My partner is a political scientist, so talking about politics is one of his hobbies. So I talk with him about politics, including the election every day. I also am a consultant for an organization that deals a lot with democracy. There is no escaping it.
Yet, I always keep it at a distance. It is not my ministry. It is not my passion. It is not what I study and love. I change the subject when it comes up at dinner, I try not to upset anyone, gently suggesting where I stand, but not going much further. How are those Red Sox doing anyway?
My mentor from high school who remains a friend wrote to ask me what I thought of Sarah Palin. I ignored his email the first time. I knew he probably disagreed with me.
He emailed again, so I told him. I didn’t want to tell it to him, or to myself. It feels something like Bush winning in 2004, only somehow worse. A mixture of disbelief and hopelessness. That there is simply nothing that can be done to save our country. Even if she and McCain do not win, I am so disheartened by the level of support that they have that it doesn’t even matter anymore if they win or lose. My dear mentor, who reads newspapers and is educated and cares about poor people and is not a radical Christian conservative, thinks Palin is great. Too many millionaires running our country in the past, he says. She can be a mom and a leader. He loves that she is anti-abortion, says being a governor provides plenty of experience. And the reason this made me cry sitting right here in Diesel Cafe is because I know he is a good person. If kind, giving, well-meaning people like him who keep up with the news can be convinced by Palin, then what is there to possibly be done?
Sarah Palin makes me cry because I hurt for our country. I try so often to not be overly dramatic or engaged with politics because it feels like such a futile use of my energy. I vote. I am involved in my community. Why get in a tizzy about things that I cannot do much about? Yet, for some reason, Sarah Palin did it for me.
I do not feel like some sort of partisan nut. I do not think the Dems are somehow amazing. But rather, I am just aghast at how bad the Republicans are. It is just that I care about poor people. I care about hard working people. I care about a country that tortures people. A country that is a world leader and runs around invading other countries based on manufactured intelligence. I care about women who have been raped who can’t have a rape kit unless they pay for it themselves. I care about our military people who cannot get decent healthcare after fighting for our country. Or ordinary people who cannot get health care. I am just sad for all the suffering that has been caused by the previous government, and a country that is not able to recognize that. I know many caring people support the Republicans, and have been won over by Sarah Palin. Which is what makes me so upset, I guess. That it is possible for large numbers of people who really do care about others to think that McCain and Palin really care as well. I am just so sad and frustrated that someone like Sarah Palin and John McCain can successfully portray themselves as people who are going to take care of our country… to take care of people.
I always felt like people who considered moving to another country were selling out, were being overly dramatic, were abandoning people in this country who need fairness and justice more than ever. We won’t leave. But I increasingly understand that impetus.
I will get over it. I will re-detach. Do what I can. But it hurts.