Politics is wearing me out.
Not because I cover it and have so many exciting stories I have to chase down. No, it’s wearing on me for a couple of other reasons.
One is the length of time this presidential campaign has been in progress, which feels like most of my adult life but really has continued for close to two years. Candidates began jockeying for position well before any of them could actually file documents declaring their intentions.
The electoral season has expanded over the past few campaigns, so I figure that we’ll have the election in about a month and a half, then we’ll endure a couple of months’ worth of gloating by the victors and whining from the losers, have about a week off and start on the 2012 election.
If not, then we in Texas will at least be entertained by Gov. Rick and whatever fool, I mean, candidate decides to run against him.
But the other, much more energy depleting reason behind my distress is the level of so-called discourse I’ve been forced to endure reading commentary and letters to the editor, not to mention the, uh, what’s a polite word for it, tripe that floods my various e-mail boxes, all of it unsolicited on my part.
I know that much of it is sent to newspapers willy-nilly, but I’m also beginning to suspect that some previous occupant of my office chair may have subscribed to some of the mailing lists that pop up in the news editor’s inbox.
If I find that my suspicions are true, I may well be forced to cripple whatever finger he used to push the “sign me up” link.
Nothing will beat you down like receiving daily updates on the build out of a political party’s convention center. Hey, look, a news release telling me they decided on the color of podium speakers will stand behind. And what could be more exciting than receiving the news that they’ve finished installing the balloons for the drop when the nomination’s been sewn up?
Even worse is the continual litany of commentary that all sounds exactly the same. Commentators on both sides of the campaign seem to think that if they all say the same thing, and they all say it three or four times, we will be somehow compelled to believe that the message they’ve proclaimed is the absolute truth. They’ve certainly convinced each other, but it’s easy to convince someone who already agrees with you.
The messages they send out strike me as being pretty much on the level of a schoolyard shouting match.
“Teacher likes you best” becomes “The media like you best.” Both sides insist that the so-called mainstream media has proclaimed the other side the chosen one. One side carps about the “liberal media” while the other side gripes about Fox News and talk radio. Whatever the outcome, the results will somehow be the media’s fault, though exactly which medium should be blamed is up for grabs.
Take heart voters. You’re just pawns in our evil little game, and no matter who you vote for, we news people will be the ones who’ve ultimately chosen the nation’s leader. Makes me wonder why you should even bother to cast a ballot.
Democrats complain about criticisms of Obama, while the GOP faithful complain about Palin’s treatment. And both sides swear the other is being given a pass.
I can hear children in the background: “You’re a doody head.” “No, you’re a doody head.” “No, you are.” “No you are.” “Am not.” “Are too.”
Yeah, and so’s your mother.
I’ve seen student council campaigns in high school conducted with more panache, even when we all knew the good-looking popular girl was going to trounce the nerd. I mean, really, at least they pretended the race was about issues, like eliminating mystery meat Fridays in the cafeteria, and not personalities. Heck, I’ve seen cheerleader tryouts with more substance.
This campaign can’t be over soon enough for me. And the sooner we have our week off before the next campaign, the happier I’ll be.
Michael O’Connor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Politics is wearing me out.