Thursday, October 02, 2014

Denialism, November elections and Florida's future … by gimleteye

How do you make a post-partisan appeal to vote against Rick Scott?

Daniel Tilson, for Context Florida, tries: what you need to find is your "fire in the belly" to change "the current course of history in Florida." Tilson takes a curious, soft course in "Here's why you should vote in the Florida election on Nov. 4th". He refrains from laying rubber on the road like Jeb Lund in Rolling Stone and his recent, devastating, "The Florida Farce: Rick Scott v. Charlie Crist".
"Look to a Ponzi state running eternally on the next out-of-town sucker, administered by a gerrymandered GOP hammerlock and overseen by a man who the president of Public Policy Polling once said could be trounced by "a ham sandwich." That man is Florida Governor Rick Scott, who bought one election and feels like having another, who — depending on your point of view — makes the Sunshine State either more of a national punchline than it already is, or a paradise where every political malignancy can sizzle and bloat before coming home to fuck up wherever it is you live."

That's not Tilson's game. He takes another course. Tilson aims at a post-partisan appeal. He tenderizes his readers, prefacing that he won't scold. He won't whine. He even holds an olive branch while reaching for the complainers, perhaps the libertarians or even Tea Party faithful who initially flocked to vote for a governor precisely because he had never held an elected office and was worth a fortune. "This isn’t about fire in the belly to rock the vote. This is about fire in the belly to rock the boat."

But gently. Tilson's audience is also Fox News viewers who read. (Context Florida OPEDs are picked up and distributed to other Florida newspapers.) That is a small subset but large enough to swing an election. There are in fact more Fox News viewers than Rolling Stone could dream of and more than all the network news combined.

"Forget partisan politics," Tilson writes, trying to land a punch against Scott in a velvet glove. "Remember your family’s future."

Some of us, though, have been fighting for our family's future in Florida for decades with bubkas to show for it.

Thinking about this sad state and why one would need to treat the Fox News viewer sector with kid gloves turned me back to an email I had just received from a friend in China.

It landed in my inbox stuffed with unhelpful campaign fundraising appeals just before the final, crucial reporting period before the November election; a hail storm of dire warnings if we don't contribute this minute to upsetting the apple cart. Yes, that apple cart that won't tip.

My friend had just crossed over from Hong Kong to the mainland. If you haven't been watching the news, Hong Kong is in the grip of the most intense civil disobedience in decades. The protests have been peaceful, non-violent, and moved the needle of world financial markets -- more than its progenitor, Occupy Wall Street, ever did.

Here is what my friend wrote from China: "Greetings. This morning in Guangdong, we were able to see the protests on CNN International in our hotel room. By this afternoon CNN announces, "Next up, Hong Kong protests". Then the channel goes dark for ten minutes. That being said most business people are aware of the Hong Kong protests through the web. They do not agree with the sentiments of the protestors. They are quite up to speed on the difference between democracy and central control of government. They express concern at how messy and stressful democracy is for us in the United States. So I've come to think of it as if everyone in China gets their news as though from Fox TV. China is more like being inside a nation of Fox TV viewers than any place I've ever been."

Then my friend makes a worthy imaginative leap. "Would Fox News viewers in the United States really care if they were restricted from CNN? The very same CNN that both conservative Chinese and conservative Americans mutually dislike or are indifferent to. Fox TV viewers in the US have often said to me that they despise CNN and its viewers. Most American conservatives are as content without CNN as loyal Chinese citizens are content without news from a restive Hong Kong. An entire country without CNN is a Fox News viewer's dream come true."

But we are not in China. We are in Florida, the sunshine state of inertia. We know the path we are on, with Gov. Rick Scott. Sadly, it reminds me of a political statement I clipped from the magazine Adbusters in the mid-1990s long before 9/11 brought down the towers misted in background fog.

"… it seems most of us are crossing our fingers and simply hoping for the best"
That photo and its lament were published before the boom and bust, before the housing boom and bust, and even before Jeb Bush slipped into the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee. Fox News, Gov. Rick Scott, and the extremist right are selling a version of the future that deploys the background misted in the fog of fear, inertia, a TV commercial looping with such hypnotic force that nearly half of all voters are unwilling to budge their positions; either at the ballot box or from their barcaloungers.

Without delivering the hard truth, how do you get people to vote?

Daniel Tilson: Here’s why you should vote in the Florida election on Nov. 4
Context Florida

If you or folks you know are tuning out Florida’s 2014 midterm elections and don’t plan to vote, we need to talk.

No worries, there’ll be no scolding.

No finger wagging or whining about your civic duty.

No repetition of the “If you don’t vote, don’t complain!” line.

Far as I’m concerned, you never lose your right to complain.

I’m not about to lecture anyone about how our American ancestors fought and died to gain and protect our voting rights, or about how many other people worldwide have fought the same fights in their homelands.

This isn’t about knowing or honoring history.

This isn’t about fire in the belly to rock the vote.

This is about fire in the belly to rock the boat.

This is about taking simple, self-serving action to change the current course of history in Florida.

I get that some of you think the current course of history is actually an improvement over what came immediately before it – the Great Recession – and so you may not feel urgency about voting for change.

But without weighing you down with scary statistics or trying to rile you up by calling the prevailing powers-that-be nasty names, let me just point out…

Almost every leading indicator and any objective analysis of Florida’s socioeconomic status in recent years shows dangerous, deepening trends that point to “recovery” as a setup for middle-class failure.

Our salaries and average household incomes have been stuck in the mud for years, even as our wealthiest residents and biggest businesses keep breaking records for income growth and wealth concentration, over and over again.

We’re still stuck paying billions of dollars annually for poor folks forced onto public assistance because Gov. Rick Scott and Republican state senators and representatives combined to keep the minimum wage under $8 an hour.

We’re still stuck paying billions for poor folks with no health insurance because Scott and Republican state senators and representatives combined to thumb their nose at President Barack Obama rather than accept $50-plus billion to expand health care.

And we’re stuck in recent years with big banks, insurance companies, utilities and developers getting new, improved and legalized ways to threaten and price-gouge us, because Scott and Republican state senators and representatives combined to pass laws that let them do it.
Those aren’t liberal distortions of recent history. Those are verifiable facts…OK, with some populist anger mixed in. You can look up the facts for yourself, or drop me a line and I’ll send you relevant links.

Forget partisan politics. Remember your family’s future.

Whether you’re a non-voter because you’re disgusted with politics and government, or just disengaged and uninterested, consider this.
Given worsening trends for the middle class in recent years, wouldn’t it feel good to deliver electoral slaps to those putting us on the path to fight over scraps?

Daniel Tilson has a Boca Raton-based communications firm called Full Cup Media, specializing in online video and written content for non-profits, political candidates and organizations, and small businesses. Column courtesy of Context Florida.


Geniusofdespair said...

I LOVED THAT QUOTE...that is why I made it bold.

Anonymous said...

Love the quote too.

Don't know if i can vote on a Tuesday. I'll be up all night Monday voting for my favorite crappy celebrity to win Dancing with the Stars...

Anonymous said...

Be well informed before you vote.

Comparison chart of the Candidates for Florida Governor:

Vote Adrian Wyllie!

Anonymous said...

It speaks poorly of our political system that our choice is between these retreads.