Friday, November 9, 2012

Cynical Idealists

Now that all the election to mumbo jumbo is over, let me tell you what I really think.

To see my posts on facebook is to label me a liberal. And that would be expected. I mean, how many memes have I posted this election season? That's how I would have it up to this point. Because, when it comes down to it, I wanted Barack Obama to win this election. The thinking that leads me there may surprise you however, and that is what I'd like to share.

Democrats and Republicans are the same thing. I have this conversation with my closest friends on a regular basis, even when it's not high time for political discourse (e.g. an election year). We talk military industrial complex and the rights of corporations, well researched/presented conspiracy theories, and the seven old white men who rule the world. We talk about all of the things past red and blue that are "really" going on. We don't debate liberal and conservative. We know those things are there for show.

So then, Democrats = Republican. Eh, sort of.

On the big things, the things that matter, the life changing fabric of that which is and that which is not, real vs. illusion, science and the humanities, truth against perception...yes, They are. They are the same damn thing in as much as they are owned by the same corporations, no one's really morally good, the last few administrations haven't done a whole lot that is fundamentally different from the other. Obama and Romney are the two most moderate candidates that have probably ever run against one another. Patriot act, war, and those things considered: same.

Do I look at people who put faith in politics and think their side is right and their candidate is a hero and think a little less of their intellectual abilities? Kind of. Sometimes. Yes, I do. I'm sorry for that. I don't try to. I just can't help it sometimes. It's such a simple (and I mean that in the worst possible way) view of the way the world works. It's taking that which controls our social reality at face value. I think it's borderline stupid and it's definitely very dangerous. It doesn't make me angry (as most things tend to), it makes me afraid.

So why are Dems and Reps "sort of" the same? And why all of the liberal hogwash on your facebook wall, Shannon? What the fuck are you even trying to say or be? Do you believe anything at all, even that comes out of your own mouth?

Sorry! I'm getting there.

Symbolically, the two parties are different. Liberals stand for progress, equality, and a chance for all who weren't dealt the best hand. Conservatives, for tradition, freedom, and creating your own chance regardless of one's circumstances. These are abridged, simplified, and, of course, my own interpretations. But on some level, we all get an image of what the two parties are and stand for. Political parties are cognitive shortcuts for very complicated worldviews. Life is too short. We have to do it that way.

So, as a student of rhetoric, the symbolic is important to me. I fundamentally believe in higher taxes and more social services. I am a feminist (whether you like my enactment of it or not). My worldview most greatly aligns with that of the liberals. So, in this way, for the sake of appearances, I wanted Barack Obama to be elected. I wanted "my side" to win. If the people who agree that it doesn't matter and they're all the same choose to not vote in a symbolic gesture, why can't I do the same with a vote?

Then the "face values" meet the "what's really going ons" and enters the title of this post. The political party for those who see the world like me would be called the Cynical Idealists. Cynical because we know the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are the same damn thing. We're all screwed anyway. And there's not a goddamn thing that can be done about it. It's just too late. But we are Idealists for this reason. We do see actual differences in practice that have an impact on our daily lives. So, instead of sitting back and watching it all just fall apart because there's nothing we can do about the "big" things, we say, well, we'll vote for this party because, in theory, we're hoping for progress in these arenas: marriage equality, health care, military spending, social services. And so we cast a vote, knowing that it doesn't make a difference, and it also doesn't matter. But it sort of does...

There you have it. What I think of politics, why I voted for Barack Obama, and why you should never judge one's intellect solely based off of the political memes they post on facebook.

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