The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Run in Politics

The recent bombardment of our televisions, radios and internet sites definitely signaled that it was political season. From the false dilemmas presented in commercials; the first stating that so-and-so is going to ship all of our jobs overseas and the one immediately following stating that so-and-so is going to save all of our jobs. Unfortunately, this oversimplification often works on our society.

If someone came up to me with two candidates and said, "George here is going to punch you in the face if he wins. David is going to give you a big hug if he wins. Which one are you going to vote for when considering these facts?"

Some people honestly don't look any further than the fact that getting punched in the face doesn't sound pleasant; that must mean that going with the other alternative is the right way to go. It's like we can't see past the fact that this doesn't have to be a false dichotomy. You can do research; you can pick the candidate who mirrors your views and decision-making process, but don't pick based on a commercial that says it's an "either/or" choice. Want to keep your job? Pick Joe. Want to lose your job? Pick Henry.

I am not opposed to the political process; I think voting is a way for people to be a part of the decision-making in our country. I have, however, stepped down quite a few notches from the political machine on the rise that I appeared to be becoming in middle school.

My fourth grade teacher, in the Dole-Clinton election, could not decide who to vote for. Therefore, she issued a challenge. We had to come up with a campaign, make posters and convince her who to vote for and why. I went no further than political animal Charlann Reely. In five minutes, I already had posters, pamphlets, and bumper stickers. I had sarcastic comments to retaliate with that I didn't know the meaning of, and I had a stance on abortion and other touchy subjects.

I found this love for campaigning and even convinced my teacher to vote for my candidate; I beamed with pride that she actually learned something from my presentation. I put my heart into it. Before I knew it, I was going to local political events with my grandmother, and I even got to lead the pledge in front of the Arkansas governmental bodies at a dinner on Harding's campus.

I stayed up all night to watch the results. My candidates lost. I was devastated. My friend called our house phone that night for our usual evening chat, and Mom had to tell her I couldn't talk right now. 'Couldn't talk' was quite an understatement as I was practically inconsolable.

It is then that I realized I was not cut out for politics. The cut throat, get out of bed even when you lose and start all over thing was just not for me. One of my friends is a PR person for a local candidate; they lost, and she was already on Facebook and Twitter the next day endorsing another candidate.

To me, it's more like a boyfriend breaking up with me; it's like I need to stay in bed and mourn for a while; not to mention the tears that would undoubtedly unfold now that I would understand what insults toward me or my candidate actually mean.

I actually had a shirt during that time period that read, "I will be the First Woman President" on it and donned a picture of Margaret from Dennis the Menace holding up her finger to make a point. I wore it proudly and with great assurance that this would one day become a reality.

Now, I can't think of a position I would rather stay away from. The pressure, the flack you have to take and the constant disappointment would be too much for me to handle; I have seen the before and after pictures of Presidents, and let's just say I don't want my wrinkles and fine lines any earlier than I have to have them.

I soon tucked away that dream in the treasure chest that also held the dream of being a dolphin trainer with my best friend Bliss, being a police officer with a K-9 and my short-lived desire to be a WNBA star like Rebecca Lobo.

Every time I see an ad on TV attacking an opponent, I just picture my face on the screen with that horrible voice-over:

"If you vote for Ashton, she will ship your jobs to India. Your children will be hungry, while they are being fed. Your children have no future, while their children are being given a future..."

It is then that I lie back on the couch, and thank God that the trail I'm on--however unsure it may be--is not the campaign trail.


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