Area Man Braces For Flood Of Uninformed Political Opinions
Seeing a flurry of recent commercials on television referencing the upcoming U.S. presidential election, such as the "debates" between the presidents of two well-known beer companies, has reminded local man Charlie Chamberlain of an unpleasant phenomenon he must prepare for, as he does every four years: a sudden outpouring of "groundless, often ridiculous" political opinions from those around him.
Chamberlain, an office worker who is interested in politics regardless of whether or not an election is being held, goes through most of his life quietly digesting and absorbing various political information without the input of most of those around him, who simply don't take an interest. But every four years, he says, those who are traditionally silent about politics suddenly become "armchair experts".
"It's like, just because there's an election going on, suddenly every Joe Shmoe at the office thinks he knows which guy should win, which guy will win, and why," Chamberlain said, rolling his eyes. "It can become pretty unbearable, and it's starting to kick into high gear already."
Chamberlain received what he considers to be the first "dumbass opinion" of the season earlier this week, when a coworker asked him if he would be voting for George W. Bush or "Jim Kurry".
"He said to me, 'It's a tough choice, since Bush's dad used to be the President, which is a big thing to a lot of voters,'" Chamberlain recalled, wincing. "'On the other hand, Jim Kurry is a World War II veteran, which is bound to pull some people in, especially around Memorial Day.'"
"Jesus Christ," he added wearily, "the first one and it's already a doozy."
Others, like coworker Debbie Jenson, often confuse actual relevant political issues with facts that are false, inaccurate, or even completely made up in their own minds, says Chamberlain.
"Debbie said to me, 'George W. Bush has just really made a mess of Iraq,' which did give me a brief glimmer of hope," Chamberlain said. "Of course, she followed that up with, 'He should never have gave them an interim government -- now they raised their oil prices to screw us over.'"
Jenson continued, as Chamberlain left the room in order to avoid "drastic physical action", "Sure, we captured Saddam Hussein, but Osama bin Laden is still out there, leading the country as Hussein's vice-president!"
Chamberlain reports that the misguided opinions come from both Republicans and Democrats, although most are actually neither one, since they don't understand what it means to belong to either party.
"I'm a registered Republican, but I'll vote for Bush if I have to," Chamberlain's mother reportedly told him, while his brother, a registered Democrat, maintained that Kerry was "much too liberal" and would probably "slightly reduce tax breaks for the rich and uphold certain statutes of gay unions."
"That man [Kerry] is a damned tree-hugger," Chamberlain's brother added sourly, while bizarrely adding that third-party consumerist advocate candidate Ralph Nader seemed like "a more reasonable choice."
Even worse, Chamberlain added, are those who claim that they are abstaining from voting because of dislike for the candidates, when in actuality they know very little details about them.
"My neighbor told me that he wouldn't be voting this year because there was no real choice on the ballot," Chamberlain said. "When I asked him what he meant, he shook his head and laughed, and called me 'naive', saying that 'politicians are crooks'."
Similar to those like Chamberlain's neighbor are those who claim that there is little difference between Republicans and Democrats without knowing what either party's philosophies even are in the first place.
"Republicans, Democrats -- they're all bureaucrats to me!" shouted Chamberlain's uncle at a recent family dinner, rallying the rest of the family to cries of hearty agreement while Chamberlain buried his head in his hands. "Whether it's Bush or Kerry, either one will tax my paycheck!"
Hearing this, Chamberlain attempted to explain that Republicans and Democrats would levy varying levels of taxes on his uncle's paycheck, each with different ideas as to how to spend the money. His explanation, however, received only a blank stare from his uncle.
"Prohibition sucks!" the uncle finally shouted. "Take it back!"