I have been trying very hard to avoid politics of late.
For much of this past year I have been immersed in political matters, particularly those of Wisconsin. When there are people in your own government working to undermine not only the policies that have made your state and nation prosperous, safe and worthwhile but also the values, traditions and institutions that made such policies possible, you really have no choice but to get involved. I have marched. I have written, here and directly to the various political leaders who claim to represent me. I have written to the local paper. I have organized.
This is what democracy looks like.
But I am not, by nature, an optimist. I grew up in Philadelphia – pessimism is my birthright. As I watch the baseball season tick down, for example, with the Phillies guaranteed home field for the duration of the playoffs and possessing the best rotation in the sport, I remain firmly convinced that not only will they not win the World Series this year but also that they will figure out a way to lose the one they won back in 2008. And when I look at the political situation these days, it just seems to me that the thugs are winning. It always seems that way to me.
They cheer at the thought of the uninsured dying. They boo American soldiers for being gay. They insist that disaster relief be held up for partisan advantage and offset by further cuts to the very people they should be helping. They are a moral disgrace, a political outhouse, and a savvy and powerful minority hell bent on destroying the United States of America and replacing it with the sort of backward authoritarian nightmare that, with a single change in religion, would not be all that different from the goals of the jihadists in the Middle East.
That sort of thing wears on a body, and especially this semester I find I have precious few mental reserves with which to deal with it.
When I was on vacation in August I was unable to keep in touch with political developments, and you know what? I felt better for it.
With the presidential elections in full swing now and the recall campaign against Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) about to get underway, I don’t suppose I can avoid political issues for much longer. I may not be looking for politics right now, but politics is very much looking for me – and it will find me eventually.
And when it does, look out.
But until then I will go about my days and try to focus on what is in front me. Sometimes you just need a break.