Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Politics, and why I stopped caring

Well the elections are over and I couldn't be happier. Not because the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives and the Senate both nationally and in my home state. I wish they'd lost quite frankly. Not because I think the situation in Iraq will improve now. It won't. Not because I think the economy will suddenly improve. It's already in pretty good shape as it is and this election should have no effect on that.

I'm happy because, at least for now, the campaigning is over. No longer will I have to watch those extremely vile and negative campaign adds that permeated the airwaves. This has to be one of the nastiest, mean spirited and just plain despicable campaign seasons I've ever witnessed. Both parties are guilty of appalling behavior in this one. This was especially true here in Indiana. Races between Julia Carson and Eric Dickerson, Sodrell and Hill and Orentlicher and Densborn were downright ugly. There was no discussion of the issues. Just name calling, mud slinging and wild, distorted accusations. And much of this was funded by the National Democratic and Republican parties.

I've come to realize that politics, by it's very nature, is inherently corrupt. Most politicians are primarily concerned with gaining power and maintaining or expanding it. At any cost. They put their own self interests above the interests of the people who elect them. Or they cow-tow to special interest groups who give them money and kick-backs.

Most politicians are ego-maniacs. They'd have to be to want to go into politics in the first place. They don't do things for you because they want to help you. They do it for your admiration, your adulation. They want to be worshiped. They are also, for the most part, elitist snobs. Especially the Democrats. They're the privledged, Harvard educated rulers of the world and we're the dumb ignorant masses who don't know what's good for us. So they have to tell us. They have to decide for us, take care of us, micromanage every aspect of our existence cause we're too stupid to do it ourselves. They say they're working for you. That they're for the common man, but they wouldn't want you moving in next door to them. They actually hold most of us in contempt. John Kerry's recent gaff about getting stuck in Iraq illustrates that point nicely. I don't think he was trying to denigrate the military with that statement. He was telling us that unless we've attended an Ivy league school, we're a bunch of slack-jawed booger eating morons.

Not every politician fits into this category. There are a few (Dick Lugar comes to mind) who I believe are people of integrity. But they're in the vast minority. I believe some politicians, especially in the House of Representatives go in with good intentions. But once they get a taste of that power they start to falter. They become junkies. Power junkies. And they need to feed the habit. And it grows and grows. Along with their over-inflated egos. And then they are lost.

I'm almost equally disgusted with both parties. The Republicans have really let me down over the last several years. They are supposed to be the fiscally conservative party. But government spending is out of control. Pork reigns supreme. The deficit is huge. Bush hasn't met a spending bill he doesn't like. What happened to the veto. Does Bush even know what that is. Then there's the lobbying scandals and the sex scandals. Those did the Republicans in this election as much as Iraq did. It just shows that the Republicans are as morally bankrupt as the Democrats. The increasing importance of religion in the Republican agenda makes me nervous. And now there's even a chance that Roe V. Wade is in jeopardy.

As bad as the Republicans have been the Democrats are even worse. They don't like to discuss the issues. They love to criticize. They love to smear their opponents with accusations, distortions and flat out lies. When you see them on TV, they're the ones yelling, interrupting and shouting down their opponents. Why are they yelling so much when they have nothing to say? Screaming "Iraq, Iraq, Iraq" over and over again isn't a discussion or a solution. It accomplishes nothing. But they don't have an answer for the ongoing difficulties in Iraq. They have no plan to fight terrorism. And I do believe that the threat from Islamic fundamentalists is the number one problem in the world today. Not just for us but for everyone. It's the most important issue. The Democrats offer no leadership. They offer no solutions to anything. Their usual answer to everything is to raise taxes, spend money on worthless programs that don't work, expand government and their control over us, and increase "entitlements" to make us even more dependent on them.

The politicians are also extremely partisan. They blindly follow the party platform, rarely crossing the aisle to vote with the other party. I can't believe that all Republicans are against gun control. I can't believe all Democrats are pro-choice. My own personal views don't coincide with any one political party (Libertarian comes closest I guess). Can't these politicians think for themselves. Don't they have strong convictions about anything? Important legislation gets voted down merely because one party doesn't want the other to have a "victory" and be able to say they did something good for the American people. Pathetic.

And the media exacerbates the whole thing. They are clearly biased. The major networks and CNN are clearly left leaning. Despite their claims of "fair and balanced", Fox news has a definite conservative bent. These organizations don't report the news. They distort it. They want to influence your thinking, your opinions. They don't want to present you with information and then have you decide things for yourself. They also seize on every little comment, whether innocent or not, and blow it way out of proportion. The media creates many of the so-called political scandals. Partly out of the desire for ratings, but partly to try and destroy their enemies, that is anyone who doesn't agree with their political views and leanings.

What depresses me most of all is the lack of civility exhibited by the politicians, the pundits and the media. And Americans in general. Politics has become mean spirited. People have become intolerant of others views. "Either you agree with me or you're an ass-hole". The word "hate" is used with abandon. I don't understand it. You may not agree with another persons political views but does that mean you have to hate them? I didn't vote for Bill Clinton. I don't think he did much of anything to help our country. But I don't hate him. Hell, I'd like to go out and party with him. And I could care less about Monica Lewinsky. Political debate has changed from a discussion of the issues to name calling and seeing what sort of skeletons you can find in your opponents closet. I don't like to discuss politics with friends and acquaintances anymore. That's because people can't debate reasonably. They take anything you say as a personal attack against them. It gets uncomfortable and ugly.

So I'm dropping out of the whole political scene. I don't care anymore. I'm not paying attention. It doesn't really matter whose in power. Things will only get worse. The Democrats will have their chance for 6 or 8 years and they won't do any better. An angry electorate will then throw them out and give the Republicans another chance. And they'll fuck things up. And so on, and so on... There's only one thing that could have any chance of stopping this downward spiral. And that is:

Term Limits

But that will never happen. Our corrupt politicians would never allow it.


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