Friday, September 18, 2015

Why this election season is already tired.

I haven't made it a point to pursue this blog over the past year, but as the election season heats up, I thought I'd fire this up, too. I have no delusions of grandeur (thanks, Han), but I do hold a degree in Political Science and I am quite familiar with rhetoric, spin, and politics in general.

I think I can speak for a large portion of disaffected Americans who are not allied significantly on the left or right, but who merely see their day to day efforts going less far month by month. School isn't even a full month old, and between the debates and Common Core Math for my 9-year old, there is plenty driving me to drink on a Tuesday night. I would have Sundays for a little escapism... except I'm a Raiders fan. That's like loving movies but having Adam Sandler as your favorite actor. It sort of tempers the expectation.

So, like many people, I like to read the news, watch the news, or absorb it through osmosis of social media. Sometimes there are positive stories, sometimes there are awful ones, and almost without a doubt there are cringe-worthy ones. I don't hate on people, and I certainly don't have the time or energy to devote myself to any particular "cause" on twitter. I like to read extremist views as much as moderate ones, just for context and to see what the nut-jobs on either end of the spectrum are up to. I don't/won't preach (those people are annoying), and I certainly don't pretend to have the answers as to what the candidates will add to or steal from our lives over the next year.

So, with that said, I'll begin by summarily dismissing the notion that Donald Trump is going to go away quickly. Yes, the debate this week was not a strong performance for him, and yes, his visibility may diminish as other candidates on the Republican side rise. No, it is not a good look failing to correct a birther at an event. However, he is still very much viable and striking a chord with conservative Americans who are tired of the status quo and he isn't going anywhere soon. Similar to Jar Jar in the prequel trilogy, there WERE people that liked the guy. True, those people were generally 7, but you get the idea. Hell, I don't like the guy as a candidate (Trump... not Jar Jar... ok yeah I don't like Jar Jar as a candidate either) but I can easily see his appeal.

What is troublesome is how fickle the media swings its "pendulum of awesomeness" (*TM) away from anyone after, seriously, one bad night and one bad look at a press event. I realize campaign season is a bit of a roller-coaster at times, but the media should have a responsibility to take the long view on at least the (currently) lead candidates. If Trump has shown anything, it is his ability to avoid disaster in the short-term by committing faux pas.

So my predictions for the next week are pretty simple, and probably accurate. Trump will say or do something which irritates a major media outlet (and be fine). I will watch the Raiders lose at home to Baltimore (and be fine). Finally, I will fumble my way through "helping" my 9 year old with absurdly complicated methods to solve easy math problems (and be fine).

Truth is, life is pretty good for most of us, and in comparison to other parts of the world, even a terrible day here beats a terrible day in Syria. That doesn't mean we can't complain, or observe when things could (and should) be a hell of a lot better. That's a really long-winded way of saying we like to complain about politicians, and that we are completely entitled to do so.

See you next week,