Friday, November 5, 2010

Some Post Mid-Term Elections Thoughts

When I was a teen, and really needed to consider something that I thought important, I would occasionally sneak out of the house and ride my bike that mile down to the beach.  Once I was there, I might just stare at the waves crashing onto the beach, or I would look out toward the horizon contemplating on what I should do to resolve whatever issue was on my mine.  Now here I am years later at a different beach (at least until Sunday), contemplating the political events of this past week. 

Because I have been blessed with a genuinely diverse set of friends, I know people who are both wildly excited and downright morose following the 2010 mid-term elections (I am on the morose side).  Since Tuesday, I have paid less attention to the news than usual, and I have written a post that was not reflective of my usual measured self.  For the first time since I became politically aware (around the age of 12), I actually contemplated letting it all go.

I've come to the realization that I made a grievous mistake:  I put too much faith in Barack Obama.  Now with that said, I firmly believe that he was, by far, the best choice out of the two from 2008; Sarah Palin will always be a non-starter for me, and the idea of her in higher office remains offensive to me.  But I digress.  President Obama, to me, has proven to be a meek, non-confrontational leader.  I was hoping for a Roosevelt (either would do), and I feel like we in some ways we have Hayes (the man who, for the sake of gaining the presidency, cut a deal with white Southerners to end Reconstruction).

I also, for the first time that I can recall, have been wishing that I was one of those Americans who don't really give a shit about politics or policy, that perhaps I should just focus on all of the social gay stuff, and the historical periods that always get me smiling (Reconstruction, the rise of modern American, and U.S. Sport history), or perhaps lose myself in the world created by E.M Forster and write essays about that.  Ultimately, I would wish to abandon the present, politically, and wrap myself in the historical past and simply being expressly without politics in my life.

I doubt that I will do that in the end.  But the temptation is incredibly strong right now.  It's like fighting an urge not to care anymore, a nihilistic desire to abandon the current reality.  Crazy sounding, isn't it?  It's likely that my conservative friends will be surprised and mildly amused by my reaction to this week.  So be it.  But, I want no one to misunderstand my feelings:  Democrats have been disappointing regarding issues that I find important, Republicans seem only interested in cutting taxes and talking about cutting spending, while growing government, and demonizing everyone who doesn't hold their political points of view.

I am tired, but I cannot give up.  That is too easy.  But I really need to take some time to sort out my next steps.  Maybe I will just spend the weekend awash in romantic comedies like "The Best Man," "Notting Hill," "Love Jones," and "Jeffrey."  Or perhaps I could remove myself from this world and visit Middle Earth or Hogwarts.  Because, right now, almost anything seems better than what I am feeling right now.

Boy am I glad that I am at the beach this week.


Josh G. said...

Come up to Boston for a visit (we had a Democratic sweep here in MA). Or, if you need a sci-fi fix, watch the newest version of Doctor Who that started in 2005 so you can escape and hear nice British accents.

Scott said...

I've been frustrated too about the seemingly timid approach the Administration has taken, particularly on some issues that I personally care about.

I have a suggestion Free. When you get a chance read Jonathan Alter's book "The Promise" about Obama's first year in office. It gives a bit of perspective.

It's easy to forget 2 years later the full magnitude of the crisis Obama faced before he even walked into the Oval Office. He had to spend an enormous amount of political capital even before he took the oath on highly controversial measures just to prevent a total economic meltdown.

Alter's White House sources are clear that there was, right from the start, a sort of "policy triage" process in which certain measures (Cap-and-trade, union card-check, ending DADT, closing Guantanamo, etc) that Obama considered important, but that would NOT be acted on--at least not right away--because what was important could not distract from what was critical.

After reading "The Promise" I'm not only less critical of Obama, my respect for him has grown.

Anonymous said...

Or...maybe you are experiencing the frustration of our "two sizes fits all" political system.

Does the name Ross Perot ring a bell? He was a voice of moderation, and by garnering about 1 vote in 5 he tempered the majority parties away from the extremists.

To the media, compromise is boring, and does not fuel ratings. So for now we have the statistical outliers filling our screens. Even the most reasonable amongst us appears far-flung when attempting to dialogue with the kookiest of candidates (and what a convention they held this election). Ring mistress Palin pours gasoline on every fire and somehow derives strength instead of scorn. She is a symptom of our economic distress (the charismatic self-appointed leader).

Politics are frustrating, but with a measured steady plan, on can likely navigate improvements over time.

This round went to the last defenders of "What ever you say, so long as the same white people are really in charge and equality doesn't happen in my lifetime." - next go around, economic and demographic realities will speak, and not in a whisper.

I'm just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

NYTimes article discussing how independent voters are dismissing the two crappy choices the two big parties offer up.

It won't be nearly so much about party labels in the future, and we may actually see some political velocity, instead of the rotting stand-off we've been captive to.

I'm just sayin'...

Micheal Sisco said...

Free: I'm right with you. Disappointed ... disillusioned ... downright irritated. I'm thinking that this will be a LONG two years (Bush 3.0) for everyone but white, str8 CEOS who are infected with the Protestant strain of the god virus ... Prozac, anyone?