For some reason voting for me today was an emotional experience.
I think it's because the 2008 elections mattered so much to me and I was so proud of the tone and fervor surrounding them. My oh my, however: what a difference two years has made!
In a country that pretty-much invented ADD, we've gone from hope and back to fear in a political millisecond The pendulum swung so fast and so far it seems to have hit some folks squarely on the head and sent them a leeetle crazy.
If you think the Tea Partiers and White Men are angry, they aint got nothing on how I feel about some people over the last two years. There are times I've almost jumped through my TV set to strangle some nutters spouting all kinds of ridiculous vitriol, and politics has become a taboo subject with some of our neighbors who, in my humble opinion, are seriously close to flying off the reservation (and have becoming pretty insulting in the process.)
Not that I oppose opposition, or intelligent (if sometimes emotionally charged) debate. Not for a second. I am not afraid of it and, in fact, with the right person (the kind who can spar without getting personal) I enjoy it immensely. One of the things that has made me so frustrated over the past fifteen years of living in this country is the level of political apathy. So passion is a good thing. Most definitely.
What isn't a good thing is anger, especially anger fed by misinformation and hyperbole. And what isn't helpful is name-calling (what are we, a nation of middle-schoolers?) in place of informed and intelligent disagreement on issues.
These things are not good.
Am I frustrated by the economy? Yes. Granted, probably not as much as some given I have a job and a house. My point is that I don't live in a plastic bubble and I truly feel for people who have lost their jobs and their homes through no fault of their own.
Do I feel that President Obama has made mistakes and has not delivered on many of his campaign promises? Well, yes, of course. Again, I'm paying attention. But I also know it's only been two years (not even) since he took office, that he was landed a pile of steaming Republican poo (aka: the economic crisis) that he had to deal with somehow, and that there are other players and forces at work in Washington that mean he couldn't just fly in there, write out some executive orders, and have his bidding done. (Oh, I can only dream there.)
The entire American political system is built on checks and balances and, unfortunately folks, balance and quick, radical change are not good bedfellows. We can't have it all ways. (No, really, I know, BOO HOO!) You can't demand change from your politicians and then plunk them directly in the middle of a system that demands compromise and has systems in place that are designed to temper radical shifts. You can't complain that politicians get nothing done and then ask that every two years they re-campaign to keep their jobs. And let's face it, between primaries and general election campaigning, it's not every 2 years, it's mote like every 12-18 months. What job have you been in for 18 months where you've been able to make big changes? And how many fewer changes would you be able to make if you spent the last 6 months of your evaluation period raising money, producing ads, debating and playing sales person to keep your job?
What irkles me no end right now is that President Obama has to be out there campaigning for Democrats rather than actually running the country. We just had an election for heaven's sake. (And let's not even talk about the people who are mad at him for not calling the Giants and congratulating them on their World Series win. Somehow I don't see "Call Brian Wilson" next to "fix the economy" and "find Bin Laden" on Obama's to-do list.)
And, if we're being honest, although we say we want compromise in this country, it's all just words that make us feel good about ourselves; as if we're taking a moral high ground or something. We don't really want compromise or if we say we do, we don't really think about what that means. Republicans are mad at candidates who reach across the aisle to work with Democrats on certain issues, calling them "Liberal" (ouch! The "L" word!). Meanwhile Democrats are supposedly disillusioned because their folks didn't ride rough-shod over the right wing and get everything done they campaigned for 2 years ago. None of that really speaks for compromise and working together, does it?
But what really just makes me shake my head are all these propositions. Now, I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person, all things considered, but it makes MY eyes cross just trying to read up on and understand these things.
Trying to sort fact from advocacy is nearly impossible these days, and the time it takes to find impartial information and then understand it enough to truly make an informed decision, is just mind-blowing. Further, even when I have all the information, I don't feel qualified to place a proper vote because, let's face it, I have all the information on ONE SUBJECT but I am no expert on state or federal government and readily admit that the wider implications of my decision are rarely something I understand. I'll even admit that I have often just ticked the box from the Democratic Play Book when something seemed too hard to understand. That makes me uncomfortable, especially given that most folks probably don't do even half as much research as I do. I'd prefer to feel my decisions were based upon my own research but, I have a life and don't have time to become an expert in all these areas just for one vote. I would much rather we left the voting to the politicians we elect. Leave the accountability with them. Ok, we may not like what they vote every time but that's what elections are for (and please, every 4 years, so they'll actually have done something I can evaluate them on?)
It just doesn't make sense to me that I vote for a politician, who I am expecting to be an expert in this field (or maybe not, given the latest trend) and then have to vote for the laws as well. It's like hiring a dentist and then taking the drill from his hand to clean out a couple of my own cavities, then complaining that my teeth hurt.
So, even with all this said, I voted anyway and I applaud you if you did too - even if your vote wasn't the same as mine. I hope you did it from a place of truly understanding who you were voting for and why. I hope you did at least some research before checking a box Yes or No on a proposition. If you did, and we disagree, you have my respect and my thanks as a fellow citizen.
And now we can return to our regular programming. Back to Taco Bell commercials on the TV and photography posts for Ms. Ranty Pants ;o)
BTW, yes, this is how I look on most days. THIS is why I have not joined the crowd of mommy bloggers participating in "What I Wore Wednesday". We can assume that, on any given day, this IS what I wore. (Or a version thereof.) Sorry to disappoint.