I'm seriously thinking of giving up The Politics completely. Truly, I am. The past couple of years I've removed myself gradually, anyway--with a few relapses here and there--because it has all gotten to be so much noise.
Those of us in the Swing States (CNN currently lists them as Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, and New Hampshire; The NYT adds Wisconsin) are in a constant media maelstrom of Super PAC propaganda. In the evening hours especially, political adverts are stacked one on top of the other in a relentless barrage of partisan garbage. Every single commercial break in Ohio has at least one (and that number would be a blessing), but more often, there are three or four in a row. I witnessed the same fusillade of campaign proselytizing in Virginia in June. Virginians also have a Senate race to decide, as do Ohioans, so we both get an extra helping of PAC crap.
I don't even listen anymore. Yes, I've read The Research: I know that the reason the ads are so negative is because They Work. And, yes, I was one of the ones who said that Pres. Obama needed to get tough and dirty with the republicans because that's how they played the game. For the record, I still say that.
But, thanks to the Supreme Court decision in 2010, we're all on overload. A modicum of relief is coming, however: On September 11th, the official campaigns of both presidential candidates are suspending ads. Additionally, the primary pro-Obama Super PAC has agreed to stop running commercials in deference to the day as well. But I want more.
I want the ads to be confined to one political ad per candidate per commercial break. I want the ads to run only three months before any election. I want there to be Ad-Free Days during the week, decided by each network, and that can be decided locally or nationally; I don't care. I think those parameters are more than fair. I've stated no regulations here about positive or negative; none regarding the Super PAC's monies or whether or not they have to be traceable or local in origin. That stuff is already a lost cause.
The Politics used to be Fun for me. Now it's ugly and tedious and tiresome, like cleaning the basement or arguing with a friend. Whenever I can, I get rid of anything that's not fulfilling me. So, The Politics has to go.
Part of my disgust, I think, has been all my reading and research into President Lincoln. He was far from perfect, but in his service to the country, he remained thoughtful and mindful of the country. He knew that some of the advisers he had around him had personal agendas and personal animosity toward him, but he valued them for their common desire to preserve the Union and for the expertise they brought in achieving that outcome. He was a man who faced many tribulations simultaneously in all facets of his life: a country at war, the deaths of his sons, a mercurial wife, a rebellious Congress, an often melancholy spirit, a series of failures as General for his Army of the Potomac, the cruelty of a fickle public and press, but he worked tirelessly for the restoration of his country.
The irony that my favourite president is a republican is not lost on me. Yet, one would have to search deeply and profoundly to find any similarity between the current republican party and the party of Abraham Lincoln. I wonder if he would be able to call himself a republican were he to find himself alive today.