Few things show our age like how we react to politics. To say campaigns are different than they used to be is so profound an understatement as to border on being the beginning of a eulogy. But they are different.
First of all, the political season isn’t a season, it is the whole year. No matter what the party or person, it goes on and on like the third day of a bad migraine.
Remember when shutting down the government meant the town clerk was going on vacation? Conservatives were the ones arguing, “American love it or leave it” or “My country right or wrong.”
How about the presidency? Does anyone else recall when it was about the office, not the person. After elections we used to hold our noses, rally ’round the flag and go back about our business.
And when did we become Red or Blue states? Isn’t it the United States?
Oddly, the more excited the news reporting gets, the less actual news it seems to be reporting. Can you imagine Walter Cronkite beginning with, “People are saying . . .” or “This reporter heard another reporter say . . .”?
What about the volume? Reporters, politicians, people being interviewed, it feels like they are all yelling. There is an old adage, “Loud words hide weak ideas.” If this is true, then good ideas are becoming more rare than statesmanship.
Well, before we get too worked up here, it might be good to consider how others have viewed politics in the past:
Winston Churchill, “Democracy is a very bad form of government, but all others are worse.”
Will Rogers, “The only way to keep politicians honest is to keep them out of office. Eventually, they can become almost as nice as anybody else.”
Mark Twain, “. . . Congress, that national asylum for the helpless . . . We have the best government money can buy.”
Ben Franklin, “We have given you a democracy. Now, let’s see if you can keep it.”
Perhaps the worst thing about a democracy is that people get the government they deserve. After all, we pick them or choose to sit and home and let others do the dirty work. That sounds a bit cynical, so perhaps we should try and be a bit more upbeat.
W. C. Fields was going to the polls when a reporter asked for whom he was voting. “I never vote for, only against,” was his reply.
Keep a happy thought.
Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident.