>Soccer moms, Joe six-pack and other useless labels

>For some reason, I thought McCain’s campaign would usher in a new era in politicking for the presidency. As a self-proclaimed maverick and campaign finance reformer, McCain and his supporters said his candidate would bring a return to normalcy (whatever that is) and common sense during this election season.

So, why do I feel jilted and betrayed? Why do I feel that this Republican ticket has done the opposite by accusing Sen. Barack Obama of having ties with terrorists, being the “other” candidate who doesn’t have America’s best interests at heart and has imposed overly simplistic labels on their electorate?

While we are talking about labels, can someone please tell me who Joe Six-Pack is? Who exactly is this elusive man? Is he supposed to be this “regular” guy who drinks a six pack of beer, who isn’t very bright, who cares more about sports than what’s going on with the economy and who may or may not be the most tolerant when it comes to diversity?

Is he married to the soccer moms, who are overwhelmed with their “supermom” duties of playing personal chauffeur for their children to every extracurricular activity known to man? Are soccer moms supposed to be the women who leave the worrying about politics and money to their husbands, who drink several cups of coffee a day just to keep up with their hectic schedule, spend hours a day organizing the PTA body of their child’s school? Are these the women who are also known as “security moms,” who voted for President Bush in 2004 out of fear that the country would be unsafe with a Democratic president?

Using labels in our political discourse allows for simplicity. Since political pundits, candidates and some average citizens refuse (or are unable) to thoroughly research and analyze voters, labels of groups of people are become the way to go. Sadly, these labels have caught on and have become popular talking points for candidates and their spin masters.

What surprises me is how voters have become so receptive of being labeled. For example, I wonder if supporters of Sarah Palin object to being labeled Joe Six-Pack or the soccer mom. How is it that voters have become so content with being lumped into a group of imaginary people pundits make up just to make their jobs easier?

Maybe voters like being labeled. Maybe having labels for every group in the electorate is a reflection of our society’s obsession with making people fit into a box of what’s expected of them. Maybe labels are a good thing. Maybe labels keep us calm. Maybe labels gives us a sense of superiority over another group of people. Maybe labels makes it easier to separate “us” from “them.” Maybe knowing who belongs to which group makes the electorate feel “prepared” with how to deal with the “other.”