A couple of years ago, I abandoned the Republican party as the party. I went in determined to register as an Independent; but when I found there was an Unaffiliated option, I opted for that. Why? Because the Republican party hasn’t represented my political views for years; and in the years that I’ve been registered Unaffiliated, they haven’t done a damn thing to convince me to return to their fold.
I’ve also stopped voting against people. You know how it is, the two candidates running for an office are for all intents and purposes the same amount of useless (they are running for political office, after all), but one is worse than the other by some standard. I’ve stopped voting against that guy, if the guy running against him also doesn’t represent me and the views I hold. When I’d rather not vote for either of them, I won’t; and if there’s a write in line, I write my own name in there.
There is a downside to being Unaffiliated. I recognize that I am among those who make Colorado a swing state, (which is a ludicrous term because Colorado is obviously a left-leaning state). I’m not apologetic for adding to this number, mind. But when I hear that Obama (or any other candidate) is coming for a visit, I just want to groan.
I’m utterly appalled by the amount of mail I get for various candidates or causes. I don’t even look at them. My daughter loves feeding things into the shredder, and everything that’s glossy that’s got some politician’s smiling mug on it gets handed to her to shred. All that money spent on their propaganda materials and into the bin it gleefully goes in tiny little pieces. For the candidates that I simply despise like Mark Udall or John Hickenlooper, I sometimes wish they could feel the pain of their images being shredded into hundreds of pieces of confetti.
I also hate TV commercials where politicians are battering each other, making accusations and trying to make the other person look bad. I prefer to stream episodes of Top Gear or Doctor Who from Amazon because there are no commercials when I do that. It’s nice that there are no commercials period of any sort, but I am especially glad there are no political ads when I do this.
It doesn’t even pay to opt out. The medium of television is like a mishandled shotgun, it indiscriminately, remorselessly assaults everyone within its range. It doesn’t matter if you agree, disagree, or don’t even play the game; when you watch TV, you’re still brutalized by the issues with which politicians are beating each other over the head. Which is a really good argument for not bothering with TV.
Then there’s the penultimate invasion of my privacy: the political poll phone calls. I am registered on both the national and the state’s no-call list, but that doesn’t matter: these guys have made themselves exempt from the laws about harassing people via the phone. Is anyone shocked? Didn’t think so. The only thing we can count on politicians doing is ignoring the laws they force on us.
I don’t even entertain these fools. When they call, I deal harshly with them and make sure they understand their questions are not welcome. I do not feel honored to be asked, and I think a lot of people on the receiving end of my wrath are surprised by how much I hate their intrusions. And god help any of these pollsters that use automated marketing.
My contempt for politicians carries over to the people they send out into the world like missionaries of poison. The last one that came to my door got as far into his introduction as …from the campaign of before I told him to go away.
Now, I recognize part of the price of what we call freedom in this country now means I have to deal with this every two years. I’m sure there are some people reading this in some country somewhere wishing they had these sorts of complaints; I’m sure they’d consider it a good problem to have. I guess I appreciate, in some perverse definition of the term, having the problem to complain about.
Here’s the thing. These intrusions bring with it more than annoyance. I recognize that the hatred and contempt in political ads will be turned toward the voters as soon as the more immediate threat of not getting elected passes. Further, these ads are trying to distill complex issues into 30-second spots, and no important political issue is that easily classifiable.
The implication is that I won’t do my own research into candidates and issues, and most of the candidates would prefer I didn’t. Unfortunately for each of them, I do my own research, and I vote accordingly.
When I was still registered as a Republican, I resented the idea that because I was registered Republican I would automatically agree and vote for the Republican candidate. In their campaigns, politicians push a dehumanizing agenda and the press eats it up and reports on it as if they’re not Soylent Green ingredients as well. These people have bigger problems than convincing me that the enemy of his enemy is my friend.
I view everyone who seeks out and campaigns for positions of authority with suspicion. Truly great leaders have to be convinced that they’re the person for the job and they’ll step down as soon as the crises for which they are needed are over.
I’m looking forward to this phase of the Charade of American Politics to be over. I cynically doubt there are enough people with similar views as my own to effect any sort of real change over this very broken system of politics in our country. But I’m a closet optimist, so I can’t help but hope.