Dirty Politics

With Bush bashing Kerry, Kerry bashing back at Bush, and the 527’s bashing at both the candidates, it’s no wonder the percentage of people voting in the U.S. keeps declining. If all I hear about each of the candidates is how awful they are, why would I be inspired to go out of my way and get to the voting booth?
Seems like the number of people who actually hear messages of optimism and policy are the ones that go to the speeches or watch them on C-Span. But these people are the already-converted. Each day when I listen to NPR, Hardball, The Daily Show, or CNN, I’m struck by how much fighting there is going on between the Republicans and Democrats, and how much picking at nits. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Bush make fun of Kerry’s tie one of these days. But of course, he’d have someone else do it, like Condi Rice or someone. You don’t want to seem like you’re getting your hands TOO dirty in this political war.
It really makes me wonder: who the hell cares? Are the American people tuning in and watching the banter back and forth, the argument over Kerry’s Vietnam record and Bush’s Iraq record? Do they see it as entertainment, as the ultimate game of Survivor?
I believe that the American people are largely just living their own lives: both parents working hard during the day to make ends meet, taking care of the kids at night, and trying to relax in those rare few moments of quiet. The last thing they need or want is to get stressed out by listening to the news, listening to the constant bickering and fear-mongering among politicians. I believe that people around the world just want to live their own lives, not pick fights with random countries over stupid shit.
For myself, I go through phases. Right now I’m in the “turn it all off” phase. My vote is very clear, so the only amusement I get from this whole thing is what I get out of the first ten minutes of The Daily Show. Everything else just makes me angry or stressed out.
Listening to the news at all lately makes me feel that way: war in Iraq, bombings here and there, my government doing things in my name that I don’t agree with, terrorist alert terrorist alert, Israel and Palestine fighting each other, a lackluster economy in a world that thinks continuous growth is the ideal, global warming out of control and my country doesn’t care, hurricanes in Florida, and so on, and so on.
I don’t like where things are going. But what to do? Getting involved just adds MORE stress to my life.
But more and more, “regular” people around the globe are being affected. In many areas of the world, they have been affected for quite a long time. But here in the U.S., we’ve all been fairly oblivious. Watching American Idol, going to see Spider-Man 2, playing Grand Theft Auto. People around the world should be free to live their lives as they see fit, and the U.S. should be encouraging that by giving countries economic incentive and a role model to look up to. But unfortunately, instead, we’re half a trillion dollars in debt this year, sucking up natural resources and spewing out greenhouse gases, and bombing countries. We’re the bully down the block. I’m not too surprised that “old Europe” doesn’t want to partner up with us, nor that so many people around the world are angry with us. Frankly, it’s embarrassing.
What to do?
I’ll start by going out and voting for people who are more globally minded. People who don’t have a vested interest in big oil companies. People who treat the world as if it’s on a precipice, and it needs someone to stand up and coax it back from the edge. Someone who believes in the tide that raises all boats – across the world, not just in the U.S.
I hope you will too.