at his hands. In talking with four people and hearing about a fifth, all but one of whom were Bush voters, I've had moderate success but discovered that I lacked some critical tools.
1. The Non-Voter
She has been uninterested in politics and, at age 27, has never voted. She has been subject to a constant stream of one-liners from a very pro-Bush boss. I've corrected that misinformation over time and she is now irritated enough to vote for "anyone but Bush." But she doesn't know how to register to vote. She figured it was too late but asked me how to do it and I said it wasn't too late but had no answer on where to go. She is also, as a first-timer, intimidated by the process of voting, afraid she'll do it wrong, look stupid, or make a mistake that invalidates her ballot. She asked if she could just vote for Kerry and not vote for all the other candidates about whom she knows nothing. I was pretty sure she could, but couldn't say for sure. It struck me that there are millions of people like her, and that a small bit of education and a voter registration drive could change the regime. I need to get a little education, too.
2. The Bush Voter
He voted for Bush last time and may have been enthusiastic then but doesn't seem to be now, though he said he will probably vote for Bush again, if even more reluctantly. His reason was taxes. He had lately come to dislike the way Bush was handling Iraq and the economy, and had lately begun to think that the invasion of Iraq hurt the war on terrorism by misdirecting resources. But he hated taxes enough to still be a reluctant Bush voter. A clear and repeated statement by Sen. Kerry to eliminate the tax breaks for multi-millionaires, stop tax dodging by opening a post office box in Bermuda, and give some of the tax breaks to the payroll tax would do the trick. The phrase I used was "Tax unearned income, lower taxes on income people earn by working." (And Sen. Kerry is NOT vulnerable because he's rich. Because he's rich he knows.)
3. The Fox Guy He loved Fox.
The invective and attacks were hilarious and enjoyable to him. He especially hated Hillary Clinton but couldn't really say why. He thought Rush Limbaugh, who he claimed he "hardly ever listened to" but quoted all the time, hit the nail on the head. Bush, he said, might not be the brightest bulb in the box, but he was exactly what we needed in war time. Democrats were too wishy-washy, too big government, and liars.
I emailed him lots of things but nothing hit home with him. Until the study that showed Fox News listeners thought, wrongly, that the 9-11 hijackers were Iraqis and that Saddam Hussein was behind 9-11. He called immediately to say he never had bought the idea that the hijackers were Iraqis but said he had thought Saddam was behind it. Now he didn't. He said it appeared maybe Fox did have an agenda and maybe wasn't so reliable. A week later I emailed him the Bush Resume I found on BuzzFlash.com. He stopped talking politics. When no Weapons of Mass Destruction were found he started talking against Bush. Then about how bad Fox News is and said, vehemently, that Bush is the most dangerous president in history. He said he'd vote for any third party candidate. Now he says he likes Nader but he's going to vote for Kerry because that's the only way to get "that maniac out of office." Every few days he blows up about how evil George Bush is.
4. The Talk Radio Lady
She's a widow, retired and a neighbor, and her main companions are talk radio and cable television. Unable to do some things, I help out. She brought up something she'd heard Michael Savage say that alarmed her and I set her straight. That led to a discussion and she sat there open-mouthed. "I've never heard those things before," she said. She was astounded and shocked. "Well, I couldn't vote for Kerry." "Why not?" " He's a flip-flopper." "No, he's not. Bush is the flip-flopper. I'm sure there's a web site or book with all of Bush's flip-flops, while almost all the ones the Republicans accuse Kerry of never happened." She assumed that because she heard things over and over on the radio and TV that they must be true. "How do you know all those things? I never heard them," she said. I told her why, I explained Fox, talk radio, and Bush and promised to bring her some literature. I've got all the books and I've saved hundreds, probably over a thousand, articles off the web since I got interested in politics during the Starr Scandals, but I couldn't find anything to give her. It all required some background knowledge and explanations of things referenced. There was no starter kit. Even the Al Franken and Michael Moore books, the best for the average uninformed person, were a little too much. I ended up giving her the Bush Resume (which desperately needs updating). She was shocked and is re-evaluating Fox and talk radio, but has no other "companions" to take their place. There's a serious need for a basic, clear, short paperback book for the totally uninformed.
5. Friend of Fox Guy
She's a neighbor of Fox Guy and when visiting said how lucky we were to have "President Bush" in office. Her husband is full-time National Guard. Fox Guy blew up and told her Bush was destroying the country and probably the world, that he was treating veterans like crap, that he went to war with Iraq to increase terrorism so he could stay in power, revenge his Daddy, and get the oil for his buddies. She didn't believe him. He called me for articles or books that he could give her. "She barely knows there are two parties," he told me, "so it has to be really simple with no big words." I searched my database of articles for hours. Good stuff, if you're already fairly well informed or have a college education, but nothing I could give him to give her. He hadn't kept the Bush Resume and asked me for that. I sent it and he gave it to her. She's waiting for her husband to get back to discuss it with him.
Bob McDonald, Philadelphia
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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