every morning i wake up to NPR. which means that every morning i get a dose of politics. did the clinton campaign leave a tip or not? what shall we do about the alternative minimum tax? what will happen in pakistan? and is bhutto in cahoots with musharraf? i like being well-informed. but i have to say, it can be disheartening. there's not a day that goes by that i'm not frustrated with the state of american politics.
perhaps the biggest problem we have in our politics right now is that members of both sides of the political spectrum engage not with each other (liberals engaging with conservatives; republicans engaging with democrats) but rather with stereotypes of each other. rhetorically flamboyant engagements with straw men of the opposing political persuasion tend to sell better—both on the evening news and at the ballot box—than actual conversation and interaction. i listen to the “debate”--whether presidential or issue-driven--and recognize again that our politicians do not actually talk to each other; they talk, through soundbites, to their perceptions of their constituents (they don’t even actually talk to their constituents; only to what their advisers tell them their constituents are like). and i am frustrated. because no policy, either domestic or foreign, will succeed in furthering liberty and equality when those policies are designed to woo voters rather than to address problems, whether the policy has to do with health care or tax law or waging a war (and i think this is true of the fighting the war as much as it is of the protesting the war).
anyway. i’m pretty disgusted with american politics on both sides of the spectrum. my personal convictions line up with the liberal side of the spectrum on certain issues and the conservative side on others and the libertarian side on still others. i try to vote for candidates and measures that seem in best keeping with my convictions. it’s all i can do. well that and ending my day with a healthy dose of satire. thank you john stewart (and may the labor gods resolve the current WGA strike; if i have to survive much of the current presidential campaign without the release valve of political satire, i may just go bonkers).