I spent a half-hour trying to come up with some clever sexual metaphor for my political disenchantment. Apparently my brain is just too fried to come up with anything cute or original tonight. Sigh! But I still want to talk about my lack of zeal about Election 2008.
At the time of our last general election, I was basking in glorious semi-retirement (translation: I was bored out of my skull and needed something to obsess about…) And I was fed up to my eyeballs with the antics of the Bush Administration. I had nothing better to do with my time, so I held my nose, closed my eyes, and jumped head-first into the political pool. What was I hoping to accomplish? Did I think my one weak little voice would change anyone’s mind? Did I harbor a secret hope that there were legions of closet liberals out there who needed but a word from me to march forward and carry the day? Or perhaps the thought of another four years of Bush and Company just scared the living daylights out of me?
So I fumed, and I wrote, and I worried, and I voted…for all the good it did. The Bush Cartel—by appealing to the basest instincts of the masses, tweaking a few voting machines here and there, and calling in every favor it was ever owed by its rich, powerful (and invisible) backers—managed to mandate itself into another four years of power. The Democrats didn’t help matters any. They proved they had yet to find their backbones (or their asses with both hands…) by reasoning: "Well, if the public likes Bush so much, let’s give them….a slightly left-of-center Bush-like monstrosity clone thing." John Kerry. Oy!
And now, here we are, four years later. My life has changed drastically. I no longer have hours and hours to sit in front of the keyboard and tap out political prophecy. I’m busy, and I’m distracted. But I’m also disheartened and, unfortunately, wiser than I was four years ago. There are things I know now that I didn’t know then. Things that make it that much harder to get myself up for the process this time around.
First of all, I know that my vote really doesn’t count.
I live in Oregon. A beautiful state; a lovely state. Not all that small, area-wise. But—here’s the rub—not all that big, population-wise. And we are ‘way our here on the left coast. When it comes to general elections, we have traditionally been three hours late and a few hundred million (people) short. Recently, we’ve contrived to beat the "late" bit by being the first state with 100% vote by mail; so if I’m lucky, when I cast my vote, the election results might not already be a fait accompli, as they have been in elections past. Still, my precious vote gets thrown into a pool that will generate seven electoral votes.
A measly single-digit number about which no candidate gives a rodent’s derriere.
Could there be a more frustrating place for a person with outspoken national political opinions to live?
Secondly, I know now that it’s all…well, bullshit. It’s politics. It’s meaningless. It’s "Say anything you need to say to get the dumbest boob who can pull a lever or scribble an ‘x’ to think you’re the answer to all his problems."
Tell him you’re going to put him on Easy Street. He’s gonna get his share—you’ll make sure he does. You’re going to lower his rent, lower his taxes. Your government will hand him everything he needs, but won’t poke its nose into his business. Let him know you can be counted on to influence the Almighty in his favor.
But first and foremost—scare the hell out of him. Make him suspicious of everything, even the guy who has lived next door for twenty years; and then make him believe you’re going to save him.
It’s crap. It’s lies. It’s about getting people all tangled up in emotions that do nothing but mask the real issues. With the help of our illustrious American media…
So maybe it’s not the candidates that aren’t doing it for me this election. Maybe it’s the process. The futility. The media circus. The fabrications preached as gospel.
And the knowledge that if there were a candidate who would take a stand against all of that…
(S)he wouldn’t stand a chance.