Recent polls suggest that Herman Cain may emerge as the Republican nominee. Cain arose from obscurity with a flash — in the form of three numbers, 9-9-9. It’s a catchy phrase, albeit the thought behind it seems a little too simplistic to solve the nation’s budget problems. But Obama showed that sometimes it’s the flash that counts. Got Hope? Yes We Can. Got substance? Not quite.
It’s a disturbing problem with American politics, and it’s not all the politicians fault. We live in a soundbite society. Despite three 24-hour all-news channels, American media — and the American public — is drawn to the soundbite.
Want details on a three-tiered plan to pare down the nation’s deficit and reform the tax code? Boring. 9-9-9!
Want information on how we can change the course the country has been taking the past eight years? Yawn. Yes We Can!
But it’s not all the media’s fault.
The internet has allowed us to access an endless flow of information. Smartphones give us the opportunity to access that information from virtually anywhere. Putting these elements together, one would think that our electorate would increasingly become more educated about their candidates, forcing them to give more details on their websites.
But the information explosion has backfired on our political process. Perhaps because of an information overload — fun distractions like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube — our brains cannot handle the capacity to discern American politics. So we fall on the catchy phrases and the unachievable promises.
So whose fault is it? Perhaps we should look in the mirror and think about our priorities. Before you get mad, consider this less popular slogan from the Barry Goldwater campaign, “In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right.”