Like an atheist who questions the existence of God, I have grown cynical about our political system. I have never been very politically minded, preferring to keep myself in a safe bubble of pop culture over reading a paper or watching the news—endeavors that usually make me all too depressed. But things changed during the 2008 election. For the first time, I became politically aware and informed. I was deeply invested in the outcome. I was passionate. I read papers and watched the news. I was swept up in a feeling that we were on the precipice of something great. That it was possible to raise our voices and be heard. That election meant something to me, as it did to a lot of people on both sides.
In a year’s time this feeling has not only diminished, but what is left is a sense of helplessness and heartbreak. I’ve come to realize that despite grandiose promises, we are incapable of altering the political machine. Our political system is like a mutating virus that has shielded itself against anything that could dismantle or change it. Yes, a year ago expectations were extraordinarily high and there was a colossal mess to be cleaned up. But even with those lofty expectations tempered, I am unable to be optimistic that three years from now anything will be that different from how it is now.
I have grown weary of the game of politics, of the pundits who pass along opinion as fact and of the public who is all too eager to swallow it without question. I am tired of our lackadaisical attitude towards the truth and the childish name-calling and finger-pointing that has become political debate. I am angry that my father can’t get insurance because four years ago he beat cancer. I’m saddened by my friends’ constant fights with their insurance companies. I am troubled for those without heath benefits at all. I ache for those who cannot be married. I worry for my children and my grandchildren, whose futures were mortgaged to fix problems that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I am aghast that no steps are being taken to save the planet on which we live.
To me the problems we face don’t feel like partisan issues, they are human issues. They are big and they need to be fixed. Yet our elected officials don’t seem to be working with our interests at heart. There is only gridlock and infighting. Those who stand to make a profit now have the loudest voices and the most sway. I don’t believe that politicians are evil, just greedy. Despite what they want us to believe, they don’t live in the same world that we do. They are shielded in a bubble of their own and are not affected by their own actions.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, democracy simply doesn’t work.” - Kent Brockman, The Simpsons
I don’t like feeling this way. By nature I am not a cynical person. But I’ve come to believe that government will not fix things. Yet, we have created a system that will not allow us to operate without it.
The end result of my becoming invested in politics, even for a short time, has been disappointment and pessimism. This has led me to once again become apolitical. I want proof that the system works before I will believe in it again. Until then, I’ll be in my bubble, where at least I know I am safe.