I read this tonight on a Huffington Post article about Michele Bachmann. Note that it comes at the end and has nothing to do with the article about her, but refers to a video clip. Here’s the quote:
Eric Fehrnstrom, senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, said on Sunday that issues pertaining to women’s reproductive rights, such as abortion and birth control, were “shiny objects” meant to distract voters from the real issues. “Mitt Romney is pro-life,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “He’ll govern as a pro-life president, but you’re going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people’s attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election.”
I was struck by this because for me, and I think for many others, while the economy is important, this is fundamentally a social issue election. I’m very concerned about women’s rights, gay marriage, and education, to name just three issues that have become a driving force in my the way I’m voting this year. I was actually surprised about this. A year ago I would have said the economy was number one all the way. This has a great do with a number of the laws and comments that have arisen in the past year about abortion, about equal pay for women, about contraceptive rights, about the nature of education and what it should entail, about the rights of people who love each other to marry (or lack thereof), and so forth. I already voted, and I have to say that I’m really insulted that anyone would suggest that the things I care most about are just “shiny objects” like I’m a child who is easily distracted from the “real” issues. Because frankly, for me, these are the real issues. Just as every voter in this country has a set of real issues that drive his/her vote, and those issues are important and worthy of concern, whether I think they are of primary importance or not. No one should be challenged on the validity of his or her concerns.
Now the caveat of that is frankly, I don’t think your concerns are all that valid if you’re a racist pig. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist church, I’m looking at you. Not that I challenge your right to express them or vote. I just don’t think I have to pay any attention to you, the way I should pay attention to reasonable passionate people who hold opposing opinions to me. I don’t think they’ll convince me of their positions, but I recognize that they do feel passionately and have powerful concerns about the future of this country and the world and are not to be lightly dismissed as being distracted by mere “shiny objects.”
Yes, this comment gripes me. The attitude is so condescending and dismissive of the real concerns of a lot of voters, that it makes me want to vomit. I don’t think it’s limited to the Republican party. I think it’s a habit of many politicians to infantilize the voters as if they know better what we need. Pisses me off.
And one more political comment–I’m almost looking forward to all the Christmas/holiday buy buy buy commercials that will crop up starting Wednesday, because that will mean the election advertising is over. I cannot wait.