I was pleased with the last entry—Politics of Politics, Part One—but fear I've waited too long for Part Deux. Pictures of a sweaty Richard Nixon, while felt relevant at the time, just don't seem appropriate. Okay, so maybe I can't help myself:
For those that are younger than myself, I considered this historic picture of Mr. Nixon, with the recent debates leading up Tuesday's Election Night. Policy aside, this sweat-wiping moment crushed any confidence that his viewing audience may have had in him, while those listening to him on the radio thought he had the superior position over Mr. Kennedy. You know the tagline, "Never let them see you sweat"? People apparently really don't like to see this, and they mean it. It crushed him.
This famous debate was an important one for many reasons. After this sweaty disaster, came the concept of "styling". Televised debates were a new concept then, and while ones intentions and policies were so important, things soon morphed into more. John Kennedy has his agenda, but he also had charisma and charm. He had a lifestyle, not to mention a super-fabulous wife. The Marketing of Politics were now born. I think I was trying to make a point in here when I pulled this aside. It has me thinking about the parallels of politics historically, and with the now even-newer forms of media.
Some people are saying that we as a Nation are becoming more politically divided than ever. While I can't say if this is true or not, I think our social intentions have shifted greatly, and will continue to do so. Everything is so different. People are more informed than ever, with up-to-date information just a few clicks away. What we do with this information remains to be seen in this new dawn.
When America was founded, 85% of Americans were were farmers. After the Civil War, well over half of the workers in the South were still farmers. The then-Democratic Party was the party that represented the interests of rural farming America, while the then-Republican Party represented the interests of wealthy industrialists and urban liberals. Though the Democratic party was far more popular in the South, it was considered a worker's party in the North, as well. It championed States' rights while it was the Republican Party that strengthened the Federal government, and promoted federalism and centralization (I did not come up with this, I am quoting from here). The Democratic Party worked to use federal tax money to redistribute wealth from the wealthy industrialized North down to the poor states of the South. Farmers and workers in the South saw the Democratic Party as a major means to help their weaker economy after the Civil War. Each of the two parties mentioned aligned themselves with their strengths, and somehow worked together to make sure everyone was represented.
Somehow this has shifted. Here it is, 2012, and the Southern States appear (I'm looking at red and blue maps) to be unsupportive of the Democrats. This of course was a slow transition, and I'm finding it so interesting that we have collectively arrived at this place.