Sunday, November 07, 2010

The American People

Every time I hear the words: the American people, I cringe. Voter turn out in this midterm was higher than former midterms and was still under fifty percent of eligible voters. If any message was sent by the American people it was silence. Whether that silence is about disenfranchisement or exhaustion is not clear to me. While I was voting a fellow came in saying he thought he had registered but he couldn't find his polling place. They couldn't find his registration at my polling place. African Americans and young voters turned out in record numbers to elect Obama but were not there for the midterm. There's a lot of analysis about why. Some of it makes sense to me. In any case most of the wins were by a narrow margin. There was no mandate. There was no referendum.
Politics these days feels like a battle of rhetoric. Even when I agree with what is being said I am often frustrated with the framing and articulation. It often seems overly personal and lacking substance. It's silly season.
I am no fan of Boehner but there's been a lot of snarky chatter because he cried. Men cry. Deal with it. Out of the same mouths comes the complaint that Obama is too stoic. And why are we having that conversation and not a more problem solving, issue driven analysis?
I think we are a divided nation but I think we always have been. Jefferson and Adams could barely agree. It's not a bad thing to have tension in public policy. And I wonder what we would learn if we could really talk to all those people who didn't show up to vote.
For a long time in my life I turned away from politics. It was too frustrating and didn't feel like a way to make real change. I still often feel that way. The system is fractured and corrupted. So I cast my vote in the best faith I can summon and hope for something more real. I am an American people. And really, none of them speak for me.


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Anonymous said...

Is anybody think same about it? Can we disscuse this?

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