The decision to become a politician baffles me, just like I wonder why anyone would want to become involved with extreme sports or watch Keeping Up With the
Totally Self-Absorbed People With No Discernable Function On This Planet Kardashians. But I chalk it up to it taking all kinds to make the world and move on.
What I find even more baffling, though, are people who get totally behind said politician, to the point of idolization. Certainly this has been the running joke about the mainstream media with regard to Barack Obama, especially since he received his blessing from the Holy See at Harpo Studios in Chicago (though I doubt Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews are finding this quite so humorous anymore). And only the most devout follower could have been overcome to the point of cheering by John McCain’s nomination acceptance speech last week in St. Paul.
To a lesser extent, I wonder how anyone would be so totally in agreement with any candidate to want to put their bumper sticker on their car. I’ve lived with Dirtman for 21 years and we can’t agree on the right way to serve asparagus, let alone be in complete agreement about how to run an entire country.
Part of me wants to approach the driver of a car with political bumper stickers and ask, “How can you be so sure?”
Yeah, yeah. I’ll get the same old generalizations back that Dirtman listens to all day long on television. And I’ll hear the same old accusations that show up on the internet that sound like hyperbole, but are, in fact, the actual opinion of actual people.
One of the luxuries of living in this country is that when we obtain a new administration it doesn’t mean that overnight everything is different. Whether McCain or Obama win in November, I know that the day after the inauguration I won’t be forced to walk around with my king-size bed linens over my head and the local constabulary won’t confiscate my Sinatra CDs.
It’s that old phrase from civics class, “system of checks and balances,” that prevents any single person from having complete control of what happens. So, while you can’t exactly call me “complacent,” I’m can’t get so worked up about any candidate to the point of anger at a fellow citizen or, worse, denying my own country.
It has already started getting ugly on the internet: the snippy comments, the derogatory references. Polite, lively conversations that would, in a real setting, end with agreeing to disagree, dissolve into foul language and name-calling in the blogosphere – and that’s just on the knitting blogs.
And, while it doesn’t bother me when non-citizens have an opinion about a U.S. election, the saddest comments are from Americans sucking up to the international community, offering to move to their country because they can’t get their way here. Unfortunately, they never follow through.
That opinions should differ so much comes as no surprise. I accept when I express a point of view, someone is going to disagree. I wouldn’t leave the comment section up on my blog if readers weren’t welcome to do so. I’m always incredulous at a blogger who, having called half his readers “moron,” is dumbstruck that half his readers are offended. I don’t mind someone disagreeing with me politically, but I do mind the assumption that something is wrong with me personally because of it.
So I stay away from taking sides publicly because apparently I’m the only one on the planet willing to entertain the notion that I just might be wrong. I think I’m right and I’m voting for whoever comes closest to my convictions. But I’ve yet to meet a single human being whom I’m willing to say speaks for me 100 percent. And, until I do, my name will be the only one on my car.
The day after the inauguration we will neither be welcoming troops home nor instituting the draft. The economy will still need tending and I will still have the crappiest health care next to none. And then the wheels in Washington, D.C., will begin grinding again and no one – no one – will know for sure what is going to fix things. I have a feeling that, no matter whose administration is in power, it will have less to do with what we’re all going to get individually and more to do with what we’re willing to give up for the good of our country.