April 13, 2012

Say what?

As we limp through election season, alternately moaning and groaning and kicking and screaming, one thing seems clear above all else-no one is particularly happy about the way things are going.  The problems facing the country seem as intractable as they are overwhelming, and there is general agreement that we are at a critical point as a nation.  However, polls I conducted around the neighborhood among friends and acquaintances show that no matter whom they end up casting their ballots for, it is a choice made grudgingly at best.  What they feel most passionate about is that the current field of candidates simply does not measure up.
As a friend was moved to state: “The front-runners look more like shipwreck victims who have washed up on the beach than sure-handed captains of the ship of state.” As a result, a make-the-best-of-it mood has gripped voters. Not exactly what you would call a ringing endorsement of the options offered up by our vaunted two-party system.

Election politics has always been something of a wild, unpredictable free-for-all, but the level and character of the discourse is now flirting with the absurd.  As economic problems have grown, so has voter alienation.  As a result, politics has become a fractious battle of special interests competing for votes.  One result of this competition has been the unfortunate albeit necessary focus on gimmicks to divert the public’s attention.   

But take heart: Things are not usually as bad as they seem.  Okay, maybe they are.  What is needed here is a moment to step back, take a deep breath, and try to gain a broader perspective.  And I can’t think of a better way to do this-our elected leader’s head-in-the-sand-and-ignore-them policy notwithstanding-than to look around.  Any American feeling sick and tired of the same old uninspired blather from the candidates, or the obsessive focus on possible scandal, might want to consider the campaign tactics of the Italian Moana Pozzi and the Party of Love.  At meetings, the plunge of Pozzi’s neckline was almost suicidal, and the split of her skirt reached nearly to her armpits.  But there was also Pozzi unclothed: To raise money for her campaign, she charged $10 to watch her strip at the party headquarters in Rome.  And we Americans think Jerry Brown is unconventional.
Unfortunately, however entertaining the fun and games of Italian politics may sound in comparison to our own seemingly moribund system, these distractions mean that the critical issues get completely lost all of which is to say that while our own political system is far from perfect, it still looks pretty good when viewed from the right angle.
And finally, out of the mouth of babes, with their inbuilt sense of right and wrong Urban Hipsters at the library replied when ask about all this- “Say what? Don’t you grown-ups vote these dudes into office? If they won’t do their job can’t you just fire them?”  Not a bad idea and perhaps we should lower the voting age too.


frenchtoast said...

Great,I vote for the kids.

Mona said...

"are we rafting" toward . . .

Love the post.

your gaggle of fans said...

"One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.... Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that's okay, contraception is okay. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." —Rick Santorum


Anja said...

“Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up.”
–Rick Santorum, on JFK's 1960 speech about the importance of separation of church and state (October 2011)

You made your point Mz. Edna.

Anonymous said...

I'll hug your elephant
if you kiss my ass.

Love the post, thanks.

uninspired too said...

Exactly what is in that tea we've been drinking?

Where is a harbor when we need it?

Charles said...

People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.

Bill (SM) said...

“An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.” ~T.S. Elliot

Love the post, thanks.

Alistair said...

As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests. -Gore Vidal

Enjoyed the post.

asterix said...

"Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you." Pericles 430 B.C.

Anja said...

"What this country needs are more unemployed politicians." Edward Langley