Thursday, November 9, 2006

The silly season ends

I used to be a complete political junkie.
I would hang on the words of political leaders, trying to parse how they might affect outcomes of elections. It was about power, influence, the game itself was what mattered.
It was fun to write about, too, because it had all the elements of great stories: great characters, great conflict, great drama, great ideas. But all that has changed, and not for the better.
I had a real hard time getting excited about this year's elections. The atmosphere has changed so much since I first got excited about the electoral process 30 years ago.
There was no drama in this year's elections; the results of most legislative and congressional races were largely foregone conclusions, decreed by highly effective redistricting in 2000. Term limits simply means incumbent protection; House seats now are six-year terms with the distraction of a couple of elections in the middle.
Many campaign staffers simply are arrogant SOBs bent on callous manipulation of the Great Unwashed, and what's worse, the manipulation works.
We've tuned out, and this just isn't fun any more.
The ideas of all sides are stale, and they don't seem to reflect reality. All sides have gotten stuck in the 20th century, either bleating watered-down Marxism, which doesn't work, or ranting on the always-bizarre combination of Adam Smith and St. Paul.
Yet we turn out, and we vote, and we hold our noses. Just don't call my house with political pitches any more.

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