This is my least favorite season. What season is that you ask? Election season. As I’ve accumulated years on this earth I have come to loathe politics. When I was younger I eagerly engaged in debates and discussions about the issues of the day. I thought I was smart and well-read and had something to say. But I could never really shake my old man’s favorite line: “opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one.” Yeah, I know it was not HIS line, countless others have said it, but it fit my dad’s personality to a T. He had a boatload of opinions that he was happy to holler about and he was an asshole, to boot. I loved my father, but he really was a difficult sort.
Anyway, the longer I spent listening to people’s opinions the less I became interested. I’m happy you think cucumber-ginger ice cream is the greatest flavor on earth but I’ll stick with chocolate chip. I mean, really? Do I give a shit? No! And when I say I don’t give a shit that does not mean I disapprove. If you like that stuff, go for it. Just don’t shove it down my throat. In fact, I am cool with whatever floats your boat. I like happy people and if you want to do tae-bo at the crack of dawn with a gym full of other sweaty folks, more power to you. I’ll be sipping Peet’s and eating oatmeal because that’s how I roll.
Back to politics. Politics, for me, is intellectual death. The point of politics is to get votes. To get votes, you say what you think people want to hear. You keep it simple, and you lie if necessary, and it is almost always necessary to lie. Now I’ve got no beef with that. Really, lying is part of life. I’m a big boy. I accept that ugly fact. Advertising is lying and this country’s economy is built almost entirely upon advertising. Only a fool or a sociopath would look you in the eye and tell you with utmost certainty that his mass-produced take-out pizza is better than the other guy’s mass-produced take-out pizza.
That’s politics. Passing out the verbal equivalent of indistinguishable mass-produced take-out pizza slices. And claiming “mine tastes better, really!” I’m a good citizen. I obey the law, mostly, and stay out trouble. I don’t take what isn’t mine and I don’t mess with other people. I drive defensively and I use my turn signals. I pay my taxes and I vote. I don’t mind voting for “the lesser of two evils” and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I just don’t want to hear it anymore. I’m done. There’s nothing new, just the same old recycled jibber-jabber. My mind dies when I watch a political event, be it a speech, a convention, or a debate.
But this is the season. We get to elect a new El Presidente this November and by golly there’s a host o’folks chasing that dream. They are going to talk a lot and say very little. And all of us will line up this way or that, get in our tribes and holler and wave our banners, and try to stay friends through it all. But “messaging” hurts my brain. It’s bad for me. I don’t need and I don’t want “talking points.” I don’t see the world that way. I don’t think in “pro” and “con.” Those are just mental straitjackets. I see a continuum, colors that grade into each other like the spectrum, like a rainbow. I have a hard time with black and white despite my fondness for those kinds of movies.
I’m not a complete fool. I know some of those characters out there hoping to be POTUS are dangerous fuck-ups. I’m sure we could disagree readily on which ones. And one of them might win and fuck things up. I’m picking the one I think has the least chance of really blowing chow. I suppose a lot of the other voters think along the same lines. In the end, we’ll probably get someone not-too-great but not-too-horrible either and we’ll muddle along, much like before. I think we might be victims of our own expectations, that is, we hope for far more from our candidates than they can actually deliver.
I suppose I’m thankful for living in a democracy. Actually, it’s a republic, but we don’t seem to call it that nowadays. We get reminded all the time about the superiority of democracy but we forget that it’s a messy business. But, like taking out the garbage, I’m willing to do it. Taking out the garbage doesn’t kill brain cells, however. And if I want dead brain cells, I’ll whip up another cocktail.