But, what difference does it make whether Bill Clinton’s father was a used car salesman? I know that the reader didn’t like what I wrote, so I assume that he was trying to point out the fact that I must have liked Bill Clinton, therefore the guy I liked was fathered by someone I didn’t like, namely a used car salesman.
There are many problems with these assumptions. First of all, Bill Clinton was a better president than George W Bush, but it doesn’t mean that Bill Clinton was my favorite president of all time. Both of these guys have enormous flaws, but these are the guys that were able to make it through the political process that we have in this country. One of the main problems we face is the US political process. Perhaps Bill Clinton made it through the political process because he had a father that was a used car salesman. In fact, the point of my essay was how both politicians and used car salesmen use a form of dishonesty in selling their wares. That fact is that even John McCain’s straight talk express ran out of steam because he couldn’t maintain his straight talk amid all the truthiness.
Little did Sammy Cahn or Jimmy Van Huessen realize that Americans are so much in love with the idea of High Hopes. In fact, Americans praise the idea of High Hopes in such an idealized way that it is often viewed as a sin to be realistic about the motives of both our salesmen and our politicians. When a politician comes along and starts to tell us what we want to hear we begin to believe them even more, because we have such High Hopes that we believe that we have finally found that rare beast, the honest politician.
But, the problem is that the politicians and the salesmen have all been singing a different tune. Instead they are listening to Bing Crosby croon out Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen’s song. They are accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative. It’s all in the eye of the beholder and reality doesn’t matter. And, the real danger happens when we combine the reality of these two philosophies put forth in these two songs.
If we have a public with high hopes looking for a politician to fulfill those hopes they are willing to accept whatever they can find. Then you introduce a politician who is accentuating the positive and hiding the negative the best he can. In this situation we end up with political pretenders who offer only faces that look like what America wants and in which America is willing to accept with those high hopes. Of course none of this is based in reality.
And, this takes us back to the advertisers. When the advertisers tell us about their amazing wares we never believe their claims without skepticism. We all know that most soda is favored carbonated sugar water, but we allow the advertisers tell us about the magically property of this drink. We like the flavor and the hype so we continue to accept the claims of the advertisers, even though most of us have realized long ago that drinking this magic potion doesn’t really change our lives as the advertisers suggest. But advertisers continue to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative in everything that America sees. How else could we become such an obese nation? When the positive tastes so good, why should we think about the negative of a few hundred extra pounds?
So, what is going on in a soft drink ad? What are the advertisers telling us, and are they being dishonest? Are they using deception or are they committing fraud? And, why do we allow the ads to influence our buying habits?
Advertisers don’t tell us that drinking soda may lead to obesity. But the simple equation of 3500 calories equals one pound of fat and 200 calories per 12 oz. of soda should lead us to some frightening conclusions. One 12 oz. soda per day could lead to 2 pounds extra per month if nothing else changed in your diet or exercise habits. And soft drink advertisers would have you drink many more than one 12 oz. soda per day. There are big gulps of 64 oz. that we are encouraged to drink. Think about it, 3 big gulps are going to become one pound of fat. A big gulp per day is 10 pounds of fat per month. So, is it fraud to leave this information for the buyer to figure out? Obesity doesn’t just come from soft drinks, the soft drink companies may claim. They are not the only ones responsible. Why should they tarnish their accentuation of the positive with that unwanted negative information?
Every company does this. It isn’t just used car salesmen and politicians. But, like your parents said when you told them that, “everyone’s doing it,” “would you jump off a bridge, if everyone was doing it?”
All that I was trying to say with my dishonesty post was that dishonesty is an accepted form of sales technique. Everyone knows that they should be skeptical when the salesmen sound “too good.” Rush Limbaugh might makes “conservative values” sound like a panacea. Al Franken might makes Rush Limbaugh sound like a big fat idiot. But, these political sales people are trying to get their policy across and the policy just isn’t as good as it gets. Political policy has winners and losers in the most general cases. Sometimes the rich win and the poor loose. Sometimes the smart people win and the stupid people loose. Sometimes the government tries to fix the inequality and sometimes they fail miserably. The only way that these policies can be kept in check is for Americans to care about the political policy. Then they can make sure that they don’t get ripped off to badly, or else we’ll just have a government that tells you that they know what’s good for those who do care.
Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."
Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit