Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Future. Our West Virginia.

This election isn’t about parties. It isn’t about change. It isn’t about moving mountains. It’s not about most likely voters. It’s about something different. This election is about our future.

We’re at a crossroads in West Virginia, and we must combat voter complacency and blaze a new path for our future. It’s not the likely voters who we need to target, its the future generations of our state we most motivate. Decisions are being made about our future by those that likely voters elect, yet we seem all too happy to just let other people decide our fate and the fate of West Virginia.

We’re smarter, more capable, and more creative than any problem our state will ever come across, and we unlikely voters are the ones who need to stand up and take control of our future. It all starts by getting involved at a local level in grassroots organizations. It all starts by making it a priority to vote between October 13th and November 2nd. It all starts because of you. We all want the same things; jobs, economic growth, etc... But we cannot rest on our laurels waiting for these things to happen! In order to make a difference, we must be part of that difference.

We’re at a crossroads in West Virginia, and this election is about something different. It’s about your future, and what are you going to do about it?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Yachts, marble driveways, who cares?

So John Raese has a marble driveway and Joe Manchin has a yacht. It’s not the possessions a candidate has that matter, and I really wish political campaigns would quit slamming candidates for superficial things like what kind of cars they drive or how nice their private planes are. That’s not what it’s about!!

What really matters is what candidate will best represent the people and how they have contributed to their state and the people they would represent if elected. Just because a candidate pulls into a marble driveway at his second home or chooses to take his grandchildren on a boat trip does not mean he cannot relate to the people of West Virginia. What matters is humility, not what you go home to versus what I go home to. It’s what kind of person a candidate is inside, and what they will do to move our great state forward.

How about checking into how many charities candidates have donated to? Has anyone in West Virginia pulled a Bill Gates and donated a million dollars to education? Now that would be a great positive campaign ad!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Voters, November 2nd, and Manchin

It’s true that people rarely learn from elections, but there’s something brewing out there in the minds of likely voters that repudiates this statement. America has always been a solid nation, one of economic growth and stability, the land of the free and the home of the brave. But that’s not the sentiment felt across the nation right now. The longest serving senator in Delaware was replaced by a Sarah Palin prodigy, cementing the anti-establishment sentiment among voters all over America.

When did this anti-establishment feeling really begin (in the last few years)? In my opinion, it all began during the Presidential Election of 2008. Obama’s campaign strategists developed a campaign that focused its efforts on mobilizing the number one unlikely voter base: the youngsters. How’d the do it so successfully?

Here’s my shoe box-sized summation; Generation Y is an ensemble from an entirely new breed of designers, and we’re not easily understood by anyone but ourselves because we’re anything but an establishment. We’ve lived through the Oklahoma City bombings, Sesame Street, September 11th, when MTV actually played music videos, Desert Storm, globalization, and the birth of the interconnected digital world we refer to as the “Internet.” This digital development connected us youngsters not only across the nation, but across the globe. Suddenly, we’re sharing our lives via Facebook and getting jobs by posting resumes on LinkedIn. We’re constantly connected to our phones and to each other, because we like to unabashedly share our life experiences with the world. Since we share in our peers joys and sorrows, we’ve developed an acute sense of camaraderie and tenacious teamwork. One might say that all this life experience sharing with hundreds and thousands of people across the globe means we crave attention, and they’d be right. Gen Y’ers do crave attention, but it’s the right kind of attention we crave, such as feedback at work, from our beloved families, and from our peers. We crave this attention and feedback because we’re achievement-oriented. We’re a happy generation, one of hope, civic-mindedness, and we fall head over stilettos in love with the possibility of making a real difference we can see and feel.

What the Obama campaign did was take the ideals of Generation Y and base their campaign around it, and it worked. Two years later, most young folks have not altered their views of the President, but it might not necessarily have been Obama they fell in love with, moreover I strongly believe it was the chance we could actually be involved in making a difference, in the power of an active democracy.

Playing devil’s advocate for just a second, younger generations have not had nearly the experience with government that our parents and grandparents have. We don’t even come into contact with the government until we go get a driver’s license, so we’re more idealistic because we’ve yet to experience what our predecessors have. And it’s this experience that’s turned the most likely voters against the “DC establishment.” This is why the Palin prodigy won in Delaware, and since Manchin started running an attack ad against Raese, I cannot help but think his tracking polls must have been pretty close to Rasmussen’s results.

How do we Democrats capitalize on this anti-establishment sentiment among our likely voters? Where’s there’s a will, there’s a way. And when asked how well we Democrats work under pressure, I always reply, “Pressure makes diamonds.”

Friday, September 10, 2010

Manchin v. Raese: Psychology behind the ads

United States Senate candidate Joe Manchin released his first TV spot to counter opponent John Raese’s accusations. But was Manchin’s spot effective?

Believe it or not, the Democratic and Republican parties produce campaign ads that appeal to different sections of your brian. Your brain has a part called the cerebral cortex, which takes up about 80% of our entire brain mass. The area from behind your eyes and about a couple inches past the top of your forehead is called the prefrontal cortex. This section is then divided into two parts; the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (which runs toward the top and sides of the prefrontal cortex), and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (which runs behind the eyes and approximately half way up the forehead).

The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is active when we make conscious decisions, as well as consciously remembering phone numbers or what to pick up at the grocery store, conducting cost/benefit analysis, and reasoning. Traditionally, Democratic campaign ads target this section of the brain. In Manchin’s ad, he’s speaking directly to you in a rational manner, hoping you’ll make the rational choice when you go to the polls on November 2nd. But, if viewers are just flipping the channels and aren’t in a state of mind to make a conscious decision, this ad becomes ineffective.

The ventromedial prefrontal cortex is positioned around where the amygdala is located in the brain, which is heavily involved in the emotional processes we go through as humans. Other mental processes the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is involved with include; emotional and social intelligence, moral functioning, linking emotions with thoughts, like when emotions guide the decisions we make. Raese’s TV spot links Manchin’s name with President Obama’s, which arouses negative feelings inside voters. Also, the background is of High Street in Morgantown, the number one growing area in wild, wonderful West Virginia right now.

While subconsciously manipulating voters’ minds through campaign psychology is extremely unethical, I don’t see it stopping any time soon

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What happened to quality in America?

After returning from a relaxing weekend in South Carolina, where I left my iPhone in the guest house and the iPad zipped up in my laptop bag, I think I finally found the outside perspective I was looking for these past few months. During the time I was there, every conversation with my Godparents, my Father, and the many, many people we chatted with, boiled down to one thing: quality.

Monday evening I turned on the boob tube for the first time in four days, and there was nothing of any quality I wanted to watch. As I flipped the channels, I realized there’s not much more than a bunch of pollution we Americans choose to spend our time absorbing. Even the news lacks quality. Why do I think this? First off, reporters choose topics they feel are relevant that the public needs to know about. They gather stories from sources and conduct research, then compile all that information into a story of what they feel is comprised of the most relevant information. Then, this article gets sent to and editor, who revises it further. The final product has gone through at least two cycles of edits before reaching the public. And depending on who is writing and doing the editing, what’s being reported just might not be factual. Take Fox News as a shining example. Also, will Hilary’s hair really matter in a year? Maybe in a historic costume book, but overall no. So why is the media talking about her hair so much? It drives me nuts!

My Godmother actually made Glenn Beck’s rally make sense to me, because the message she got from his escapade was one of having hope and faith. She talked about how America is in a time now where we do not trust politicians, but at the end of the day, no one can take away our hope and our faith. While on the trip home from relaxing Briar’s Creek (, I couldn’t help but remember that Obama ran on change and hope. Obama’s message of hope and change may have won him the White House, but what I feel we lack in our President, and several other politicians, is faith. The quality of their campaigns must match the quality of their effectiveness as elected leaders. We, as a people, are tired of being the subjects of political marketing campaigns and subliminal brainwashing. What happened to the values America was founded on? Can you remember then? Do they represent us today?

What happened to the quality of life of the people of the United States? In Europe, they test food products several times before distributing it to their people. Here, we wait until ten or fifteen people die or end up in the hospital before the FDA steps in. If we don’t care about the quality of products we’re selling in grocery stores across the nation, what does that say about how elected leaders feel about those they represent? No wonder girls at the age of six are starting their periods because they have too many lipids in their diets.

Most importantly, what happened to caring about the quality of life for my children and my grandchildren? It seems we develop campaign strategies to get politicians elected today or tomorrow, but no one polls about where we want to see things in ten or twenty years. Where are the politicians with the long-term plans for our nation? When I purchased my car back in April, I selected the safest vehicle they make. Why not something sporty? Within the next ten years I probably will have children, and I will most likely still be driving that car. Planning ahead, a long way ahead, and working backwards to set goals to get us where we want to be is the only way we’re ever going to get anywhere.

It seems we’re too caught up in frivolous campaign efforts that sling so much mud back and forth we all look like we just came from an underground coal mine. We’re sick of the negative campaigning. We’re ready for positive, quality candidates with solid long-term plans for improving the quality of our nation. WWhy are the DNC and the RNC raising millions of dollars for campaign efforts just to keep a few people in their seats? Think how many other efforts that money could go to, like sending kids to college who can’t pay for it, or putting some of it towards paying off our tremendous debt, or for testing food products before we eat them. While I understand it’s important to keep elected officials in office, (if elections weren’t important I wouldn’t have a job), what’s even more important is the work they do for those they represent. Now, more than ever, when we’ve lost faith in the quality of American government, we need to push for more open government, (also called Gov 2.0), and take back America not for ourselves, but for future generations. Being selfish never got anyone anywhere.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Retail Republicans! WV GOP hits Charleston Town Center

Just this morning the West Virginia GOP signed a lease with Charleston Town Center as a temporary tenant. They will lease the space across from Tidewater, the former National Travel location. These retail Republicans will have mall hours, and I’m told they were required to pay up front

Now, I must admit, shoe shopping and politicking at the same time... I’m jealous!