(Noding my homework. The title was the prompt, obviously - I could have done better than that)
Everything in the book can be rephrased into the context of an election, of course. The metaphorical book, I mean - the kind of book you throw at someone, not a textbook. Throwing the book at each other is these people's job; or more accurately, people throw money at them so they can throw money at other people who run TV commercials and write speeches to make it look like they're throwing the book at each other. It's complicated.
I'm cynical about this election nonsense already, and I'm barely old enough to vote. That's tragic, I know. I've seen elections before - both of Bush II's - but the commercialization and propaganda of the entire process never dawned on me until the primaries of this one started getting underway. In fact, I can probably pin an exact date on it - January 20, 2007. That's the day Hillary Clinton announced she was "in it to win it". Nothing personal against Clinton, but I believe that was right about the time the floodgates opened, and suddenly everything on the news was about the election.
A couple of months later the commercials started up in Ohio. They were poorly funded and poorly thought out, at first - a portrait shot of Hillary Clinton talking, college rock and a crowd of our favorite 18-24 demographic somehow representing Obama - but they quickly refined their technique as the primary loomed.
That's what it is, to me - that's the argument this election presents to me. How can I, as a person of average exposure to the political climate, possibly claim to have a valid opinion of anybody whose entire persona and history have been dictated to me by people with an agenda different than my own?
The only thing I knew about John McCain before 2007 is that he rode around in the Straight Talk Express (which seems to have conveniently disappeared), and I certainly hadn't brushed up on my Illinois senators.
What I did know before 2007 is that everybody who wants to tell you something wants to sell you something. People themselves, in one-on-one personal contact, are often if not usually sincere; but once any group of people tries to tell any other group of people anything, bias builds upon bias and agenda builds upon agenda (proportional to the size of the groups involved, of course) until the entire message is utterly brimming with non-objective conclusions and implied meaning.
If I've learned anything these past couple years, I've learned that elections are brimming with this. It wasn't so obvious in the last Bush election, because it felt like we were screwed either way - and before that, I was too young to care. What is at stake, however, and the proportion of the groups involved mean that the average person cannot be left to make their own empirical decisions. That would leave much too ample an opportunity for the other side to tell the public what to do - the temptation is simply too great. Because of that, each electoral group must constantly barrage the public in an attempt to implant and secure opinion, and must constantly pile rocks onto our see-saws.
Tentative policy commitments, experience, and the election of the lesser of two evils are all very important, but I cannot bring myself to be knowingly bought and sold. I play into enough peoples' hands every day without knowing it.