Diapers and Dragons

Monday, November 10, 2008

When Elections Enrage

I think I've said before that I'm pretty much leaving politics out of this blog. This is not because I am not involved or interested in politics, but because it causes so much controversy and conflict. I know that the few people who read this blog have widely differing opinions on politics and the latest election, and I'd simply rather not Get Into It here, since this is not a political blog per se. Besides, I'm a registered Independent, my own ticket was split just about half and half depending on the person's position and platform, and ComputerDaddy and I didn't even vote for the same presidential candidate. We are not a Straight Ticket household, by a long shot.

However, I'm more than willing to blog about the angst and anger that the election caused and is still causing on both sides of the Great Divide. I tend to be a bit cynical about politicians, and even more cynical about the people behind them. I believe the framework of the System in this country corrupts even the best and most well-intentioned of people who enter it, and while change may be all to the good, I am pretty much sitting back for now: I'll believe it when I see it.

In the meantime, I should have Known Better.

Not about the candidates: about the angst. Before the election itself, I was heartily sick of the endless campaigning and junk mail and negative ads and phone calls all day long. I mean, how much money was sent spiralling down the drain on all that crap? I'm sure there are SOME people who watch the ads and read the fliers and listen to the recorded calls, but they must surely be in the minority. People I know who bother to educate themselves about the candidates do so with purpose. They watch the debates. They go to websites. They read the newspaper or the online equivalent. Meanwhile, we're gathering up hundreds of pieces of brightly colored paper and card stock and stuffing them in our garbage bags (or maybe, if we remember, the recycling bin), hanging up for the hundredth time upon hearing an obviously recorded message starting with "Hi! I am insert name or party here and we need you to..." (Click), and fast-forwarding through the endless stream of "My name is insert name and I approved this message." Thank goodness for DVR. Not to mention fending off all the "polls" and "surveys" that are usually thinly disguised attempts to "educate" the masses according to a particular bias.

And that's not all. The blogs, the emails, the endless online chatter even in forums where people go to get away from real life (yes, even in World of Warcraft, people!): everyone had an opinion. And while opinions are good to have, so very many of them are NOT educated opinions. Even worse, many of them in this past election were based on vast conspiracy theories and/or outright bigotry. It's all very well and good to object to a candidate's politics. It's another thing entirely to object to his/her ethnicity or gender. I was sick to death of the anti-Obama "He's a one-man terrorist cell! Assassinate the slur of your choice!" And the anti-Palin "A WOMAN can't be VP! What would happen if McCain dies? Everyone knows a woman can't run the country!" and so on. Regardless of my own position (and it wasn't an easily decided one, folks), I couldn't stand the bigotry and mudslinging and downright idiocy on both sides.

So as Election Day arrived and I did my civic duty, I comforted myself with the idea that this would come to an end. And to be fair, most of the junk mail is gone and the phone calls are down to one every other day ("We'd like to conduct a post-election survey. It will only take a few minutes of your time!" HA!), not counting the random ones with dead silence on the other end which I am assuming are the leftovers from various incompetent candidates who don't know how to make the damn things stop. However, the ranting has not. I had completely forgotten the post-election angst. People on the Obama side are crowing in delight and even descending so far as the "In Your FACE!" level of childishness. People on the McCain side are mourning, declaring the country a disaster area, muttering about moving to Canada, and replacing their "McCain/Palin '08" bumper stickers with ones saying "Don't Blame Me! I Voted for the Republican!"

I am, frankly, tired of it all. I'm tired of people shoving their opinions, misguided or not, in my face every moment of the day. I think we should have a National Month of Political Silence just to let us all Get Over It and relax for a while. That can get us through Thanksgiving, at least. And maybe then, once it all started up again, I could just laugh and turn my radio to the channel that's playing non-stop Christmas music. And I'd sing merrily about wanting a hippopotamus for Christmas and the little drummer boy, focusing on a time of renewal and change and beginnings that has everything to do with joy and, in my opinion, very little to do with which person will be running the country, at least in name, for the next four years.

2 bits of love:

Katy said...

So very well said, TeacherMommy. I too was so excited for it be over. Now it's time to move on, people. (I do have to admit I added my 2 cents--tongue-in-cheek, of course--through my Uncle Remus inspired post, but it was simply something that had to be done. And now I'm done with the politicking for now.)

Thanks for the tag. It. Is. Done.

Heidi said...

Funnily enough, my post today is vaguely political too (although with a toddleresque twist).

It's no secret who I voted for but the scarily divided nature of this year's election (and, in all fairness, the two elections preceding it) has been more than a little shocking. I do find it funny that disappointed McCain supporters are talking about moving to Canada (where the system is arguably far more leftist than in the States) but I think it's a terrible shame that so few have been able to actually carry on a respectful conversation about any of it.

I'm just waiting for all the election signs to come down already...

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