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Greatest invention ever: Television mute button

Morning, UP

September 22, 2012
RENEE?PRUSI - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

There are moments when I think the mute button on my television remote could be the greatest invention. Ever.

During election years, the poor mute button gets a workout. That's because the rhetoric and venom and snarkiness involved in political campaigns has become toxic. It's sickening how both sides of just about every race have resorted to talking bad about the opposition instead of presenting a positive message about what they themelves hope to achieve if they are elected.

Some days, in fact, I seem to have the television on mute more than not. The remote is usually inches from my right hand so the button can be pushed immediately when the first droning voice starts.

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By the time Election Day arrives, the television might not even be turned on at all except for sporting events and even then, these heinous sound bite ads will still force some quick muting.

Yes, I know negative ads have been around forever. But unless my glasses are indeed rose-colored, the downer pitches were more the exception than the norm back 40 years ago, 20 years ago, heck even eight years ago.

"Saturday Night Live" used to do election ad parodies, but those mocking pieces now seem to be exactly what these paid-for spots have become, generated by just about every person running for political office and the various support groups with "citizens for" and "committees to elect" as part of their names.

And the galling thing is what a gi-normous waste of money all these ads really are because, frankly, I don't know anyone whose mind has been changed by these blips, no matter how well shot they are or how urgent they sound.

it makes campaign season revolting to most folks. Which is a pity, because the voting privilege is vastly underused in our nation. In the 2008 general election, 56.8 percent of Americans eligible to vote did. That's up a bit from previous presidential years (55.3 percent in 2004 and 51.3 percent in 2000) but still woefully low when you consider how many people around the globe do not have the opportunity to have a say in their government.

Being an informed voter is an important attribute, indeed. Before casting a ballot for someone, for anyone, a person should become educated on what that person stands for and what he or she plans to do if elected.

Negative attack campaign ads do nothing to educate voters or encourage citizens to vote, as far as I can tell. In fact, these pieces discourage potential electors from wanting to get involved in the political process.

And do not even get me started on robo-calls. Pre-recorded messages from candidates and their minions only make me angry, regardless of which campaign uses them. My telephone numbers are on the no-call list and I only wish that listing applied to political calls from any source.

It's a long way to Nov. 6. Somehow I don't think I am the only American whose mute button could be worn out by then.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is rprusi@miningjournal. net.



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