Is this the longest running campaign in history, or does it only feel like it? The 2016 presidential campaign has been afflicting us since Barack Obama was reelected in 2012. It feels as long as the War on Terror. I am not a political junkie, but you can’t avoid this campaign unless you turn off the TV and radio, and only read the funnies. The Gainesville Sun’s multi-page coverage, with the heading “Campaign 2016" and a little flaggy logo, threatens to surpass hearing-aid ads for most pages devoted to a single subject.
I blame the media. Many journalists seem to have a herd mentality, and turn their attention to the same limited number of stories. Far too many of them devote their considerable intelligence to writing or talking about the daily shenanigans of would-be Leaders of the Free World. Tirelessly they analyze the cause, effect, and meaning of each dip and rise in the polls. Breathlessly they await the outcome of each primary, then eagerly move on to the next.
They seem to be amazed that the decision hasn’t yet been made, despite all their attempts to predict the two parties’ candidates, proclaiming a new rising star with each poll. “Bloomberg’s efforts underscore the unsettled nature of the presidential race a little more than a week before the first round of primary voting,” says the Associated Press at the end of January. Isn’t it supposed to be unsettled? Aren’t the primaries supposed to begin to decide it and the conventions finally settle it?
If I were Supreme Goddess, I would ban all fund-raising, polls, and public discussion of the presidential campaign until six months before the election. (Goddesses are not constrained by the Constitution.)
There have been times when presidential elections excited me: Fanny Lou Hamer and the Missipppi Freedom Party at the 1964 Democratic convention - I was seventeen and still a believer, not yet jaded. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic convention, and his subsequent election.
But now I am just disgusted and disheartened. If anything good is happening, if any of the candidates actually have solutions, and actually will be in a position to accomplish something when elected, I can’t see it. My feelings are some blend of a pox on everybody’s house, and it’s time for the American Century to be over. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting old, or because I’ve had three viruses since Thanksgiving. But I believe my grumpiness and despair are widely shared. If I’m fed up, so are a whole lot of other people. I’ll probably vote for Sanders in March, and Clinton in November, but my heart won’t be in it.
COMMENTS: I'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. CLICK "COMMENTS," BELOW.
NEXT POST: MARCH 4