Battle Royale With Cheese
Regarding Sen. Eric Griego's "Democracy for Sale" [Opinion, Jan. 28-Feb. 3], I find myself equally terrified by the potential future of our voting process. The Supreme Court's decision regarding campaign finance could result in many voters choosing a Quarter Pounder over filet mignon.
The uncapping of funds allowed by corporations provides the opportunity for those corporations to pump the same money into advertisements for a candidate as for their most popular and well-marketed products. Imagine a politician's public image as well-polished as the image McDonald's has created for its cheeseburgers. Everyone knows that a cheeseburger from McDonald's is inferior in quality to one at a local competitive restaurant, but that doesn't stop them from selling millions more than that business. Why? That local business isn't assaulting our senses daily with cheeseburger propaganda riddled with catchy music and vibrant visuals. Applying that same principle to elections, we may find ourselves drawn to those with the flashiest, most well-produced marketing campaigns and not necessarily with the most quality and "taste."
In addition to the increase in production value, the increase in available budget allows for better time slot occupation. According to the Nielsen ratings, this year's "American Idol" premiere had over 30 million viewers, the Super Bowl over 106 million. Place a "New-and-Improved" candidate's ad in those slots and watch the polls change before your eyes. The second presidential debate's 63 million viewers, while much less susceptible to glossy advertising campaigns scant of true content, can't compare to those caught by that sort of media onslaught.
Knowing the power celebrity campaigns hold over our country, who would be speaking for whom? When selecting the next leader of our city or our nation, it's time to ask yourself if you really want to wonder who you trust more: the Mannings or William Shatner.
Be Civil About Unions
A legal civil union of two people is a critical institution of society. Domestic partnerships would legally recognize same-sex partners as couples under law, enabling them to raise children of the couple, to make medical and end-of-life decisions on behalf of their partner, and survivors to inherit assets and make end-of-life decisions for their loved one. These are rights all Americans take for granted but are denied domestic partners.
Through law and culture, legal unions impart distinctive personal, psychological, and social benefits to adults and children. The legal meaning of civil partnerships and legal relationships has evolved considerably since New Mexico became a state with respect of such basic elements as to who may legally join together, roles of spouses or partners, management and control of joined legal assets, and even the duration and permanency of such domestic partnerships. It is time to evolve again. New Mexico is a vibrant state proud of diversity. Let us remember that every couple must get a civil license from a county worker in order legally join their lives. Domestic partnership is nothing more than that: A government worker does not make a religious or moral choice of who comes before them and receives a license, but gives a license to any couple, same-sex or different-sex, who approached them. That is the American way.
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