I just hung up on Morgan Freeman. He called right in the middle of dinner and at our house, dinner is family time. Friday evening I hung up on Martin Sheen. I’m sure many other A-List celebrities have been calling of late, but I’ve hung up before they could introduce themselves and implore me to vote one way or another. The campaign phone calls have been relentless, like ants in the pantry in the middle of summer! I am not a tremendously “political” person but I cannot remember a more vicious and completely demoralizing election since I was old enough to vote. Who’s in charge of this pop stand? I demand to see the manager!
As a Californian, I’ve suffered through weeks of some of the nastiest campaigning I’ve ever seen. I can’t help but think of how Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Every conceivable media outlet is filled with bullhorns set to 11, everyone screaming and no one seems to be talking about anything new, meaningful or relevant. It’s business as usual along the campaign trail and I’m so truly disappointed. I can’t remember anything meaningful, pertinent or confidence inspiring coming from the mouths of any of the candidates.
I just returned from the animation festival in Ottawa and without question, EVERYONE’s biggest complaint was dwindling fees being paid for dwindling work. It’s affecting everyone, in every creative market segment, at every level. If the world economy is on the mend, most people’s computers and cell phones were rebooting when that tweet/text message/news item came through cyberspace. Many of my friends and professional colleagues live and work in California, which has been hit particularly hard recently by one economic crisis after the next. Animation and vfx houses closing shop, productions being bid at a loss just to keep operations floating for a few more months, top talent finding it next to impossible to find jobs in an industry where economics are changing so rapidly that many are convinced (and rightly so) that even if things “recover” (they use the term sarcastically) they’ll never be the same.
What is my point you ask? Good question. My kids often ask me that, especially when I’m inquiring about their most recent school grades. My point is that this midterm election campaign season has been particularly upsetting to me because the air of anxiety and uncertainty amongst the population shows no sign of abating – there seems to be a leadership vacuum and the volume on the discussion is way too loud for any meaningful discourse about whom our next set of leaders will be. No one in their right mind these days would go into politics, where you spend your days as a verbal piñata and a seemingly innocuous comment uttered in jest can permanently ruin your career. Who needs it? Yet, today more than ever, we need more people in their right mind, not fewer, to lead our towns, cities, states and countries.
I’m not impressed with dinnertime phone calls from Martin Sheen or Morgan Freeman. I’m not an idiot; I’m not a mindless gawker peeking through the window of society who needs to be badgered and shamed into delivering his vote to the candidate with the shrillest voice or fattest wallet. I’m a son, a husband, father, business person and concerned taxpaying citizen. Sometimes, I’m liberal, sometimes I’m conservative, but most of all, I someone who knows when I’m being “handled” and lately, the onslaught of handlers has been non-stop. Regardless of who the big winners are in tomorrow’s US midterm elections, right now, I feel like we’ve lost already. Let’s hope the coming months prove me wrong.
Tell me what you think…Am I all wet here?