Thursday, October 14, 2004

Timid

I picked up two Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers. I haven't put them on my car yet.

I live in the heart of Bush Country, that's why.

Isn't is strange that in the Land of the Free, I should feel trepidation about announcing my political affiliations? Because I fully expect if I do so, I must be prepared to argue politics with anyone who steps up and says "Oh yeah?" And I'm not really prepared to do that, for a number of reasons.

1) I try hard not to pay too much attention to politics because I suspect it is a leading cause in mental illness.
2) You can get cooties from politicians
3) I'm not really jazzed about ANY politician we've got up right now.

You see, I'm of the opinion that marketing has ruined our political system. The information age has destroyed it all. Information is just data until someone spins it, interprets it, puts it next to a picture and draws a conclusion, samples out 5 second snips and makes a 30 second soundbite. And candidates, by nature, want to appeal widely. Which means they go for the average, which means they end up frozen in the middle of something, somewhere, leaning closer to whichever extreme edge they also want to scoop up. And they have to be perfect because all their dirt will be dug, etc. etc.

What really makes a good political leader? A person who's made mistakes -- big ones, whoppers -- and learned from them and moved on. That's how leaders are made. They tend to be imperfect. They always have flaws somewhere because they are human beings and the qualities that make a good leader tend to go hand in hand with certain kinds of flaws. A good political leader isn't necessarily an altruist, but they can at least be honest. Being a good political leader doesn't always mean being a good person (that's historically proven) but good people sometimes become good political leaders...if you have a realistic idea of what a good person is (like you and me).

These are the complications that make me shy away from politics. I'm not interested in proving myself right to someone eager to prove me wrong. I think the American People as a big, undifferentiated Jello-like blob interpreted through spot polls and marketing analysts have gotten exactly the government we really want rather than what we idealistically want (since we can't get our ideals to mesh anyway and aren't willing to pick a spot -- we tug and pull toward our respective far ends and so everything sits in the center-ish area where not too many people are happy but not too many are really pissed about it).

So now I have to get up the courage to put that sticker on my car. I should wash my car first, I guess. Ugh. I'm going to be having the sign war with my neighbor across the street with the Bush/Cheney poster in his front yard.

Not that I talk to him anyway.

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