I have a guilty confession, although you may find it strange that I feel guilt when disclosing: I am so disconnected from this year's election.
Yes, I will still vote. No worries there. I know how many women struggled for so many years (centuries!) to secure this right for me. I understand how the choices affect me. At the very least, the president will make some Supreme Court decisions. At the most, the president will lead us in a certain direction and make sure to get things done.
For people who think that a president doesn't matter, especially in times of divisive politics, I'd say, go read up on LBJ. Now there was a man who knew how to get things, some good, some horrid, done.
But I've made my decisions, and I don't really feel a need to discuss them. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on further deliberation.
Which brings me to the debates, which I have not been watching.
Part of it is that I fall asleep early these days, especially if the T.V. that we're watching is boring. But part of it is weariness. I'm just not interested in politics as blood sport anymore.
On some level, I don't recognize myself. I think back to the year 2000 (12 years ago!). I not only watched the debates, but I taped them and I made my Composition II students watch them and write analytical essays about them. It was an Argumentative Essay writing class, so they analyzed the debates as argument. Some of them did a good job. Most of them seemed a bit baffled.
In retrospect, it would have been a better assignment if I had been teaching a Speech class. Ah, hindsight, my mother would say.
I was living the adjunct life, driving across multiple counties. Having 3 debates that shaped my classes helped in terms of class planning. But more than that, I felt passionately that students needed to be involved and thinking about these issues.
And now, here I am 12 years later, finding myself weary of it all. Once I couldn't get enough. I loved the debates and all the post-debate analysis (those written by my students and those written by the professionals).
Of course, once I could have told you what each candidate planned to do once in office. I felt they had concrete plans. I don't feel that way as much this year, although it may be because of my disconnectedness.
Once I felt that candidates wanted to win, not simply for the sake of winning, but because they had dreams of how to make the country better. I may not have agreed with those dreams, but at least I could have told you what they were.
I feel like a bad citizen. I feel like a pale version of myself.
Or maybe it's a healthy development. It's good to remember that it's bad to bet on one human to save us. It's early for Advent, but I remember the words of John the Baptist: "I am not the Messiah." I find it comforting to say those words when my to-do list overwhelms me.
Perhaps they will be comforting now. These men are not the messiah, no matter how much we'd like them to be our saviors.
Just as it's unhealthy for women to expect that a handsome prince will come along to transform them and sweep them off to the palace, it's unhealthy for us to expect that politicians can save us. We each have a significant amount of work to do in our own communities, just as those running for national office will have a significant amount to do on the national level.
So maybe my disconnected attitude is not as disastrous as I worry it might be. I'm not disconnected from the woes of the nation, after all.
And I'm willing to be happily surprised, to be astonished out of my apathy about national politics. I'm ready to be jolted by hope.
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