Getting The Picture


Hearing a television in another room leaves a lot to be desired since the sound was meant to accompany a picture in order to get the full effect. TV noises can be annoying if we’re “out of the picture.” It’s usually disturbing to hear a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense.
When people are having a good laugh, we’re at a loss if we’ve missed enough of the funny material to keep us on the outside of the thing.
That’s what I’m feeling about all the election hype (I’m talking presidential, here) with so many concepts taken out of context and maneuvered in such a way that even if we’re exposed to the facts, it is difficult to see the truth. I’m hearing a lot of noise but even when I try to step into the room, I can’t see the whole picture.
My lack of political knowledge seems to stem from my growing apathy as the powers that be often seem so careless, so wasteful, and so beyond my control. None of our presidential choices are made of the stuff I’m pleased to call the president of my country. Still, I must vote in the presidential election if I’m to hold on to my small slice of self respect as a responsible American.
A simple suggestion came to me unexpectedly in an Alternative Radio interview with John Sayles that was carried by my local public radio station. Sayles is an independent filmmaker and writer whose latest production, Silver City, received a Roger Ebert “thumbs-up”. Sayles’ general comments and his attitude about filmmaking appealed to me. He spoke with practical common sense and, refreshingly, appeared not to be ultimately guided by the almighty buck.
Sayles’ election advice to the undecided voter is nothing new. He says don’t look at the full picture, but pick one issue that really matters to you, do your homework on how each man stands on that one thing, and vote according to that issue. Forget about everything else because you may never find the right mix.
Is this oversimplifying things? Maybe. Would I be overlooking other important issues that really matter to me? Definitely. Yet Sayles’ point narrows the field to at least bring a smaller picture into focus. Surrounded by this fall’s flying dirt, it could be comforting to see one spot of clarity amid the political haze.


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