Friday, January 4, 2008

Political Detachment

Two people have asked me for a reaction to the victory of Obama and the Iowa caucus, and I have responded with little fervor and energy in my answer. I don't know. I like him, I am glad he won. Not much else I really care to add. I don't insert nasty comments about our former first lady or talk about issues that are important to me.

I have to be honest. NPR has been my biggest (almost only) source for election news, and I think I just realized why that is (besides being a little busy lately). If you asked me if I was a political person the answer would be- very much so. But at the same time the experience I had in the last election has left me politically detached.

I will set the scene for you. I am a senior in college, attending a program through an organization called the Christian College Coalition. I live in Washington D.C. with 40 other students from various Christian Colleges around the nation. I am currently interning in the office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in the Department of Homeland Security (still not really sure what their function is.) I am pretty much surrounded by very conservative students and colleagues. The moral majority are my roommates and there is a lot of Kerry bashing and such, without a lot of room for conversation. There is more of the I am right, and you are stupid thing going on, and I learn to keep my mouth shut if I am not ready for a huge fight.

I am told that I will be required to campaign for a canidate in some manner. I choose Kerry because I have seen where our country has been for the last four years, and don't want it to stay going in the same election. You need to remember when reading this that this is the first presidential election that I was eligible to vote in, and I am fully involved; cold calling people to encourage them to vote, standing on the Pennsylvania roadside holding up signs for John Kerry. I am trying to grapple with my faith andf politics, and understand how to be a progressive Christian. I am trying to figure out who Christ is in light of all the shit that is happening in my country- not to mention the world.

I am set on this hope of having someone new to make better choices. I don't know if he will be amazing, but I know he will be different. And then, among the moral majority I hear the annoucement being made. Fellow students get chastised because they are leaving class to go to the White House to see the acceptance speech. I 'd like to crawl in a hole (or at least my bottom bunk) and sleep for the rest of the day, but I am forced to go to class with many people who are gloating all around me.

On November 3rd, 2004 I write:

My heart is broken. I did not think it would be this hard, or that I would be so emotionally charged, but I am. I am afraid for America. I feel sick.
Please God don't let me lost my inspiration and purpose. I need you now, and so does this country. I will continue to be driven by hope and emotion, and feeling with my generation. and passion. and hope maybe, but it all seems to bleak right now. so bleak and so dark. how did it come to this.

I wore black for a week- which is funny because you don't stand out all too much when you are wearing black in the capital.

Needless to say my first presidential election was not a good experience. You can chock it up to my surroundings or the event itself, and I am thinking that maybe as you grow up and you are politically involved you learn to deal with the disappointment of such things. But it was a hard first. And I feel hesitant about jumping head first into another one of them, and having all these hopes and expectations just to feel defeat in the end. At least this time I am more aligned with like-minded people than I was then- but at this point I am proceeding with caution when it comes to Election 2008.

No comments: