Gather round, boys and girls, so Uncle Pat can tell you about a time long, long ago when there were things called Election Cycles. No, they weren’t modes of transportation; they were periods of time that came along every four years (the really big ones), with a smaller cycle in between. During these cycles, people talked and argued and debated, finally casting their votes and then moving on to other things until the next cycle arrived.
Politicians did their best to expand these cycles, but people never really paid a whole lot of attention to them until Election Day drew near. Even the media couldn’t whip up much interest too early. Until the 1960’s, national newscasts were only 15 minutes long and were seen once each day. And—get this, kids—there were only a handful of television stations in each city, and most of them stopped showing programs at around midnight until the next morning. Radio talk shows were rare, and most stations just played music. Where there was news on radio, it was, for the most part, limited to a few minutes each hour.
As a result, people had time to read about the news, digest it, think about it, talk it over with friends, or just forget about it until the next day. Even as the election cycles approached, it was the focus of the news, rather than the amount, that changed. Without the Internet and cable news networks, people were forced to devote their time to other matters.
Today, thanks to our ability to stay connected to each other 24 hours a day, we don’t have to wait for election cycles. Even as we’re dissecting last week’s results, we can speculate about what will be happening between now and November, 2012. We can analyze every politician’s move and speculate and poll and interpret and predict every day. We no longer have to wait for those old fashioned cycles. Thanks to modern technology, boys and girls, you can stay informed and enlightened 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
I hope you enjoyed my little story, but Uncle Pat has to leave now. He’s depressed.