A funny thing happened yesterday. I was sitting in this sort of snooty, yuppie-love latte shop when I encountered some rare animals that I didn’t think actually lived in nature, but were only kept alive in small, carefully maintained preserves so they could be trotted out every election year and interviewed by people like Frank Luntz and Chris Matthews: undecided voters.
Honestly, when I hear the term “undecided voter” I think of a middle-aged man in diapers. I think of thirty-year-old guys who play video games and wear baggy jeans that hang down around their knees. I think of flabby limbs reaching at supermarket shelves to the sound of heavy wheezing. I see images of bibs and oatmeal stains, cheese-filled pizza crusts, fat men in football jerseys high-fiving each other, daytime TV, Cialis commercials. I hear soft music and Nurse Ratched’s mousy assistant say, “It’s medication time.”
Normally I wouldn’t be so harsh. I don’t exactly do cartwheels at the prospect of voting, and I consider not voting a perfectly valid political statement. But how on earth is it possible to be undecided at this point? What more do you freakin’ want, a Power Point presentation? What earth shattering revelation about any of the candidates is going to be the decisive factor that changes your mind between now and the election? Will it come from another appearance by Ann Romney on The View, perhaps? A “zinger” on the third installment of American Idol, Political Version tonight? Good God, just have another Twinkie and go to bed already.
But there they were, two plump, middling Americans having a conversation composed almost entirely of conventional Beltway wisdom, like two hobbits channeling the late Tim Russert. It was textbook. They allowed that Romney sure lied a lot, but it didn’t strike them as anything exceptional or alarming. It was just politics as usual. Both sides do it, don’t you know. What about Benghazi? Oh, mercy. Raises some concerns about the administration, but not very big ones. True, Obama was doing an okay job under the circumstances, but he was no Ronald Reagan. Oh, no. Reagan walked into a recession too, and boy did he turn things around … It was like Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw surgically implanted talking points into their brains.
I don’t know why I’m surprised. Back in the depths of the Bush/Cheney Dark Age I heard a woman tell her husband she didn’t want to travel anywhere that summer “because we’re having an orange alert.” Hubby just mumbled in agreement and kept on poking at his salad. He’d plainly heard it all before. Point being, these people exist. They breathe and move about the country consuming, breeding, voting. Question: does the mainstream media feed them, or do they feed the mainstream media?
The conversation got boring and I went back to my book. Then, suddenly, a new voice rang out, loud, impatient, infinitely more obnoxious than all the rest: “IS THIS MY NON-FAT MOCHA?”
Just what the hell are we hoping to save, anyway?