This has been one of the most vicious and divisive election campaigns in my memory.
I’m not taking about the candidates.
People seemed to have taken sides and dug into their positions with a vengeance. Gone is the civil discourse or the agreeing to disagree, No, this election cycle was all about name calling and staking out the most extreme positions possible.
The guys running for President is just a small part of it. The various questions on the ballot really had people going. Here in Maryland where there were at least three hot button issues on the ballot.
Signs everywhere. Non-stop advertising. The works.
I just hope these people clean up after themselves. The signs alone are cluttering up what little landscape there is around here.
The Day After
I kinda wonder what will happen the day after. Will the stock market crash or skyrocket? Will “split Government” continue to create gridlock or will Congress and the President decide to work together.?
After all, Joe Biden probably won’t run in 2016 and that leaves everything wide open for both the Democrats and the Republicans. Why not work together to accomplish something?
Why not, indeed.
There was a time I used to like politics. The exchange of ideas. The speeches that either inspired or, maybe, fell flat. The kind of give and take in order to achieve an objective.
This political season has turned into one of the nastiest I can remember. It’s not just the candidates or their surrogates. I could deal with that. It’s not the ads on TV because I don’t watch enough TV to see them and I live in an area that’s pretty much one way.
It’s the regular folks. The people in the blogoshere or the social media universe. It’s even the people I know IRL. People are just plain nasty and mean.
I sometimes think it has to do with the economy. Everyone is on edge and tense about money, their mortgage, where the next dollar is coming from. Sometimes I think it has to do with the nature of social media and the blogosphere. Quick. Immediate. Incendiary.
Thoughtfulness and a view of the bigger picture are all gone now. Everyone, it seems, has tunnel vision. What is mine is mine and stay the fuck away from it.
Of course, the media plays it up. That’s what they do. They thrive on controversy and conflict. If everyone stopped sniping at each other and began to work together the media would have nothing to report, no advertisers to entice with large audiences who won’t avert their gaze from the train wreck caused, at least in part, by the media.
My worry is that it will continue to get worse. Neighbors, friends, co-workers, even family will begin to take sides with less and less willingness to put their views aside. It used to be it wasn’t polite to talk about sex, religion or politics in mixed company. Now, it’s a necessity and you can only hope the numbers are on your side. Otherwise, it’s time to high tail it out of there before something bad happens. A broken friendship or someone pissed off enough to come back with a gun.
There used to be a time when I thought voting on voting day was the way to go. The whole communal experience of lining up for my turn in the voting booth and all that. Then I realized that I really didn’t talk to anyone. I had already made up my mind about who I was voting for and it would be just as nice to be able to whisk in and out.
So, this year I voted early in both the Primary and the General Election. What a difference! In the Primary, I went on a Saturday (what a concept!) early enough to beat the crowds and besides having to run the gauntlet of candidate poll workers the whole experience was pleasant and quick. FOr the General Election (the official date is still 6 days away), I went after my wife got off work and there was a little bit of a line. My guess is that other people liked this early voting thing, too, and ran in after work to do their civic duty.
Still, it took all of about 20 minutes to get in and get out and that was with voting for a ton of offices, bond issues and ballot questions. Not to mention all the freakin’ judges and clerks of the court and the like.
So now I’m a big advocate of early voting. I’d almost be an advocate of mail-in ballots like they have in Oregon except I know I would probably lay my ballot down somewhere and lose it or forget about it. Although with all the TV, radio and mail ads it’s hard to forget there is an election going on.