Maybe I’m just an anti-feminist, or maybe obtuse political commentaries don’t offend me like the average woman, but I still don’t think what Todd Akin said is wrong, I don’t think chivalry is the key to a relationship and I don’t think that Mitt Romney saying “binders full of women” is such a jaw-dropping, sexist statement.
Anyone who denies that women are an unequal part of our work force is just naïve. If the fact that a petition had to be started by three 12-year-old girls in order for a woman to moderate a single presidential debate since 1992 doesn’t scream inequality, I don’t know what does.
For two whole decades, no one seemed to care, or even notice, that a woman had not moderated a debate.
Yet when one slightly inappropriate phrase is spoken from the mouth of a politician and completely and purposefully misconstrued to offend a group of people, the unequal status of women is suddenly a partisan issue, with each accusing the other of waging a “war on women.”
The Big Bird advertisement and memes of women making sandwiches that mocked some of Mitt Romney’s comments from the first debate illustrated a sad truth of contemporary American politics: The public’s reactions to presidential debates are not what they used to be. Nor are the debates themselves.
“Oh, to be 12 again, the better to enjoy the presidential debates,” opined Kathleen Parker, an opinion writer for the Washington Post. “Or rather, the better to appreciate the Twitterverse, where America’s obsessive-compulsive, attention-deficit population holds the zeitgeist hostage with tweets and memes that infantilize political discourse and reduce the few remaining adults to impolitic fantasy.”
I could not have said it better myself.
How can we, as Americans, diminish the importance and significance of presidential debates to childish outbursts on the Internet?
Where is the pride in our country? Where is the unadulterated applause after a politician’s powerful speech? Or the hope and excitement in a room filled with voters eager to choose our next president?
Unfortunately, that is not what we take away from these debates anymore. Our goal now is to make it to the top 50 funniest presidential debate tweets.
Because memes and tweets are now so highly regarded as a political force, Obama, it seems, has also lost sight of the purpose of these debates.
In order to connect with this new, frenzied demographic, President Obama’s campaign released a commercial starring Big Bird.
After Mitt Romney’s unfortunate slip about the big yellow bird and the explosion of tweets thereafter, Obama thought it wise to join the game this election has become.
According to CNN, the commercial portrayed Big Bird as a “corporate fiend,” similar to Bernie Madoff and Kenneth Lay. The commercial began with the narrator saying, “Criminals. Gluttons of greed. And the evil genius who towered over them? Big Bird.”
It is highly sarcastic and extremely inappropriate for a political commercial. Who is Obama trying to target? “Sesame Street’s” biggest fans?
After the commercial was released Sesame Workshop clarified that it is “a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns.”
It is unfortunate, though, that Obama’s campaign felt it necessary to turn in that direction at all.
The progress of America will not cease because of the perceived incompetence of our presidential candidates, but because of our own immature reactions to them.