I know some people love the process. They revel in it. Want to be a part of it.
I'm not one of those people.
I hate it. I hate pretty much everything about it. I think it's a vile system that thrives on greed, power, game-playing, and dishonesty. Mostly, I hate what politics have become for the ordinary person - this polarizing, living, breathing entity of US versus THEM.
If you're not with us, you're against us.
Have we ever, as a nation, been so divided? I don't think we have. I mean, every election year is ugly, no doubt, but right now? It's all so disgusting, so mean, so unpleasant, so...
I've always been a politically opinionated person. I've always called myself an 'Independent', though I pretty much always vote one way. And since there are really only two ways to vote, I probably always will. Though there are similarities in the parties (I believe they are both controlled by corporate America), there are some significant differences, and several of those differences are so important to me that I will probably never jump the fence.
If I could? I'd remove myself from the process entirely. I'd ignore everything about it and go about my merry way, completely ignorant and blissful. But I can't. I feel that I have to vote, if for no other reason than to honor the women who fought so hard for my right to do so. And in order to vote, I have to be informed (as difficult as it may be to inform oneself, given the unreliability of the media and unbelievable amount of utter garbage that people spread around). But I will vote in this election as I have in every election in which I've participated - with a heavy heart... with the knowledge that there is no one who makes me feel really good about casting my vote.
There are, however, those who would make me feel much worse and I see it as my responsibility to do my little part (for whatever it's really worth) to make sure those people don't make it to their desired offices. But in the end, there isn't, nor has there ever been, anyone I feel wholeheartedly good about voting for.
Someone asked me the other day who my ideal candidate would be. Though there are a few people in national government I would like to see make a play for the presidency at some point, it's hard to say whether or not I'd want them to be elected until they actually do it and spell out their plans and platforms. I know the sort of person I'd like to see, though...
First, I want an atheist - someone who is not ruled by dogma, but by Humanism. A woman would be great. A black woman would be even better (as long as the country grows up and doesn't spew the ugly bigoted vitriol that's been hurled at our current President for the past 8 years). Yes, a black woman atheist with degrees in economics and perhaps the law or education. With kids in public school. I want a candidate whose moral compass is always pointing north, who always tries to do the right thing, regardless of who's trying to line her pockets. I want a candidate who sees all citizens as equal under the law, and who somehow inspires every lawmaker under her to do the same. A candidate who understands that we live in a global society and that peace is what we should be actively striving for, across the globe. I want a candidate who truly understands what it's like to live in the REAL America - the America that will bankrupt you if you get sick, the America where affordable housing is a joke and the homeless are treated like a disease, the America where the social care systems are designed to keep people in poverty, the America where for-profit prisons and the 'war on drugs' only creates more criminals, the America where guns are more plentiful than common sense, the America where wanting a college degree means being so far in debt upon graduation that you have to work for decades to pay off student loans, the America where being old is absolutely terrifying for a large number of seniors.
And I want a candidate who can find a way - some way - to make the parties work together.
I don't know that such a person exists. Well, that's not true. I'm certain she exists. She exists all over America. But I can't imagine her wanting to be President. And maybe that's the problem.
Anyone who actually wants the job is someone I don't want to have the job.
So, we're stuck with the ones who want to run.
So, for now, though I can't remove myself from the process entirely, I will do so to the extent that I can. I'm as finished as I can be and still be informed enough to vote. I don't care what anyone else says or does about any of it. Few people want to discuss or learn; most people simply want their points of view to be heard... but hardly anyone's listening.
This next year is going to be torture. Thankfully, I don't have cable, so I can't see the campaign ads. I'm still in the process of limiting my social media feed and for the people I don't want to stop following, I'll just scroll quickly past the posts I don't want to see. I have to remind myself to stop reading the comments after nearly every online article, political or not, as in an election year, everything becomes political.
I'll make it through.
And then the election will be over.
And the bitching about the new President will begin.
Yeah. I'm really not happy about this.