Every time the pending election comes up as a topic, I have been feeling this rush of… anxiety. Guilt. Fear. Shame. And not because I think my country will again elect The Dumbest Man Alive (thank you, term limits), but because… I can’t seem to make myself care. In every election since I was old enough to understand what was going on (so, let’s say, Dukakis v. Bush), I’ve cared deeply. I’ve cared early and often. I’ve picked a candidate and followed him longingly, loyally, from the the primaries on. I’ve sweated over the numbers in Iowa and the funding declarations and the potential running mates and the position papers. I’ve known the candidates, their campaign managers and chair-people, their endorsements, their children, their positions… yeah. I’ve been wonky.
This year, however, I can’t seem to get interested in anyone, and I’ve been feeling bad about it. I’ve been hearing that it’s a monumental election — Clinton! Obama! Chuck Norris! — and I’ve been feeling like I should at least pick someone, pay some attention, so when the time comes, I’ll know who to vote for…
…and then I realized, I already know who I’ll vote for. I will vote for the Democrat, whoever she or he may be. By the time the primary comes to Oregon, the party’s nominee will most likely already be decided, so I basically need only concentrate on selecting a candidate by party. And that, truthfully, has been decided since that Dukakis race.
But shouldn’t I care anyway? Shouldn’t I be informed about all these possible future leaders? Maybe, if I was going to be getting into some discussion of the candidates, but my current social situation make this unlikely. No one I know is going to want to sit around and debate whether Obama’s health care plan is better than Edwards’. And, truly, I don’t want to sit around and debate that, either, because it would require a level of investment that has, in the past, proved damaging.
What it comes down to is this: for the first time, I really believe it doesn’t make a difference what they’re saying or proposing. None of it is going to come to be in any form that’s recognizable next to what people say on the campaign trail.
I’ve always been a cynical realist for the campaigns — an ends-justifies-the-means kind of girl. This year, though, I’ve come to realize that the ends are going to be about the same no matter what, and it just makes the rest of it matter less to me than it ever has before.
I hope I get over it.