Boy, do Americans love the Olympics. If getting Americans to share a short-term interest in events that they only care about every four years were an athletic competition, NBC would win the silver medal.
This year, according to the Huffington Post, the broadcasting giant paid over $1.1 billion for the rights to televise a collection of sporting events that, for the rest of the quadrennium, folks in the USA don’t really care about, and they did so to huge success. The network set a record for viewership and at one point turned archery into the most-viewed event of the games, as reported by Reuters and ESPN, respectively.
I suppose that if I’m going to dish out the media-blitz medals, I’ve got to go all the way. Who gets the gold? That goes to the pundits, the parties, the plutocrats and the people who make up the American political machine. And this year, fueled by a high-octane mix of economic woes and, ironically, record-high spending on hotly-contested races, the machine is in full swing.
As much as I hate to think of the 2012 election as a sporting event, I can’t think of a better analogy to our current situation. But, we have to play with the cards we are dealt, so I say let the games begin! As citizens, we have a duty to participate.
If you’re not yet excited about the 2012 election cycle, maybe I can change your mind. Sure, there’s the usual motivator that voting results on Nov. 6 will have huge implications for economic policy, social issues, civil rights, immigration, national security, and other hot topics around the country. But you should also know that Ohio is a special beast in the national political arena – a swing state. And as always during election months, the hunt is on.
Get ready for massive campaigns in Ohio by politicians vying for local, state and national offices alike, more fervent than in previous years. The race between Sen. Sherrod Brown and State Treasurer Josh Mandel promises to be especially agonizing, flooded as it is with out-of-state donations. And, to add to the Ohio legacy of the presidential contest, Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan is a Miami University alumnus, which could result in an increased interest in the race in Southwest Ohio.
In the past, Dayton itself has been a battleground in presidential elections, most recently in 2008 when then-Senators Obama and McCain held rallies in the city. And this year, some election-watchers are predicting an important role for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the related defense industries in the area. Additionally both vice-presidential candidates are Roman Catholics, followers of a faith with which this university and many of its students are affiliated, and a group which I predict will be targeted heavily throughout this election cycle.
In keeping with the national theme this fall, I’ll periodically write columns dealing with the election and the policy issues surrounding it, and I want to see Flyers of all political stripes writing in to do the same. One of the purposes of Flyer News is “to serve the campus community and offer a forum for opinion.” In order to accomplish this goal, we need your help. So I encourage you to participate in the campus-wide discussion on the 2012 election by writing letters to the editor. There are only three things that I ask:
1. Keep an open mind.
2. Support your opinions with logical arguments.
3. Please cite your sources.
Oh, and for those of you who are wondering, I didn’t forget about the Bronze medal. That one goes to Leap Day, the “extra day” that we get every four years on Feb. 29. Don’t care about it now? Trust me, you will in 2016.