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Your Post-Election Hangover Post: 'Star Wars' and the Politics of Cynicism

By Lord Castleton | Think Pieces | November 5, 2014 |

By Lord Castleton | Think Pieces | November 5, 2014 |

I woke up this morning feeling depressed about the elections. I woke up wondering how people can be so influenced by ads. For example, in the Massachusetts governor’s race, Charlie Baker purportedly outspent Martha Coakley 10 to 1. In fact, it was reported that he spent more in the final week leading up to the election than Coakley spent on the whole campaign. And he won. Republican SuperPACs spent absolute fortunes on key senatorial races everywhere and because of that they wrested control of the Senate from a tapped out Democratic party. It’s times like this that we need the Daily Show to give us the comedic perspective.

And I keep wondering what the connectivity between visual attack ads and political success is. You could show me a hundred ads about a politician I’m backing and it wouldn’t sway me in the slightest, especially when they’re the grasping-for-straws type. “Politician X is soft on crime. Politician X wants your children to be murdered. Politician X doesn’t think you can balance your own checkbook. Politician X supports death panels.” Whatever. I know you’re lying (or embellishing) and you know you’re lying (or embellishing). I’m enough of a cynic or realist to understand that I’m being sold.

For example, if I walk onto a used car lot, no matter what the salesman says, I understand that he’s trying to make a sale. If he asks me where I’m from it’s so he can try to connect with me on a personal level. So he can sell me a car. If he compliments the car I’m driving he’s appealing to my ego. So he can sell me a car. If he says that I should make myself comfortable and that he doesn’t believe in pressing the sale, it’s like in the Cameron Crowe movie Singles where Kyra Sedgwick tells Campbell Scott “Having no game is your game.” And why? Lets say it aaaaaallll together: So he can sell me a car.

The minute your eyes are on an ad, you are being sold, one way or another. The minute you lose sight of that, your vote is in play. Attack ads aren’t going anywhere. They work. Money in politics isn’t going anywhere. It has more of a hold on the people running America than the citizens do. Term limits aren’t going to happen because the people voting for them don’t have a vested interest in slitting their own gilded throats.

In the end, this period of political history will likely be viewed with some measure of incredulity by future historians for what we allowed politicians to do, both in secret and also in the bright light of day. Remember what happened in Star Wars? One entity with supreme foresight, planning and execution, unswayed by loyalty or emotion, brought the entire galaxy to its knees. So what that he was the Dark Lord of the Sith? He used every tool at his disposal right under the noses of a supposedly evolved Jedi and beat them seven ways to Sunday.

You can picture an empowered Mitch McConnell this morning, shooting lightning into the corpse of Harry Reid’s Mace Windu and yelling “Unlimited Power!” And deservedly so. While I may not align myself with the Republican platform, they did what they had to do to get the job done. Power, as the good Chancellor of the Republic knew, is the only goal. And money is the river that carries you there. For those of us ousted Jedis now wandering in the wilderness, it’s time to look around at your younglings, teach them to put down their lightsaber and instead just write a check.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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