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Richard Bogartz: It is too late to change minds

VOTE!!! It is too late to change minds.

As a Facebook wag suggested, the brain of an undecided voter is also filled with such questions as: How do rocks work? What is Ohio? Can I put an entire horse in my mouth? Did I eat my keys? Is chicken a vegetable? And, which do I put on first: socks or shoes?

At this point, if you are going door to door and you find a Romney or Brown voter, wish them a good day and depart. But with Obama or Warren supporters, spend some time. Tell them why their vote is so important. Urge them, for the sake of themselves, their children and their grandchildren, to get to the polls. At this point it will not be the issues so much as the urgency that will move people to the polls. Let them feel your sense of urgency.

I was born in November 1936. Which makes my age 47/37. (I prefer these numbers to the alternative computation and intend to stick with them yearly from now on.) This means I’ve been through a Tricky Dick presidency and a Dubya presidency. The country endured (pun intended).

So if the Mitt hits the fan, the country will probably endure again. It won’t be pretty. Big Bird will be slaughtered in the Rose Garden. The destruction of the middle class will continue unabated. The war on public education will become thermonuclear. Obamacare and the Supreme court may be lost. The privatization (profitization) of public institutions, public lands, public programs, public endeavors and public goals will accelerate. The misogynist assault on women’s rights will go viral, and Republican opponents of governmental regulation will make it the law of the land that pregnancies resulting from rape are gifts from God for which the pregnant woman will either proclaim her gratitude or serve time in a corporation-owned prison for the criminally ungrateful.

In short, across the country there will be seismic trouble in River City.

Amazingly, the online Boston Globe informs us “The Salt Lake Tribune endorsed President Obama … with an editorial that was highly critical of Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who is as close to being a favorite son candidate from Utah, the historic and cultural center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a nonresident can be.” Colin Powell, a hopelessly devoted Republican, re-endorsed Obama. Charlie Crist, the former Republican, former Florida governor endorsed Obama.

As of this writing Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight and InTrade have odds favoring Obama being reelected. So could it be that the dark ages have not yet arrived?

Maybe not for politics, but certainly for media journalism. What explanation other than the fall of darkness could account for the continuing attention paid to Donald Trump-isms? What can we say of the self-serving, attention-grubbing, billionaire-wannabe Trump. We can’t call him a buffoon. That term requires he be amusing. The terms “idiot” and “idiocy” describe an extreme folly or stupidity, and its symptoms (foolish or stupid utterance or deed) so, idiot is a candidate. But if we accept the definition of ridiculous as “deserving or inviting derision or mockery” then that may be our first choice, with fatuous a close second.

So, if Trump is ridiculous, why does the media so frequently bestow upon us the tokens of his ignorance and narcissism. The suspicion must arise that the media, too, are ridiculous. Ah, if only Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” were a reality show! When all is said and done we are left with the fact that half the people prefer Romney to Obama. What IS that?! A simple argument might be that half the people are below average in intelligence. But I fear that will not hold up. There are above-average IQ folks who prefer Romney. Even after hearing him on foreign policy. Alas!

Richard S. Bogartz is a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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