With the growing din of Presidential mudslinging promising to drown out the noise of other societal Hot Topics from here til November, I want nothing more than to fall into a Van Winklenian slumber until election day. When once I was a young upstart eager to take on debate with all Arch Conservative Foes about American-Imperialism-This and Impending-Environmental-Disaster-That, today I just want to silently back out of the room. Move along, nothing to see here.
I hate that I’ve developed such an apathetic attitude; civic engagement and debate are, after all, the backbone of a healthy democracy. Unfortunately, the majority of current public political discourse – if it could even be called that – has devolved into a toxic display of windbaggery, equal parts Snake Oil Salesman’s pitch, and a rabid preacher’s fury intent on getting our collective panties whipped into knots. There is barely a shred of anything truly useful in any of it to inform or empower the electorate; its main purpose is as a tool of mass distraction, and in upping the lucrative Entertainment ante among news outlets.
I also don’t bother with heated debate because in most cases it’s a pointless exercise. Just as I know that there is really no way in hell anyone’s going to convince me to shift my core beliefs, no matter how many fetus-in-trash-can photos they brandish or snappy photo/sound-bite memes they circulate on Facebook, I have to appreciate that there are folks with opposing viewpoints who are as staunchly committed to theirs as I am to mine. And that is Way Cool. We can agree to disagree, no energy is wasted; Awesome. As long as you truly believe something because you came to that conclusion on your own, that you’re down for a cause not because some sweaty radio blowhard barked it in your ear, or a dreamy-eyed intern at PETA told you to do it, s’all good in my book. God bless America.
Who I really take issue with are the spin-swallowing hoards mindlessly signing on to any random ridiculous rhetoric of the day, be it the thinly-veiled racism of the Birther movement, or the attempt to ban circumcision by (anti-Semitic?) lefty do-gooders, what have you. We’ve become knee-jerk reactionaries to every scent of a pseudo-story, a population of sensational headline readers that never gets past the first sentence of a news article, because our opinion has already been formed in the frenzy. Why bother?
And I will never, ever understand the vast legions of folks who simply DO NOT VOTE, a useless mass that somehow makes up the majority of our citizenry. Sure, it’s your “right” to “not vote,” just like it’s your right to consume three cheeseburgers and a 64-oz Coke every day for lunch; but, as will prove true with the cheeseburger scenario, there will be long-term repercussions to your choice - or perhaps more correctly in this instance, your non-choice. Repercussions such as … well, just take a quick look around. Are you 100% pleased with what you see? No? Well then.
So here’s to a good, long nap until November …. Or perhaps not a nap, but a dream-like moonwalk with my breath held tight, so as not to inhale the toxicity in the air. Stay focused on the future, America, don’t drink the Kool-Aid, and please, please try and do some homework before the big exam.