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Are Americans As Dumb As Experts Say We Are?
Posted by David Tirsch on Oct 29, 2004 - 4:08:00 PM

As the dust settles in this presidential election, I am convinced that in spite of all the rhetoric, the lies, the scare tactics and the deceiving 30-second political spots, the American people will see through the fog and elect the right president. I write this article two weeks before the election, and I am absolutely convinced of this because of a lesson I learned after watching all three seasons of American Idol.


For those of you that have been living in a cave in Tora Bora the past three years, I'll briefly explain what American Idol is. On the Fox Television show American Idol, each week viewers get to call in to vote for their favorite singing contestant, and each week the person with the lowest vote total gets knocked off the island, er..uh, show.  Twelve hand-selected contestants compete until there is one winner, who is declared the American Idol.


During each show, three judges who are considered experts in the music field critique each singer after they sing and give us their opinions, designed to encourage Americans to vote a certain way. Between their opinions, post show analyses, bulletin board debates, and experiencing the show for oneself, there is plenty of information given to you to make a prudent vote. Most of the time, the judges seem to disagree with who America votes off.


However, at the end of the season, the judges ultimately admit they were wrong and declare the top contestants to be the best of the bunch. In spite of the contradictory opinions of the experts during the season, America always seems to make the right choices!


In my view, Americans will never let us down because there has never been a more open, vast and conflicting network of opinions, concepts and ideas available to all of us. Most political hacks cringe when they see a misleading political advertisement, but I am now convinced that eventually, the viewer will hear the other side's views, and come up with a balanced opinion that works for them. It is all about hearing all sides.


Today, I watched Michael Moore, during his 60-city "Slacker Uprising" tour, (a get-out-the-vote campaign) tell people  to "Sleep till noon, drink beer, vote for Kerry Nov. 2. That's the slacker motto." This implies, that if you are a slacker, you should vote blindly for Kerry. While at the same time, I hear the creator of the television show South Park, Trey Parker, tell these same people, "I just wish uninformed people would just stay home. If you don't know who you're going to vote for, there's no shame in not voting."


In sum, if you are happy or sad about the outcome of the election, realize that the American people spoke, and you need to trust that when they did, they thought about it first and made the choice that made the most sense. If you think they didn't, work hard to convince people next time that they were wrong as there will be someone else out there convincing them they were right.


Cliffside Malibu




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