There was a time when I was fired up about politics. After taking an intro course during the 2008 primaries, I will admit I was hooked. As my views took shape, I began to understand that change needed to happen in a variety of areas. All throughout the election, I had interesting discussions with friends, and I even contemplated a future in the field. I envisioned myself working to promote human rights, gay rights, and womens’ rights in the justice system. I was overjoyed when Barack Obama earned his seat at the presidency, and I did and will continue to support his views and actions. Fundamentally, I still believe in all the issues that I did before – I want to help, and I want this country to prosper in a balanced non-aggressive way.
And yet overwhelmingly, I feel burnt out. I’m tired of the name-calling, the mudslinging, and the back-and-forth tirades between both parties. I’m sick of the soundbites, the pandering, and the platitudes. I can’t read a news story without cringing or feeling sick to my stomach. I know what I stand for – human rights, constitutional rights, compassion, small businesses, the middle class, a healthy and intelligent populace, and the American dream, but I also know what I don’t stand for, and that’s the stuff that’s playing out before my eyes more and more every day. This administration blames Bush, and Republicans get up in arms. Yet all they do is blame Obama and Clinton. There’s no end in sight. Any single solitary move that anyone in the administration makes, much less Obama, is met with these ridiculous teabaggers who are capable of any violence imaginable and radio-host-turned-Fox News-commentators who claim it’s the end of the world. Instead of rightfully demanding that Gaza cease their rockets and violent antics, news reports hurl insults at Israelis. Instead of upholding the separation of church and state, our politicians try to force Christianity into our lives every day. Instead of coming up with constructive ways to fix the problems that we face, politicians and their lackies are making the problems worse.
It’s true that the personal is political – every personal decision that we make is in turn a political one. Everything from education level to career to sexual orientation is scrutinized in the public sphere. There’s no escaping it, and we must stand up for what we believe in. I am a firm believer in one’s own agency to create change. But right now I choose to hang up my Politics Hat temporarily and focus on more optimistic avenues. Or else I risk completely putting out the flames that once fired me up so passionately.