Merriam-Webster defines the “silly season” as, “A period (such as late summer) when the mass media often focus on trivial or frivolous matters for lack of major news stories.”
With baby formula shortages, the return of high inflation, gas prices through the roof, rising tensions in Europe and STILL no end to COVID-19, I wish we had a silly season that we could return to.
In political terms, though, I’ve heard the annual elections of some kind that we put ourselves through — whether for city councilperson or President of the United States — called the “silly season” for a number of reasons.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it is “a period of time when people do or say things that are not sensible or serious.”
Merriam-Webster defines it as, “A period marked by frivolous, outlandish, or illogical activity or behavior.”
Usually, it’s the candidates and their campaigns that exhibit such behavior, especially when there is little to distinguish between two candidates from the same party.
Issues that reached their expiration date years ago, or a past mistake from a person’s college years, often are dredged up in these seasons and have little relevance to finding the best person for the job.
In one election with heavy Newton County connections, each candidate seemingly is trying to out-Trump the other.
One traveled to Ohio and spoke during a rally when former President Donald Trump was opposing a Republican candidate there. Another was a speaker at the Jan. 6 rally before the Capitol was stormed. Another makes fun of the two of them while also brandishing his own pro-Trump credentials.
I think it’d be better if we talked about how we’re going to tackle the myriad problems everyday Georgians face — such as having adequate health care or admitting the free market has its limits in addressing the need for affordable housing — before talking about how much we love or hate the ex-president.
To me, though, equally as silly are the questions each political party is asking Georgia voters on the May 24 Primary Election ballots.
The objective is for party leaders to determine the issues their voters are passionate about.
I’m guessing if one issue gets 60% of primary voters’ votes while another gets 90%, the one receiving 60% is not as important.
But some questions are a little “silly” because we already know the vote will be 90% in favor based on their wording.
One Republican Primary question is, “The Biden administration has stopped building the border wall and illegal border crossings have dramatically increased. Should securing our border be a national priority?”
“Illegal border crossings have dramatically increased” — who doesn’t agree illegal border crossings should be stopped? I would think the response rate would be 90% or more in favor.
Another question is whether biological males should be allowed to compete in women’s sports. How high will the percentage be on that?
And should social media platforms — owned by private individuals, by the way — be stopped from “influencing political campaigns by censoring candidates?” Who’s against freedom of speech?
Likewise on the Democratic side, “Should the United States remove obstacles to economic advancement by forgiving all student loan debt?”
“Economic advancement?” Who’d be in favor of stopping that?
“Should every 3- and 4-year-old in Georgia be given the opportunity to attend a high-quality preschool free of charge?”
Yes! Who would want their 3- or 4-year-old to attend a low-quality preschool that costs you money to attend?
Some questions, admittedly, are good questions to ask to determine if their voters know or care about the issue. It’s pretty obvious activists on both side do.
“Should the State of Georgia incentivize the development of clean, renewable energy sources to support America’s energy independence?” I’d say Democrats are going to vote pretty overwhelmingly for this.
How about, “Two of the three current federal work visa programs are lottery based. Should issuance of federal work visas instead be based on job skills?” I’m pretty sure that will get a high percentage of Republicans voting for it, even if they don’t know why the Georgia Lottery is involved in this (It's a federal lottery for foreign workers to enter to gain a work visa, by the way).
None of the questions really get into the gray area of each issue.
Where is the money coming from to reimburse those who loaned billions to back student loans if they all get canceled?
And what about those immigrants who may not have the job skills we want? Do we tell them they can’t come in and try to earn a better living for their families here than in a country dominated by drug gangs?
Political parties need to consider questions about issues that will mean something to voters in the future — not questions they already know the answers to.
Tom Spigolon is news editor of The Covington News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.