Too cool for politics?

I can’t help but feel a little nauseated every time political season rolls around. I think it’s because I watch politicians on the tube with their O-faces on about some colorful issue, and then witness the spectacle as our city ejaculates with bumper stickers and cutesy political ads. I think the whole ordeal is just a little too silicone for my tastes. Or maybe it’s because it’s around this time that the world’s three-dimensional problems suddenly undergo this mystical transition into being two-dimensional, and the paradigm shift is then just a bit too much for me.

Or maybe it’s my discontentment with this whole pretentious effort to funnel down these cartoonish issues into a single solution called voting. Maybe—I’m not really sure anymore. I think my real problem is that I’m just not cool. I tend to want to geekishly discuss things like history and ethics when what I really should do is just vote. Don’t question, just vote. But whom should I vote for?  Let’s see—I should probably vote for someone who relates to me, you know, in an Everyman kind of way. I should also probably vote for someone who is somehow magically above the oligopolization of the corporate world and its special interests—a sort of Robin Hood kind of guy. You know, like a Buddy-Christ kind of dude. Or even better, a black Buddy-Christ! Aw heck, let’s just call him Obama.

But what will happen to my coolness a few months down the road when my trendy Obama sticker links me to some unsightly political fiasco—as, in traffic, scoffers honk away freely at my lack of foresight—and hence has me feeling like a jackass? Even then, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to truly blame Obama. I don’t think I can blame any politician for acting of the behalf of the special interests that fund them. I’m pretty sure I can blame them for taking the credit for what nonprofits do: you know, small things like disaster relief, hospitals, orphanages, schools etc. But even this doesn’t let me off the hook when it comes to voting. After all, politicians gave us Social Security, No Child Left Behind and, like, a war or two. But at least I can say I voted, and that’s enough. What higher calling is there anyway?

— Ryan Russell
Asheville

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