The off year Election Day is here for Indianapolis! We can now get some relief from what blogger Pat Andrews at Had Enough Indy essentially refers to as a relative tolerance of lying. “Just as more salt is expected on potatoes but not ice cream”, Andrews asserts, so it is with politics. Although we are fundamentally polar opposites (and possibly applying our words and concepts differently) I think we are in agreement.
Let's take for example the above captured shot from a Ballard for Mayor commercial that has been running this last and final week. Notice the emphasized declining line representing a set of data values. It looks huge! If representing an actual loss, it certainly looks like a sharp decline from a more suggestively prosperous time. Now look along the bottom. Notice that there is no axis title or axis label for this gigantic, sharply declining data series. There is a reason it is blank. We are given the liberty to fill in the blank so long as we are guided by the emphasized data series line that is easiest to view.
But, worse yet and the real deception is in the vertical axis label on the left side. Look at the number values presented. The starting point value is 6.6 at the bottom and the data series (the declining line) begins at 8.0. This graph doesn't even represent a full 2 point move (whatever the value of each point is). Yet, the emphasized, blown up data series on the graph (that looks like a mountain) gives the appearance of a sharp decrease when in fact the true visual representation is very small.
Did you catch it when you saw the commercial? If not, why? Is it because we expect deception that we don’t actually see it when it is presented? Is it because we lack the education for spotting such deception?
We are each personally responsible for our decisions and the outcomes of those decisions. This responsibility is just not honored any more. Bad outcomes can always be attributed to something outside the sphere of our personal responsibility (or so one thinks). Because of this, apathy and willful ignorance are born and matured. The greatest political scapegoat is lack of knowledge (or feigned lack of knowledge- “it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is”). The problem is this: the knowledge is there, it is the use of that knowledge that is in error. We must use what we know wisely and fully investigate what we know and don’t know from an unchanging, principled method. Only then can we confidently support and elect leaders to operate imperfectly within an imperfect system.
I will leave you with my Election Day advice. Neither Ballard nor Kennedy is good for Indianapolis. Unfortunately, these are the candidates that the political establishment on both sides has given us. Four years is a long time. However, if Ballard is reelected we are guaranteed an eight year cycle of liberal governance before conservatives have the opportunity under the republican banner to rebuild with another candidate. If Kennedy is elected, we only have to deal with a four year cycle. With Kennedy conservatives will have another opportunity in four years.
I don’t think Marion County, Indiana is primed for a true conservative leader. But, over the next four years many changes at the national level are going to influence local politics. I can think of no better way to expose the folly of democratic liberalism in Marion County than to elect Melina Kennedy.