I watch the news each night in bewilderment. A political candidate goes around essentially telling lies, portions of his campaign rhetoric debunked a hundred times over by the media, which only makes the candidate’s supporters even more certain of his credibility. On the other side, the one who said this campaign would be different is stooping nearly as low as his competitor; he has no choice, everyone reasons. Very little is fair in politics.
How is one to take a mindful approach to politics when so much seems to be on the line? I am tempted to sit here and tick off the reasons why I am sad, angry, disturbed and confused about what I see coming from the Republicans: are they really still using the “Bridge to Nowhere” in stump speeches? Do hard-hit factory workers in the Midwest actually give credence to awkward, populist messages from a man who owns so many houses he can’t keep track of them?
And what about Democrats? The “White Privilege” message circulating the Internet isn’t doing much to heal the partisan and racial rifts that are holding our nation back in a world that is more than happy to leave us behind.
Everything I felt on the night Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech – the optimism for the next four years and beyond that could have redefined Generation X – has been vaporized by the unending stream of rancor being let on the American people.
Those soaring feelings of hope have been replaced in a mind hardening for combat. I find myself reading dissections of Sarah Palin’s background, mentally cheering as pundits tear apart her pronounced readiness for the White House (“You can never blink, Charlie…it’s all God’s will, don’t ‘cha know?”). This woman has raised a huge family on the American Frontier and still found time to achieve a political status few women will ever know; what on Earth am I cheering for?
I don’t like being made to feel this way. It was, perhaps, naïve to walk away from Obama’s acceptance speech thinking that this campaign would be different, but that sense is what motivated to support him from the very beginning.
I am not naïve enough, however, to feel betrayed. This is simply the reality of national politics in America, which is the biggest let down of all.
Come back in four years. If we haven’t managed to melt the entire planet (or its financial markets), I’ll listen, just don’t expect me to open my wallet or my heart so quickly next time around.