Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to remain mad at someone or something for any real length of time?
This is a question that I am beginning to ask myself as the political campaigns wind on in an almost non-stop fashion. I can't remember the last day when I watched TV without seeing a candidate or one of the commentators from a news program trying to have the last word in a political debate. There are likewise times when I believe that this particular campaign has been going on since we were part of the British monarchy and didn't get to choose who ran the country; and that I am caught in a perverse version of the movie "Groundhog Day", where every day is endlessly the same.
The reason that I ask the question however, is this barrage of political badgering has simply worn me out. The handlers, spinners, and talking heads earned their pay and managed to get me whipped up to fight for the things that I believe in (a fact made more difficult because almost none of the candidates for any office agree with me). As a consequence, for some time now I have been screaming at the television, writing my local elected officials, and climbing onto the soapbox of this blog site to make myself be heard.
The problem now is that the election is still over 3 months away, and I am running out of gas (an expensive commodity to run out of these days). I find that I can no longer sustain the rage either for or against anything that I had when the process first started out.
Now part of this is the candidates fault. I haven't seen two more unexciting candidates from the major parties since ... OK, the last election. McCain and Obama (listed in alphabetic order, not that of preference), have blathered on for so long and changed their stances on the issues so many times that it hardly seems worthwhile to watch any longer. It seems to make more sense to treat this performance like a basketball game or a NASCAR race and see what things look like closer to the end of the contest before getting excited about it. As for the candidate of the Libertarians Bob Barr, he seems to be a normal enough guy; but seems to be operating in a stealth mode that the military has yet to be able to penetrate or imitate. I am therefore likewise worn out by his invisibility and the lack of information on his positions on the issues.
The rest however, cannot be laid at the feet of the individuals seeking office (though I stand by any previous comments on how boring they are). The process is simply too long this time around for us to operate at the fever pitch that the candidates would like us to. Sooner or later, our bodies fail in the production of the required adrenaline and we simply begin to lose the emotional charge. Even without the ADD and ADHD that most of the human race seems to be suffering from these days, I fear that the attention span of the average voter is not much better than that of a 4 year-old; and that this particular election ran its emotional course long ago for us.
Don't get me wrong, I suspect that some out there will get a second wind as the conventions end and the real battle begins. I think that far more however, will simply stare moronically at our televisions, curious but mostly uncaring as the rest of the pageant plays itself out. I wonder, when the runners left the starting gate for the race this time if they understood that the length of the race could potentially leave us behind? Would they have started any later or paced themselves better in the hopes of helping us keep up? Or is it possible that this whole thing could have been the plan all along, and that it was designed to bludgeon us into submission in the hopes that we would lose interest before election day?
Is it possible that they are that smart? (Nah ...)