Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why politics and me don't mix.

I wasn't raised to be very political. My dad was a steel worker for most of my childhood, so we claimed to be democrats (don't labor unions and democrats go hand in hand?) My dad would usually vote for the democratic candidate and my mom would vote for whoever she knew would not win. And since we all lived in a historically republican state, neither of their votes ever counted. We didn't talk often about politics or have particularly strong feelings about them, with the exception of my dad every now and then swearing and cursing over some political maneuver that a politician did that he found idiotic. And once my dad stopped being a steel worker, he mostly voted for the person rather than the party.

In my last semester at UVSC in 1997, I took a class in ethics. It talked about things like abortion and euthanasia and other important but controversial topics. As part of my assignments I had to form an opinion on each topic and write a paper on it. I learned a lot from these assignments - the reading was always fascinating, and the teacher didn't care what your opinion was as long as you had one and knew why you believed it. I came up with my own reasons for being pro-this or anti-that (not that I want to state those reasons here. Another post, another day.)

Which brings me around to this year's political races. I hates them, precious. I can't wait for them to be over. My lackadaisical political upbringing coupled with my belief in certain ways on some topics and my lack of believing that any politician, black, white, mormon, republican or democrat can really understand my world view leaves me perplexed. I don't want to vote for any of them. But I firmly believe in voting and making my voice count.  And I know that the beliefs that I have put me firmly at odds with both candidates.

When I watched Romney attack Obama during the debates, I wanted to cringe. When I heard Obama attack Romney in a snippet on NRP this morning I want to argue with him. I often find myself firmly agreeing with the one being attacked even when I don't particularly like either the attacker or the attackee. And I don't really agree with their policies (what is Romney's 5 point plan? How will Obamacare affect my job and my insurance coverage in 2013?) To me, they are both the 7th grader announcing over the intercom that if elected student body president, they will make recess 10 minutes longer and the cafeteria serve hot dogs and pizza topped with doughnuts 5 days a week. Basically: if elected, they can't do everything. They all have congress to get past with any political agenda they might have. True, some things they want will happen. But a lot of them won't.

Utah has early voting. I want to go and vote tomorrow, but I find myself in the same position I was in 4 years ago when I firmly and without regret voted for Ralph Nader. Again this year I find myself not wanting to be responsible for putting either person in power. I know that my vote doesn't really count - the popular vote isn't what elects a president in this country, and my state will go to Romney for more reasons than I can say in this post. But I don't feel that I can punch the chad next to either candidate and be satisfied that I made my voice count.

My best friend in college was a firm disciple of one party. She knew the hows and whys and whatfors of politics. To her and her family, their party was the Right party. Anything else was Wrong. I find I cannot be that way about politics (or really anything. I am a moral relativist, which gets me into trouble in questions of morality in many areas of my life - I refuse to believe that the way I see life is the only way - there are too many people in this world to all think the same way.) And I know that many of you dear readers know who you want to vote for and why and might find my wavering frustrating. I don't so much want to start a political debate here as just express how uncertain I feel going into this election. My disdain for politics and the way that politicians run our country. My desire to hide in the corner and chew my hair when acquaintances express their firm political beliefs one way or the other and I simply don't agree but don't have a really good reason for not agreeing other than I don't care. I think that a person in my socioeconomic position is screwed one way or the other. I'm not rich and I'm not poor and so no one running is really in my corner anyway, regardless of their speeches directed toward the "middle class."

Sorry, I know this post is neither profound, well-written, or super intelligent. But I've been wanting to document my feelings about this year's race for a while now and I found time tonight. It's okay if you disagree. It's okay if you agree. Let's still be friends. Please don't hate me because I have a hard time voting for either of the people who are going to win.

I'm Becky Kump, and I approved this message.


heidikins said...

I am so over the election, but I support your B. K. approved message (Laughed out loud at that last line, touche.)


Amy Sorensen said...

I laughed at the last line, too!

I don't believe anything any politician says. I feel fairly jaded and disappointed and then I listen to people talk like they DO believe what a politician says and I'm thinking WTF (sorry for the abbreviated swearing)? Really? You actually believe them? OK...

I remember once when we were at Lake Powell, Dad was criticizing something President Reagan had done, only he just said "Reagan" and then I blushed because I was all confused because the boy I had a crush on was named Reagan and I couldn't figure out why Dad was talking about him in such a mean way. It took awhile for it to click! :)

Melanie said...

I really relate to your feelings about politics. I have some pretty strong opinions on certain issues, and other issues I'm not quite sure what I think. But I almost never feel like sharing my opinions. First of all, who out there really cares what I think? And then what good does it do? I have no desire to argue politics with anyone. Why debate? We both go back to our original beliefs, but now it's a little awkward between us because we clearly don't agree.

I know, people can have reasonable discussions on politics, but I like what you said about chewing your hair in the corner. I just want to stay out of it all!

This year I find myself in a new state, a state where my vote will never be enough to win the state for my candidate. I have to remind myself that it's important to vote anyway, but it sure seems pointless.

Wow, thanks for letting me vent through your post! ;)

Murph said...

I’m so with you in this! I really don’t like to vote because I live in Utah and I know that the state is going to the republican… every time. I love watching the news guys and as soon as the polls in Utah close they call the state for the republican with 0% of the precincts reporting in... It’s absurd.
So here’s my voting strategy… I never vote for an incumbent… ever. Doesn’t matter about party (mostly because I’m an independent) so I just go straight down the ballot and vote for “The other guy” especially the guy who likes to save whales (Yes, I’ve voted Green Party before).
When I get to the list of judges… it’s a “No” vote straight down the list. And a “No” goes into any bond issue that will raise my taxes more than 0.000001%... I don’t care if it’s going directly into the mouths of cute starving puppies.
Ya, maybe I’m a bit flippant about this “Patriotic” duty… but when there’s really nothing that little ol’ me can do to change things in the country, I’ll just have all the fun I can with the people who count most. And that ain’t the folks in Washington.
There’s my 2 cents… really, I found them between the cushions of my couch.