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Archive for August, 2008

Okay, perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration but I did experience a lot of exasperation.

Every four years, I’m practically glued to the TV to watch as many competitions as possible during the Summer Olympics – from the obscure like archery, equestrian and rowing to the “biggies” of swimming, gymnastics and volleyball.

I am always moved by the passion, dedication and ability of every competitor – no matter how perfect or imperfect their performance is. They’ve trained for years for their one chance at glory – at that very moment, their dreams teeter on success and failure. No matter the outcome, I know they’ve done their very, very best.

For the first time (in my memory anyway) the presidential candidates ran campaign ads. And not occasionally. It seemed every commercial break contained an ad by candidates Senators John McCain and Barack Obama.

But instead of running different commercials highlighting what they would do if elected, both campaigns replayed their same ad over and over and over and over again to the point that even changing from NBC to MSNBC (or vice versa) didn’t help me escape the onslaught. These ads ran more than the replays of that amazing swimmer Michael Phelps winning his eight Olympic gold medals or the Olympic theme song.

It’s the tactician in me who wants to know what the candidates’ plans are, how they will work to make those plans reality, where they stand on issues, and – perhaps most importantly – how truthful they really are about their records.

It’s the “authentic communications” marketer in me who wants to know these important messages. Instead, I saw “politics as usual” in these two candidates’ ads – only the tones were different. McCain was on the attack and Obama kept to his campaign slogan.

It frustrates me – as a communicator and citizen – to feel that I know more about an Olympic athlete from a 3-minute interview than I do about a presidential candidate after 19+ months of marathon campaigning.

So next time, I want my Summer Olympics free from presidential politics.

I can dream, can’t I?

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When I drove past acres of California almond and citrus groves between Bakersfield and Buttonwillow today, I was struck at how much the area had changed since last September when I came though.

The fields and groves are shrinking, the fields being enveloped by tract houses, gated communities and new shopping centers. Meanwhile, the once-new area of Rosedale Hwy at Hwy 99 had more “For Lease” signs in front of the shopping enclaves.

Is this really “progress”? Plowing under precious farmland at a time when this country is relying more on imported foodstuffs? When we hear the call to “think global, buy local”? Building new neighborhoods that suck the life out of established ones? Making it almost impossible for folks who want to live and work with the land by making the land, seed and equipment too expensive?

Does anyone have any answers?

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