Monday, April 5, 2010

Let's Talk Politics!, or: Fools Shine On

So the primary's coming up. Oh joy! Once again we will go to the polls to choose which candidates are worthy enough to face off in the November generals. Anymore, voting is like choosing between the lesser of multiple evils. In the primaries, you have, say, three Democrats--a raging progressive, a "blue dog", and a Democrat In Name Only--and three Republicans--a raging conservative, a moderate, and a Republican In Name Only. In the primaries you have one of those--we'll say the raging progressive Democrat and the moderate Republican--and a bevy of independents and third-party candidates who know they don't stand a snowball's chance in Hell of being elected and yet try anyway, just to say they can.

Voting is like playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun--you're always gonna get hurt in the end. In 2008 I flipped a coin to determine who I would vote for. Obama was heads, and McCain was tails. I flipped the coin because I KNEW we were screwed either way; I couldn't decide how I wanted to be screwed, so I busted out our first president and let him help me. Mr. Washington landed on heads.

There are a whole cornucopia of third parties out there--Libertarian, Reform, Socialist, Green, I could go on. And there's always a bunch of independents running. But they seem to have difficulty getting elected, because anymore the only way to get elected is by associating with one of the two major parties. A third party or independent candidate may have some darn good ideas, but if they're not democrat or republican they're not going anywhere.

And anymore, running for politics isn't much different from wrestling--lots of mildly entertaining trash talk and mud slinging. There is no such thing as a civil campaign anymore. There's dirt digging and character assassination coming from every direction. I've heard of candidates hiring private detectives to spy on their opponent and check their past to find something, anything, to discredit them. Is this what it's come down to? You can't run on an honest campaign, so you have your private eye dig up some dirt, and you use the guy's 1975 public drunkenness arrest against him? They'll use your family against you, too--one candidate said his opponent was immoral because he tolerated his son's being gay. (In both cases, the candidates who dug up that dirt lost, one quite exponentially) And in some cases, a candidate has had his opponent killed.

And the real sad part is, we the people let this go on. We would let the candidates engage in a guerrilla war against each other if it got that far--and trust me, it will. We have a political system dominated by two major groups--in fact, the system is biased towards them--where third party and independent candidates are destined to fail, where everyone involved either does anything possible to make the other guy look bad, or lose, because let's face it, we don't seem to like a clean, decent campaign anymore.

I'm going to run for politics someday. That's for certain. I just hope everything's changed by them. And if not, I suppose I'll keep my boxing gloves handy. . .

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