Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Hate Politics

Really. I hate politics. I think some of my friends think I've found a new hobby. So let me just clear this up. I do not enjoy politics. Yuck. I used to hope that if I just ignored it, it would go away. No such luck. I wasn't altogether oblivious: I knew who my representatives were; whenever there was an election, I tried to educate myself about the issues and candidates—but of course this was always a game of cursory catchup; I occasionally read a newspaper. But I found the whole thing just disheartening and overwhelming.

I still feel that way, only more so. Except. While I was not paying attention, an administration I thought was pretty much okay did some terrible things. The Clinton administration did a lot of the deregulating of financial institutions that is now causing the whole world so much agony. NAFTA made it impossible for farmers in Mexico to compete with U.S. subsidized agriculture. Clinton may have been described as centrist, but he was Republican lite; while he was in office, Reaganomics continued to sow the seeds of our current economic morass. And many of the guys who were responsible for things economic during the Clinton administration are behind the wheel once again. Gee, I wonder why it is that I don't trust them to pull us out of this mess when they were instrumental in getting us into it?

Of course, then things really went south in 2000. Like many others, I was horrified—and still am—that Bush could have made his way into office with a single vote—from the Supreme Court. That one vote led to torture, secrecy, the dissolution of our civil rights and liberties, fear mongering, war mongering, and much more. Depressing as hell, and the more we find out about what actually went on in this unprecedentedly secretive administration, the more horrifying it is.

I hate it. It regularly makes my stomach turn. But I believe that the best way for us to care for ourselves and our families is to care for our communities: our neighborhoods, our cities, our states, our country, and our world. I believe in nonviolence, because violence never accomplished anything good. Ever. The same is true of war. And greed. I long for a better world. This one is making me ill.

If you've read the book or seen the movie of The Secret Life of Bees, you'll know what I mean when I say that I need a wailing wall like the one May built in the back of the pink house. And there are days when I need to go there and just wail.

But there's nothing else for it but to pay attention and get involved to the best of my meager ability. Alas, it was the "philosophical founder of modern conservatism," Edmund Burke (1729-1797), who said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." In this one respect, anyway, I agree with him. A lot of good people must have been doing a lot of nothing for some time now.

I have no idea how to make headway against all the evil evident around me, but I'm not going to retreat into my comfortable hidey-hole however much I might like to. I find it all quite overwhelming and exceedingly difficult, but my silence will only allow the great evil to persist and grow all the stronger, and my voice might just be a candle that expels at least some of the darkness.