Sunday, February 10, 2008

Navel-Gazing Washington Moments

My new residence within view of the Beltway makes me feel somehow obliged to write about politics. Yet, I've been reluctant to write about this political season for a number of reasons. One of these is the general pointlessness of my holding forth on such subjects. I mean, it's not exactly as if my biases are hidden here. Anyone who knows me even a little knows that I wouldn't vote for a republican if he held my entire family hostage. Those who know me slightly better can tell you I wouldn't vote for a libertarian if he held only the family I like hostage. I mean, it's not like whichever democratic candidate will have to convince me to vote D over Witty Dominionist, Johnny Hothead and Delusional Gnome. *

I could comment on the MSM coverage of this year, I suppose. I mean, Tweety is a horse's ass, but we knew that. Many other media guys have sexist and racist underbellies that are showing only now, but we suspected something like that would happen, too. CNN's John Roberts can be a seasoned newsman, but fail to ask a necessary and completely friggin obvious follow-up question when Witty Dominionist says in defense of his traitorous plan to replace the Constitution of the United States of America with Pharisee Rules for Peasantry and Chicks "For now, I think we need amendments to outlaw abortion and strengthen marriage." I mean, my middle schoolers know that 'for now' means that there's an undisclosed something coming down the pike immediately after 'now,' and they are sufficiently intellectually curious to ask about it. That this CNN twit manages to cash a paycheck while being such a dumbass in public is vexing, but sadly not a surprise anymore. Several of the people who live in my building are reporters, and I occasionally ask them -- in a much nicer way than I will express here -- why their more famous colleagues are such candy-asses, but they claim not to know. So, our fourth estate is in ruins. But we knew that, too.

There probably is something worth saying about living in a state where the primaries will matter for the first time in over thirty years. My neighbors, many of whom are very sober, quiet people, are losing their minds. I get pamphlets and emergency notices slipped under my door and in my mailbox every day. When standing in the lobby, when getting our mail, when walking to our cars we get into conversations about politics, and who's voting for whom and why. I generally try not to have these conversations with people, because I have alienated people I love while arguing in what I thought was a reasonable and dispassionate manner. So, clearly my gauge is off. But at this time, in this place, people will not accept "I don't know" or "Hey! Isn't that the most adorable squirrel you've ever seen?" as answers to "Who are you for?." They demand answers. Which is kind of exciting, that they are excited.

However, I am a contrarian at my very core, I guess, because I can't whip up excitement of my own this time. And I usually get excited over every possible political vote. I mean, city council stuff has been known to send me into high dudgeon. This presidential cycle is different, though. I want answers, and I'm getting slogans. From everybody. In the past, I think sloganeering would have worked for me. Hell, I know it did work. I am not the same voter I was a few years ago. The past few years have made me rhetoric-resistant. So, I am now in the "whatever, just as long as it's not a republican hate-monger" phase of voter apathy.

Or, maybe it's like last year when the amorphous "they" started playing Christmas music and having Holiday sales before Halloween. It ruined the whole season for me. I refused to get all excited that early.

I will say this, though. It is very interesting to be walking around the produce section of the supermarket and look up and see known king-makers perusing the citrus. It's not at all like running into Tommy Tune and Stephen Sondheim in NYC. Pundits tend to be much shorter than Tommy Tune, for example, and I never cross the street for fear of saying something stupid in front of a pundit like I did with Sondheim.

* How much do I love that I had to go without a pronoun in that sentence, because neither gendered pronoun would work?


Thoroughly Educated said...

Hey Heo, I hadn't realized you were in the DC area now. We should have a meetup on one of my many trips down there.

Bardiac said...

I share the love you show with the asterisk! Of course, Angela Davis ran forever, but she wasn't running for a big party or anything.

HeoCwaeth said...

TE, sorry for the delay in answering. (I'm like that these days.) I'd be delighted to meet blogfriends irl! Let me know when you'll be around, and maybe we can work something out.

Bardiac, I didn't know about her. I mean, I knew about Gus Hall running for CPUSA forever, but not that his running mate was a woman. Cool! That's a few points in CPUSA's favor after all the reading I did by communist women writers protesting (with good cause, apparently) the bourgeois, patriarchal values of CPUSA. So, anyway, now there's something interesting for me to look up re: political movements in the 20th century!