Saturday, January 7, 2012

Are we having fun yet?

I used to really enjoy keeping up with politics.  In fact, our whole family did.  As the kids got older, it became a way to convey our values and stir up some interesting conversation.  It gave us ways to talk about the culture and about our country's history and about what we each believe is important.

We had a lot of fun with the last election and have stayed interested in a lot of the issues it raised.  Almost every conversation with Mowgli from North Carolina involved some political debate (well, is it a debate if you mostly agree?) and when Boo got back from Guatemala, she asked about the Iowa caucuses.

I have to admit, though:  I'm not having fun anymore.  I'm so tired of hearing hours and hours of commentary about strategy (how the candidates should spin the different issues to their advantage, what elected officials should say to deflect attention from what they are actually doing) rather than solutions (what we should collectively do to make things better.)

I stopped having fun, I think, when the panel of pundits on my favorite cable news/talk show spent an entire segment describing how the candidates need to spin the issues affecting the economy in order to make the president look bad and I had the thought, "Is anyone anywhere talking about how to actually solve the issues affecting the economy?"   I am less and less interested in the partisan rantings on both sides and more and more desperate to hear smart people in power talk about how we can address complex issues in meaningful ways.

Everything seems to be about talking points and gaffes and gotcha questions and gotcha answers and concealing one's own weaknesses while trying to expose the weaknesses of the opponent in the most hypocritical way imaginable . . . it makes me long for something resembling statesmanship or courageous leadership or even policy wonkiness if it would get us talking about solutions.

Once I realized that the politicians are just playing a game and that the political news is no different from the color commentary on ESPN, politics just hasn't been fun anymore.

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