I voted for Barack Obama because he was black. I thought, by electing a black leader, we could end racism. (How ironic – hypocritical, naïve – is that?) I thought other countries might see the gesture as progressive and forgive us for being dicks throughout the previous administration. I might have voted for McCain had the soccer mom he was saddled with for a running mate not been an illiterate nut job. I could have punched the hole (again) for Nader, or could have written in Wavy Gravy or Willie Nelson - not that my vote counts; I live in Palm Beach County. But, Obama was eloquent and charismatic and, unlike candidates of color in previous years, he seemed to actually have a chance at claiming The Job. I thought he had courage. He promised change, and I believed him. I also believed, if he followed through with his promises, he’d be shot before the end of his first term. That could have made him a saint – at least a martyr. We all saw how that turned out.
I didn’t vote for him (or anyone) again, because he didn’t change a damn thing. As our country’s first POTUS of color, he certainly had the attention and the opportunity. Turns out, the political “Divide and Conquer!” mentality of R’s and D’s is much deeper, wider, and more convoluted than I thought. Our politicians are puppets at best. All are liars. Some are criminals. Maybe Obama knew, if he made the important, unpopular decisions, he really WOULD be shot. Maybe it was fear that kept him from changing the world. Or maybe the perks of playing along really ARE worth the sacrifice of a nation. Not that it matters; until “None of the Above” makes it on the ballot, I’m considering staying home on election day.
Some say I’ve grown cynical. Personally, I think a more accurate description would be disgusted. Our country is being run (into the ground) by greedy corporate dirtbags, and we just keep slurping our Frappuccinos and gnawing on our Big Macs and Cheesie Poofs and letting it happen. WE, the people, with a little research, ingenuity, and sacrifice, have the power to regain some balance and stability here, we just don’t seem to have the interest. Why is that? Are we truly so self-absorbed with fantasy football and/or busy prepping for “the big one” we’ve forgotten to take precautions to ensure “the big one” doesn’t hit? Don’t get me wrong; I see all the Facebook and Twitter posts about rights and freedoms and Wall Street and Benghazi, so the bulk of you are neither ignorant nor dispassionate. I worry, though, that we’ve taken ourselves – specifically our political and religious beliefs – too seriously, and to everyone’s detriment. For example: While we debate about climate change (global warming, cycles of the earth, whatever it’s called today), ice caps are melting, islands are sinking, snow is falling in the desert, and drinking water reservoirs all over the globe are drying up. Instead of debating its existence, whether because it goes against God or Republicanism, we SHOULD be scrambling for ways to deal with it. Not everything is a debate; sometimes the truth is just the truth.
Here’s another example: We say we love our country, but we keep electing Republicans and Democrats – two parties PROVEN time and again to be narrow-minded and corrupt. As evidenced by that first sentence up top, I’m just as guilty as the next guy, partially due to lack of research (i.e., laziness), partially due to the fact that there’s not often an alternative. As I get older, however, and as I watch our country sink further into the cluster fuck of no return, I’m thinking there’s gotta be a better way. Instead of blindly supporting a color – be it red, blue, or black – maybe it’s time we support our country and its people by electing leaders who won’t cater to whichever special interest group offers the biggest perks and will actually lead us out of the mess we’re in.
“How do we do that?” you might ask. And I’d be glad you did. For starters, you can go hate Darrin Willhite. He’s tons smarter and more informed than I am. He’s also a dear friend and former next-door neighbor who recently started a political blog that’s straightforward, intelligent, and bound to piss someone off. You can also make a pledge to yourself to start using this Internet thingy for more than Facebook and Words With Friends and, maybe once each week, Google a new question like, “Who are my choices for Governor/President/District Court Judge?” or “How can I make a difference in my community?” Most importantly, use your head; look around you, talk to your friends and family, ask yourself what’s wrong, and get involved in the efforts to make this a better place.
Change starts at the bottom - that means it starts with you.
C’mon: Be the change…