Guest / Limited Access /

If you're not already weary of the 2008 presidential campaign—some 15 months before we vote—you must be living in a cave without cable or internet access. The 2008 campaign began the day after the 2004 election, making this the first non-stop presidential campaign in history. The media, desperate to sustain interest in the horse race, pursue such earth-shattering stories as: Which candidate owns the most pets? (Sen. John McCain "wins" with three turtles, three parakeets, two dogs, and a ferret.) The states, eager for prime election coverage (and money), keep pushing their primaries earlier and earlier.

The campaign is all some people can think about. Everywhere I go, people seem almost frantic to know who I'm for and who I think will win. When I say, "It's too early to tell," they're crestfallen, as if desperate to attach themselves to a candidate.

Have we finally succumbed to what Jacques Ellul, the eccentric French Reformed thinker, prophesied in the 1960s—the politicization of all aspects of life? Ellul foresaw the Information Age and the media's need for a steady flow of information to feed the populace. Media would therefore gravitate to covering centers of power. Politicians would be willing accomplices, because they'd gain fame and clout. All of this has happened, creating what Ellul's prophetic book, The Political Illusion, predicted: the idea that every problem has a political solution. This, he warned, leads to increasing dependence on the state by ordinary citizens and decreasing citizen control of government.

From Kennedy's New Frontier to LBJ's Great Society to President Bush's No Child Left Behind education initiative, challengers promise new programs, and, when elected, try to deliver. The result: ...

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August 2007

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