My Political Rant

I’ve sort of waited around to write about the election because, well, I’m just so darned confused!

The level of inconsistencies and hypocrisy among candidates and supporters on both sides continues to astonish me. Just when I hear something that, to me, rings authentic and refreshing, I find out within a day that it’s just another misrepresentation of the truth.

What I find so interesting is my friends’ level of allegiance to … something? I can’t put my finger on it because for the life of me, I don’t understand how they can so vigorously defend (while vigorously insulting the opposition) either candidate/party when each has such glaring shortcomings. My friends wouldn’t tolerate such behavior in their children, yet they participate and condone meanness and truth-stretching when it comes to cheering for their politician or party. For many, support comes down to one or two “litmus test” positions. People: do you understand that the politicians know this? Once they take a stand on a certain something and let you know that, they know they have you. I beg you: listen, read, investigate. Strategists know which issues motivate the party. Sadly, these positions can be convenient distractions from other issues.

Can you not see the hypocrisy in all that’s spinning around right now? Palin supporters are virtually dismissing her daughter’s pregnancy, while I can almost guarantee that had Chelsea Clinton gotten pregnant out of wedlock, we’d never hear the end of what a bad, absent mother Hillary was. Remember the ire about Hillary’s comment in 1992 about not “baking cookies” and “standing by her man”? What criticism from the Right! Well, that’s what Sarah Palin is doing: away from her home and not baking cookies, yet the Right seems sort of quiet on that subject.

Now, the Left is quick to jump in with criticism for Palin who has chosen to pursue a career and have five children. All of a sudden, the Left is concerned with how a mother will take care of her children and her job. If Palin were a man, this wouldn’t be on the radar. The Left questions her decision to have a fifth child at her age, in her addition to her career, and with known special needs. For those critics who also claim to be “pro-choice,” aren’t you 100% “pro-choice”? A consistent position would have supported her decision to abort, while also supporting her choice to conceive whenever she chooses and bring that pregnancy to fruition. (I am pro-life, but my point here is that I abhor inconsistencies in argument and defense. Even if I disagree with your position, I respect it more when you are consistent in its presentation.)

I do agree with the consensus of the political commentators that the election has turned away from issues and towards one of personalities and culture wars. While personality and lifestyle and likability are all important, we must have a shred of discernment when it comes to lending our support. Guess what, people? At the end of the day, politics and government in today’s country are all about business. Marketing and spin and lobbyists and special interests have hi-jacked the process. Sadly, many of us play right into their hands. We are a people who have been shaped by advertising and satisfying any whim when we choose.

So, it’s no wonder that we rally around those candidates that we perceive are “just like me” or “understand my plight.” For real??? I’m not discounting their experiences or passion (which may or may not be real; I don’t know for sure because I am jaded and now don’t believe much of what anybody says), but by virtue of where and who they are, they are not just like me. No way. It’s not their current plight to be overdrawn (again!) with no milk in the house and still five days to the next payday. It’s just not.

I still don’t know who I’m going to vote for. My fear is that even if I hear or see some stance or ideology in a candidate that I support I can’t be certain he or his administration will go that way at all. In my mind, it’s all a crap-shoot. Just shut your eyes, do “eenie-meenie-miney-moe,” and hope for the best.

Our country needs critical reform and return to Constitutional standards. Unfortunately, I’m not sure we’ll get it with these candidates in 2008.

And once the election is over and the new administration is sworn in, I fear we’ll all go back to the dailiness of life. We’ll continue to complain about and cheer for superficialities while our children’s future continues a downward spiral.