I don’t write about politics here; I mean, I made an attempt once, but I quickly recognized that this was not the forum to get mired in the us-vs-them arguments we find ourselves constantly faced with. Political discussions will always be off-putting to one side or the other, and many issues are very polarizing: immigration, healthcare, taxes, and gun control/rights. Just mentioning these topics gives me an uneasy feeling where I feel my jaw tightening and my breathing becomes shallow. Many people even claim to have what therapists are calling “Trump Anxiety“.
In a few weeks this country will be holding elections where every US Representative and about 1/3 of the US Senate will be asking for our votes. Historically, turnout for mid-term elections has been relatively low. But in our current political climate, voter enthusiasm is expected to be quite high. Many states allow early voting, which will allow voters to go to the polls while avoiding the potentially long lines expected on the 6th of November. Democrats are hoping for a “blue wave”, possibly gaining a majority in the House. The Senate is much closer, but anything can happen in this final stretch.
Back and forth we go. One party will gain control of one or both houses of the Congress. Currently, the Republicans are in control of most branches of the Federal government. In another two years, the US will see the presidential election of 2020, and I promise you it will be a total shit show. (I stopped in the middle here and just watched the video for a while; it was easier to watch than the news.) The pendulum will swing a little to the left I predict. Then it will either keep swinging in that direction or it will swing back to the right in 2020. Either way, it is bound to swing in the opposite direction eventually. And so it goes.
I still vote as often as I care to, although I don’t totally agree with George Carlin about why he didn’t vote; but I do believe there is a lot more going on than we citizens dare to know. In the long term, our culture will change by small increments. Some change happens in dramatic fashion, but it is often argued that the change didn’t happen fast enough. Street signs and monuments are altered or removed. Sports teams might be next; the Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins to name a couple. Years from now we will look back at the hear and now and judge it with the benefit of hindsight. We’ll say, “I can’t believe people believed they were right.” Maybe we will all benefit from this. People who were opposed to desegregation kind of faded, but there is still rampant bigotry in this country, and around the world.
A lot of money is spent constantly on election campaigns. The US Senate race in Texas has seen tens of millions of dollars in fundraising. A lot of that money will be spent on TV and online ads. Many people already made their minds up after the 2016 presidential election, but there are always the undecideds, those who may not even be motivated to vote, especially in the mid-terms.
I’m reminded about the pirate ship ride you see at theme parks and state fairs. The ship swings back and forth (or is it to and fro?), swinging higher and higher with each period of the pendulum. I’m kind of sick just thinking about it, and I have to wonder what good can come from all the money and the political ads and the shouting matches on TV. This is why I just don’t bother talking about it. I don’t think that would help. I’m more interested in making life better for other people, as much as I am able, that Green Day video notwithstanding. I’m going to take some Alka Seltzer.