Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Why is advertising more privileged than political speech?

So I've been having an ongoing debate with my fiance (as well as my housekeeper) about the role of the public in a democracy. My fiance argues that after hard day at work, it's unreasonable to expect the population to care about news, the impact of government, policy, etc.

I have no patience for this arguement. In part, my feeling for this is as a result of the following:

Political speech has no regulation for truthfulness. If an advertiser spewed the lies and misleading statements that the bush administration, that company would be sued by the better business, not to mentioned be cited by a variety of different state and local agencies. No such protections exists for the public on political speech. Additionally, protections against slander, inuendo, and libel are not available to political speech.

What does this have to do with our poor working folk? Simply this: The protections in advertising are designed to keep an unsuspecting public from making a poor decision. These restrictions are in place to blunt the effect of marketing lies. Given that people are far more likely to understand the intracacies the next product they want to buy far more than he political process or facts, aren't the same kind of protections necessary here?

How can we have a functioning democracy when we have a population that doesn't pay attention to politics, and isn't protected from the lies that politicians of all sides throw out?

So, you have a single working mother (which is a larger portion of the population then we would like to admit) holding down two jobs and taking care of three children. She gets up, gets them off to school, works all day, comes home runs them around to after school activities, cleans the house, gets dinner ready, does some laundry, runs some errands, helps them with some homework...hmmm...where can she fit in time for news? Before she crashes out of sheer exhaustion?

Look, we as a population have as our DUTY to be aware of what is going on with our country and what is going on with our government. We need to rage and scream with outrage when things are done that do not benefit us. We need to applaud and support when things are accomplished that advance our society. We need to push and pull and prod and pick and punch and persevere to make sure we stay involved and watch what is going on. It is a government elected BY the people and FOR the people and if we don't watch out, others will come in and take over and we will have our voice stiffled.

But, these things need to be balanced with the reality of what is going on out there and the situation many American's are in of not being able to have the time.

Yet, if we make the time, the time will adjust itself. Make the time, just a little and it will be amazing what we can achieve.
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