Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ah, the political season

I've never voted before, which is a shame, seeing as how I'm 25 and well past the age of 18. I seem to enjoy observing politics more than participating in it. But I have written to my legislators before on matters of import. Kudos to me for that, right?

There's one thing that really gets to me about politics in America, and it's not the polemical nature of things. In college, I read a play by Bertolt Brecht called The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. The premise of this little known play is that Hitler's rise to power could have been prevented if the people had shown any initiative to stop it. I don't think we're in danger of electing a new Hitler (and I'm not so taken in by any political party that I think the opposition gets political advice from Satan), but the similarities between the American voter and Arturo Ui are still striking. Recently I was surprised at my own strong reaction when someone on the radio, after Obama selected Joe Biden to be his running mate, summed it up by saying, "They're all crooks."

Who's ready for a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon?
Calvin: When I grow up, I'm not going to read the newspaper and I'm not going to follow complex issues and I'm not going to vote. That way I can complain that the government doesn't represent me. Then, when everything goes down the tubes, I can say the system doesn't work and justify my further lack of participation.

Hobbes: An ingeniously self-fulfilling plan.

Calvin: It's a lot more fun to blame than to fix things.

Joe Biden, by the way, has never had a financial or sex scandal. If the guy on the radio had read past the headline, he might have known that. Machine politics has all but disappeared (Chicago remains a hold-out), so isn't it our own fault if politicians are crooks? Are we really consigned to lousy representatives, or do we choose it because caring is too hard?

Kinda heavy-handed today. I hope Calvin & Hobbes lightened it up a little. :)

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