Sunday, November 02, 2008

Allergic to Politics

I hate politics.

I’m not sure why, but I always have. I think it’s primarily because I’ve always been the type of person who can handle anything or anybody who comes at me from the front. If you don’t like me, I’m cool with that, just tell me straight up and don’t smile at me and pretend otherwise. I have no tolerance for anyone who sneaks up from behind. And that pretty much covers all politicians, doesn’t it?

And as someone who has worked in marketing and public relations for twenty years, I have been trained that putting down the other guy was a bad idea. What if I were to tell a prospective student, “Oh you don’t want to go there, that program sucks!” even if it were true, it’s just not good business. But somewhere along the line this method is what political campaigns have been reduced to: mud-slinging and distorted truths. I mean really, it’s hard to believe what anyone says in either party anymore, and really the differences between the parties aren’t as dramatic as they used to be.
It seems that Obama has done much less mud-slinging, which I appreciate. But in general, why can’t a candidate take the high road? Perhaps it’s because in this mud-wrestling world of reality television and unworthy celebrities (I mean Nicole Ritchie? Paris Hilton? What talents do they possess that make them worthy of celebrity?) the American people have become acclimated to the low road. If you’re not slinging insults you’re considered weak.

I have to admit, though I stayed abreast of his actions in office, I did not hear our current President speak (other than in print) until his second term in office. It upset me too much. (I'll never forget that first time, I was in a cafe in NYC and he was on the three tvs bolted to the ceiling giving a speech. After the fourth reference to God, I turned to the person next to me on line and said, "What the hell happened to the separation of church and state?" She looked at me like I was an idiot and grabbed for her soy latte.) And the last debate I watched was the vice presidential one with Dan Quayle (remember when Perot’s running mate, James Stockdale, turned off his hearing aid in the middle? That was just wonderful. And of course there’s the “I knew Jack Kennedy and you sir are no Jack Kennedy”…priceless) but it was mainly out of morbid fascination. But now I find it too disturbing, too base. McCain’s camp brings up Ayers but he himself associated with eugenics guru Anthony Bouscaren. I mean, we all have people we have come across in our past whose goals and interests do not parallel ours (I have heroin shooting exes who I would hide from in the street if I saw them), but isn’t that what makes this country great? We are composed of people of all sizes, shapes and colors and there is room for all beliefs. Can’t we keep our focus on the here and now?

I know I am an idealist, but I’m glad the election is soon, I can’t watch too much more playground sand kicking. I prefer a straight fight. But I must admit, I am honored to live to see a man of color in a presidential race. I just wish my mother was around to enjoy this. But she always said they’d elect a black man before they’d elect a woman and it seems she was right once again. So I cast my vote, will dance in the street when Obama is elected, and look forward with hope. But it is still a cautious hope as the political game is still the same…and it never comes at you straight.

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