Both Mitt and Barack are competing for very few undecided voters, in very few swing states, very few of whom are listening. And yet the media is saturated with horse race commentary, punditry, biting advertising, and incessant blah, blah, blah. It could be accurately said that the ones who are listening are unaffected by what they hear, they just like to listen; it is the persuadable are largely unreachable. The very, very small portion of uncommitted, open minded listeners is minute indeed. The campaigns and the press must have to turn over a lot of rocks to find them, given that ranting is not conducive to thoughtfulness; it is more the realm of the opinionated.
So, the majority is a collection of the quiet. Most of them are settled into their political perspective, though they dutifully watch the national debate. I think most people want a calm life. Regardless of where on the political spectrum lies their view, or if they should have any strong opinion at all, these people seek peace in their routine and relative control of their lives. Clearly, these are not the people that will inspire good media ratings. They are who Nixon referred to as the silent majority.
The volume of the ranting, especially from the right has no doubt influenced the tone and content of the national debate. All of this fuss has left the silent majority behind. Paul Ryan’s “Fuss Budget,” as per the New York Times got way more attention than budgets that came from the middle. The Tea Party in general has lit up and is attempting to take over the Republican Party. We must wonder about the nature of the Silent Majority; how big are they any more, and what do they have to say about the direction the country should go? In Texas, the silent majority did not speak very loudly, as many raised our eyebrows at Ted Cruze’ recent primary victory. I am confident that Texas has too many Republicans to give the Democrat challenger Paul Sadler a chance this November. Texas’ Silent Majority are still largely Republicans.
It’s the noise that these extremists make that bothers me the most. Evidently, they vote enough to be counted. And Lord knows, they bloviate on enough to be heard. And their spanner-in-the-works actions have produced some pretty sad and detrimental results. Congress can’t get anything done. The hyper-partisan stalemate makes a difficult economy worse. As the cliché we heard from everyone’s teacher goes, the bad behavior of a few has ruined it for the rest of us. I feel for Mitt Romney. His party anointed him partly for his supposed ability to negotiate fractured and corrupted situations. Assuming he has any core personal integrity, the whining in his party has overshadowed his chances at generating any unity. And like spoiled children in public, these rude noisemakers have not been disciplined adequately by any responsible leadership, and they have placed the general public order in a mess. It is fair and accurate to say that most of any shortcomings of the Obama administration can be blamed on the Tea Party.
The only solution to this is an energized whole electorate. We can ignore the din of rightist media. We can even outlast the bile we overhear on street corners. Crazy people, though they are wrong, have a right to exist. There are places for them, just Not in My Back Yard. The Silent Majority must – at the very least – get to the polls. For the sake of the economy and the sanity of the rest of us, I really hope we see calm on the horizon. Vote, thinking people, vote.