Friday, January 27, 2012

politics schmolitics

I confess...it is hard for me to define, and hard for me to evaluate, my political involvement these days... 

I certainly learned liberal views in my youth. I had an extra level of attention to women's matters....the teacher required a permission slip for me to do my chose ninth grade term paper topic of female circumcision in The Color Purple. I sat very far from the top-down management boy in my AP US History group (LOVED "opposites" day....he had to be all for the little folks and turned colors as he tried to do so, I just really had fun being the dictator)

I think getting active in college had a lot to do with proximity to start.  A few folks in my building were going to the Haverford Activits Collective meeting and I tagged along.  My roommate EH headed up a fight against Internet censorship that had us making a million little blue ribbons in our living room.  Later that year, reading period fell on 12/13 and we went to DC....my 18th birthday, in DC was darn cool.   I'm not sure that many of our meetings had been well-researched on their sides.  Saw Santorum, then junior senator for PA, and recall his folks solving the homelessness problems by having churches take people in.  I asked who his church had assigned to his home but didn't get a reply.  We had a photo op with Dole who is smiling amid seven liberal Democrats and three communists.

I did the requisite campaign work in college too.  In the first go on a House campaign, our candidate lost by about 80 votes.  In a U.S. House race, that's well below a percentage point.  It hammered home the reality that voting does matter (and the first time I voted, I'd "met" everyone I voted for...counting working for a Clinton rally as a meet).  The next time, I was still only a volunteer but started a full year before the race when there was one staffer, me, and the same roomie from the blue ribbons.  "We" won.  My friend had become a staffer but I never did.  Still, the original staff girl touched me when she said the three of us really made a congressman b/c it never could have gotten there without the early days of check copying and filing and such.  

I believed.  And have seen that "it matters"....but....  

Fast forward. 

I consider myself more informed than average, but I find the whole world of politics frustrating.  To use a phrase I've stolen from somewhere, I'm not sure there's much "there" there.  I can't stomach the debates because it feels like as much pageantry as Toddlers & Tiaras.  I read the details of the State of the Union the next morning....it is much less annoying with the forty minutes of clapping.  I care who I vote for (and will most likely vote for Obama again...I don't see much case in which I wouldn't), but I can't get up the excitement I used to have to work at or even attend a campaign event....especially for a national level race that feels too big and too, well, political.

I'm not sure there's a point here.  I think it isn't unusual to have more spirit at 20 than at 34 for such things.  It is sad.  Yet, I'm not sure if it's "me" or "them" that's the issue....

2 comments:

Annabelle said...

I think once you are old enough to see patterns repeating, it gets a lot harder to maintain the kind of enthusiasm for politics that you can come up with in college. After all, some of that excitement is about the possibility for change, right? And sure, change does happen, but it's never as revolutionary as you imagine it will be when you're young. It still matters, but it's no longer as compelling to put everything you have into.

(So speaks someone who worked for the federal government in her optimistic days!)

clg1213 said...

relevant point. and thanks for always reading my rambles, annabelle!!!