Obenieta: Creepy creatures

BLESS the child whose mess of doodles on the wall is mild compared to a candidate’s handy come-on. It may be hard to understand for most politicians, but preschoolers know better what comes next to godliness.

Cleanliness, after all, is a concept easier learned with innocence rather than with the guilty pleasures of self-indulgence during election campaigns. Then again, the art of the possible called politics can yield some lessons even children may find inspiring or imaginative.

A collection of the best election graphics since 1828, a book titled “Presidential Campaign Posters from the Library of Congress: Two Hundred Years of Election Art” can be instructive about the iconography of the American dream.

Reality bit hard with the economic recession in the ‘80s, but the leading-man charm of Ronald Reagan whistled and did wonders for him in his campaign poster, perking up with a catchy line that promised as good as movie blockbuster ("Bringing America Back!").

Such powerful melding of image and message also propelled the peer-into-the-future photo of Barack Obama toward his historic ascendancy to power. With a pop-culture evocation of the word “Hope,” Obama’s vision emerged clear with a clean presentation in the hands of Shepard Fairey, a street artist.

Creating a sense of visual transport from the spell of politics as usual, however, is hardly what drives candidates gearing up vainglorious for voters. Compounding the sheer quantity of wall-to-wall clutter is the utter lack of quality with which election posters flaunt the poverty of imagination that characterizes most candidates.

More often than not, nothing has changed of the faces and the names. What they convey has been run of the mill—-the same old tricks of portraits full of smiles but empty of sense and sensibility for its intended audience.

See and believe. Or, shut off all that show of airbrushed faces and windy exclamation, “Vote!”

What portents of goodwill can the electorate glean from the gallery of ballot-hungry contenders hyping themselves up without evidence of originality or urgency of goals beyond egotistic interests? In the face of invisible platform, what substance can the voters hope to fill their hearts and minds with from all that mural of the meaningless?

More litter, but less matter though all that posters occupy a lot of space and has mass consumption down pat. Take the trash away.

A novel notion, indeed, that Sambag Uno Barangay Captain Jerry Guardo initiated when he reportedly “started removing his campaign materials on Cebu City's major thoroughfares,” coming to terms with the mayor’s “directive to make the city cleaner.” May their opponents from the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) also take their cue, suggested Guardo whose self-purging act could be construed by his detractors as a publicity stunt.

A leap of faith may be all it takes for voters to go with Guardo’s move along with the city mayor. And if such behavior would end up more of a peculiarity than a political rule of thumb, downright inconsistent in the long haul and, therefore, worthy to be abandoned at the wayside along with the creepers, thank God we can always count at least on the public service provided by street sweepers.

(geemyko@gmail.com)
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