ImageRomney signs the front of paychecks as the evil profiteering boss while Obama signs the back of checks as the sweating denigrated laborer. With the explosion of modes and devices for communication leading to the implosion of content and understanding, and the manipulation of the masses through this implosion by reinforced miscommunication through simplification which comes from an image-dominated social contract, the Romney-Obama paycheck simulacra serves as a fine example of simplification leading to the vacuum of understanding.  Given two images, the person chooses a meaning specific to him or herself and accepts that meaning as the intention of the message sent. Liberals will see the cruel elitist Romney looking down prejudicially on the over-worked, underpaid, one-bad-word-from-fired Obama and allow that to reinforce their held beliefs.  Conservatives will see the powerful, successful Romney rightfully entitled to process salaries of those whose skill sets prevent them from ever deserving to be boss.  But the undecided voter, those who have no predisposition to reinforcement are left to create any mind-phrase to match the media image.  In that space between image reinforcement of belief and the Rorschach-test ambiguity of the undecided voter lays the flux over which these two powerful campaigns battle. Consider that Mr. Obama is President of theUnited States, making him the most powerful boss of the most powerful military and consumer force on earth.  Doesn’t that dwarf Romney’s wealth and bluster? Consider that Mr. Romney is worth at least half a billion dollars that the American voter knows of and probably many millions more than that in undisclosed accounts offshore. The American public clamors for transparency in the historical record of a Presidential candidate (for example, the birth certificate dust up which Mr. Obama addressed to no avail for those whose pre-existing beliefs were only reinforced somehow by the image of the long-form). Mr. Romney is powerful or arrogant enough to simply declare that he deserves trust and the swing vote without having to reveal any of the truths within the penumbra clouding his financial record. Two powerful men indeed, both of whom are front-of-the-check signatories. But the images do not define the men so much as their perceived approach to the middle class.  The disdain of the Romney boss man might represent the Thanatos, or death instinct, for the middle class, while the hourly wage could be the Eros, or life instinct, of the middle class. The profiteering Capitalist, strangling the life blood and sweat for maximum productivity and minimum remuneration, is the death of the middle class and theoretically a return to serfdom wherein peasants plow fields they will never own for overlords who offer only threat and protection in return for labor. For the paid worker, signing the back of the check is the planting of a seed toward the basic needs of Maslow’s lower orders and perhaps with overtime toward the higher aspirations Maslow identifies in all of us (if not for the worker’s generation, then hopefully for that of their children). Buried in this image choice, then, is a life and death struggle. The flux voter, the undecided not easily swayed by image reinforcement perceives what they will as individuals bombarded by not only the check signing imagery but all the peripherals swirling consciously and subconsciously around them. The global chatter, so loud it must be filtered or reduced to sound bites, photos and tweets to avoid overload, presses down on us all.  In this country, 99% sign the back of the check.  We relate to the Obama archetype because we have performed the action. But that check is worthless without the signature on the front of the 1%, and so we understand the need, or at least fear that we are pinned down under the system of front-and-back-of-the-check signatures in an essentially moneyless, data-based value system.  We live in fear of remaining, becoming or returning to the unemployed masses that sign nothing or are forced to sign over their dreams for lack of paying the mortgage.  We live a false binary communication that appears to offer only two choices, two definitions, two paths to the future, our future. Do good fences make good neighbors? Will our choice of paths have made all the difference when we look back in years to come? Is it simply the front of the check or the back? With the explosion of chatter and the implosion of meaning, it remains life or death and the struggle over the flux and swing for an evanescent, illusory control inside the voting booth.

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