November 3, 2010

In which I'm cynical about democracy . . .

Listening to the republicans gloat over their victories on the Today Show this morning was a little bit sickening. And not just because we had to hear the term, "Mama Grizzlies" 40,000 times . . . though I'd be lying if I didn't say that was a part of it.

Let's face it . . . yesterday's election was a little bit like a beauty pageant full of ugly girls. Winning doesn't really mean you're the most beautiful. It means your dress is less ugly than everyone else's.

So when I saw the gloating, I cringed . . . just like I did two years ago when the other side was doing the same thing. In 2008, the democrats were also using phrases like "America has spoken" and "the tides are turning" and were talking about how things will be different now. And some things are different. But politicians remain the same.

Let me be clear . . . I may sound like a jilted voter, but most of my selections on yesterday's ballot won. Even so, I'm left with little sense of victory.

A few years ago, I decided that I needed to be aggressively non-partisan. I needed to be active about examining candidates and their platforms and determining whose values most closely aligned with mine, no matter the party with which they were affiliated. That's around the time that the helpless feeling settled in.

Because the more I looked, the more I realized that candidates are the pawns of the people - and organizations - funding their campaigns. All of them. And there's really nothing I can do about it, other than to run against them. But that takes money . . . something I would need people and organizations to help me with - thus perpetuating the cycle.

We were bombarded with encouragement to vote yesterday, insinuating that it's our responsibility to do little more than to show up and cast our ballot. I feel like it almost makes a mockery of democracy (that is so, so close to rhyming).

We'll be happy with the changes in our government for a while, but the "tides will turn" again in a few years, and again, the pendulum will swing.


Amy said...

I'll take our democracy over the alternative any day. (Just ask the 58 Christians killed while at church in Baghdad the other day) But, I understand the frustration...particularly with the all the PACs running the show. It's all about who has the most money.

sara luke said...

Absolutely . . . and what I'm saying is that we're taking democracy for granted when we merely show up to fill in the ballot without any effort to really know who we're electing, save their party affiliation.

Casey said...

This makes me glad I didn't turn on the TV this morning. I was feeling low enough and figured I'd just get the news from teh interwebz.

I appreciate your points about both researching the candidates and then ending up somehow more disheartened when you realized they're all just shills.

I'm not sure it is possible for a politician to have a career based on integrity at this point.