Attn: Armchair Politician

September 23, 2008

I doubt I’ll vote.  I really dislike politics.  A lot of people keep asking me who “my candidate is” (It’s funny how we take ownership of politicians like we do of sports teams.  I don’t like sports either.) I have nothing to tell them; usually I just turn it around and get their opinion on the political game.  And I know that I’ll get a lot of people telling me it’s my patriotic duty to vote, that if no-one voted the system would fall apart.  I totally agree, and the day everyone else stops voting is the day I’ll become very passionate about politics.  But that day will doubtful come, and I’m content to sit back and let everyone else duke it out with forwarded emails and Saturday night live impersonations.  

            And truth be told, I absolutely hate listening to people talk about politics.  I get that gross feeling like when I talk about someone behind their back, or when all the cool kids sit and snicker at everything some poor dorky kid does.  Like nothing McCain does can be good because he’s conservative, or nothing Barack does is Christ-like because he’s liberal.  I actual had a lady in my office compare Barack to Hitler the other day, and that’s when I realized that I want nothing to do with this.

             As a side thought:  If half the country believes something…anything…It’s worth examining. No matter what I think I know about an issue, no matter how black and white it seems, I’m not arrogant enough to assume that half of our country is idiotic and doesn’t know anything.  And I mean this in regards to anything: Pro-life vs. Pro-Choice, War vs. peace movement, ect.  Because a lot of the people I meet who disagree with me, are actually very intelligent and kind people…not morons…not Hitler.

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6 Responses to “Attn: Armchair Politician”

  1. Gabriel Says:

    Sounds like Godwin’s Law.

    I hate politics, too.

  2. joelmw Says:

    @Mike: The sports analogy is good and there’s a lot about that that I agree with–not all of it, but much. Powerful close, too. I think it sums up a lot of what I’m about to say (I wrote this bit after the fact). Nice post in general.

    @Gabriel: nice on the Godwin’s Law. reductio ad Hitlerum. Not sure I knew that. Shweet.

    At the risk of being seen as a dweeb or worse (which I most certainly am, so, I suppose, why hide?), I love politics, sort of.

    There’s a lot of political discussion that I don’t like. I don’t like the lies, the bigotry. I don’t like the fact that we all come with our preconceptions about what and who is right and wrong and then find and mold the facts to fit around them. I don’t like that we so often refuse to listen to each other. I don’t like the glorifying and the demonizing and the melodrama (well, okay, I admit, sometimes it can be fun).

    Most of what I don’t like, though, is when people attach to an untruth and refuse to let go of it, sometimes even, when confronted with it, rationalizing it as an expression of something else, something, I guess, deeper (?), that justifies the apparently inconsequential dishonesty. I don’t like candidates and strategists and 527s and spammers who deliberately misrepresent their opponents and/or deal in innuendo, who appeal to the baser instincts in us all and, unfortunately, strike a chord with assorted family and friends; I hate that disappointment and I really hate having to tell my friends and family that they’re spreading lies; I like even less the disappointment when they won’t correct themselves, and so the lie continues.

    But . . .
    It’s an awful lot like discussions about God and religion in all of these ways and, really, discussions of anything important that affects our lives fundamentally.

    And sometimes there are moments, usually one-on-one, when we can be vulnerable, expose the chinks in our own armor, admit our partial or total ignorance, concede the extremity or other lunacy of our or our caucuses position, platform or posture.

    Sometimes we may find that we agree with our raving-reactionary, loony-leftist or irritatingly-noncommittal friends and family about some things. Truth is, we agree about a lot of things, maybe most things.

    And it’s not that the disagreements don’t matter. They matter a lot. But part of how they matter is that they reveal our differences. They reveal that while we are all the same we’re also not all the same, and that’s a good thing.

    Sometimes we discover that we appreciate those differences and appreciate each other.

    Sometimes we find ways to actually get things done or at least arrive at a point of common purpose that honors our shared and even our conflicting values.

    Sometimes we disagree so strongly and so essentially that we can’t quite find a way to bridge that gap, but we love each other anyway.

    Sometimes, agreement or not, appreciation or not, important issues and ideas rise to the surface and face the light of day or reveal the darkness of our (mis)understanding. Sometimes important truths are articulated in a way that clarifies and motivates and inspires.

    And along the way, there’s plenty to laugh at.

    So, for those sometimes, I think it’s worth it. Because the sometimes are points of connection and humanity. The sometimes are a tearing away of the facade and a revelation of the human heart.

    Hell no, it’s not always pretty–least of all, in process. Hell yeah, it can be costly to get there. And let’s be honest, there are elements in society–indeed, voices in our own souls–that wage war against vulnerability and honesty and genuine dialog and revelation. But that’s all the more reason to fight the fight.

  3. frazyah Says:

    Mike, I admire your courage to hold on to the controversial “right to not vote” stance, and I wish you the best of luck in persevering through this election season. May you not be swayed by the panderings of Washington.

  4. gregroy Says:

    I agree whole heartedly. For example: I was at cvs just yesterday. i handed the clerk my laundry detergent (2 for 1!) and he said “how bout them long horns?” to which i replied “how bout ’em.” then he started going on about some b.s. about their defense and i stopped listening and walked away from him as if he weren’t talking. Rude? maybe. but people do it to them selves. Assuming that just cause i live in texas doesn’t mean i like or follow football, just like living here doesn’t mean i have to follow politics. mike, i find more and more every day that i dont belong here. haha

  5. frazyah Says:

    Hey mike, I was just wondering how your honesty experiment was going. You still keepin at it?

  6. steve Says:

    Get on the ball bro…It’s been 1 month.


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