I spent a fair amount of time tonight crafting a post regarding the election and politics and so on. I got about half way through and had to ask myself, "do I really believe all of this, do I really want to sign my name to this?"
It seems to me that I hadn't said anything that over the top or controversial . . . I was just, pondering.
I don't think ours is an age that supports second guessing and holding back; reserving judgement until higher thought and investigation has taken place, but I will gladly blaze a trail.
That is flagrant self-congratulatory nonsense, but is there not a wisp of truth to be unearthed in my untenable self-flattery?
I guess I try to edit my half cocked assertions because I wish that we all did the same. Reflect before you speak, and let yourself be surprised by the results.
I normally hate the prescriptive. What am I saying--I hate this very post--but a departure from your norm, as a general rule, should not be discouraged.
Depending on my mood, I am extremely ashamed or unashamed to admit the following: I am a conservative. I believe in smaller government. Less government programs, less taxes, generally more freedom to succeed or fail in the real world. I know that a lot of people think that sounds naive, or think that's not really what the Republicans stand for--I don't care. We can have that argument--but not right now.
Obama just won. I offer my congratulations. I've barely paid attention or stayed informed on what he has done for the last four years, and I will pay even less attention in the next four. I have precious little influence over what goes on in Washington, so my time is better spent focusing on things a bit more local. But I was not for Obama, obviously, and my reasoning was incredibly simple. I was even accused of being a "low information voter." And, while I chafe at the designation, I suppose it's probably true. If government is getting bigger, I'm not happy. If you tell me you want it smaller, that's all I need to hear. But my friends and coworkers looked at me funny. They understand that I have philosophical leanings, but they still looked at me like I had a hatchet coming out of my head--they couldn't understand why I would vote Republican (which, by their tone of voice and nonverbal expressions, they seemed to think was a synonym for evil).
And so I said something to them, asked them a question, and nobody, please mark my words--nobody--had an intelligible response. This is what I said:
1) Our spending as a nation is unsustainable;
2) Sooner or later we are going to hit the wall, fall of the cliff, go bankrupt etc.;
3) Besides slashing government, how are we going to fix this problem?
Admittedly I didn't ask A LOT of people this question, only a handful or so. And I certainly didn't ask a Democratic strategist, who would no doubt have a snappy and attractive response (irrespective of the truth, of course), but that's fine, I can put the question to you--how do we get around this problem?
If you have a good and workable solution for how we give our people more and more and more services and also avoid economic collapse then you just might make me a Democrat. Good luck, to the victor go the spoils!
I had a friend once tell me he'd sell me his presidential election ballot for $20. I tried to take him up on it, but he demurred.
About a year ago I decided never to vote again. Not for any philosophical reasons, but only for reasons of practicality: my vote will not make a difference. Democracy is a beautiful thing, and I am thankful for it and that I live under its life-giving branches--but you only need about a thousand or so people to decide an election.
Everything else is just . . . fluff.
"Jason, what if everyone thought like that!" scream the indignant masses.
I only think the way I do because of current conditions on the ground (i.e. about 150 million people in this country will cast a vote for their presidential candidate of choice). If everyone thought like me I would be living in an entirely different world, and therefore I would revise my position. Please come back to me when this comes to pass and I will update you on my perspective on the importance of voting.
All that to tell you this--I have again revised my position, I will be voting this year. I haven't changed any of my above views, don't worry about that. My problem is that, in spite of my better judgement, I enjoy talking politics. Here is why that is significant:
Jason's Political Life Through the Years:
0 - 17.75: Political Zero. I had no idea what politics were and what they were for. I couldn't tell a Republican from a parliamentarian from a wig from an anarchist.
17.75 - 20.25: Naive Radical Leftist. Jason, our political infant, gets idealistic girlfriend with facile notions of "the way it ought to be" and how we only need to align our consciousness properly, evolve, change, grow and soon we will be the change we wish to see in the world. I got angry with the powers that be. I got angry at the "sheeple" around me who were asleep and couldn't see they were being eaten alive by our consumerist, capitalistic culture. I posted unauthorized incendiary political cartoons around my community college campus, I argued with my parents a lot; I voted for Ralph Nader.
20.25 - 26ish: Naive Radical Republican. At some point after 20.25 I was having lunch with a friend and he asked me to explain my rationale for my Leftist leanings. I tried to explain, tried to make him understand, tried to bring it together and make it all makes sense. And I found it all just coming apart in my hands. Soon the realization arrived that the only way things would ever be the way I wanted them to be is if there was a national apocalypse and we were able to start over from scratch. Once that sunk in, my leftist ideals lost their sex appeal. Now, how a full pendulum swing to the right is birthed from that I am not exactly sure, but it happened. It started with a recommendation to AM talk radio . . . and I didn't look back for five years. I quickly became the reason why you wouldn't want to go to a party that I was at. I was loud, brash, arrogant, loud, strident. I was on a mission to bend the ignorant to my will. I developed a ferocious logic, sometimes irrespective of truth or facts, and shoved it in everyone's polite little face. Whatever topic it was, I Went There. I wrote conservative missives to my liberal professors, decried liberal bias in my linguistics and Women of Literature courses, lost a good friend because of an argument over the nature of racism over dinner one night. I always made sure I won the argument, no matter who was right, and no matter what relationship I jeopardized.
26ish - Present: Unmotivated, Quiet Conservative. Thankfully I fell out of love with politics. I realized that I had been manipulated, told to believe and espouse views to mobilize my vote, only to have the issue dropped into a garbage can or pushed to the back burner after the election was over. I saw conservatives rip apart liberals for advocating this or that, only to gain power and do the same thing they criticized. Disillusionment settled in very neatly. I stopped caring if conservatives gained power or not, seeing that no satisfaction was really delivered when they were in power. I found politics to be mostly a money and power game. It sunk in for me that the time I spent fretting about what was happening in Washington was colossally out of proportion to my influence over that environment--a ballot cast once every four years. I still care, but I try to make sure that care ranks where it should in my life--very low.
Wow, well, I didn't see that little political bio coming. I had set out to tell you where I stand this election season, and why I stand there, but I soon decided that you needed my political history to put my present day beliefs and predilections in context.
I do not believe in blog posts that are overly long, so I shall be breaking this post up.