As a personal goal, I am trying to write more. For many years, I’ve written, but usually- it’s for others, with their voice, their messaging and their objectives in mind. It would be good practice for me to measure my own ideas about current events, and share them in a thoughtful format. I’m actually finding that to be really difficult lately. For those that know me, an opinion isn’t something I usually shy away from. I’ve had enough life experiences to offer something to the conversation.
I recently sat with my niece and discussed politics. It was interesting in a few ways. First, we don’t usually talk about current events, unless it’s pop culture. We have a good relationship, solid enough to enjoy each other’s company throughout a dinner with plenty to talk about. Second, this is her first year eligible to vote in a presidential election, and I was curious to hear her take on this.
She asked me who was running when I was able to vote for the first time. I actually had to Google this- George H.W. Bush and Mike Dukakis. Being a Greek girl from Massachusetts- it wasn’t hard to recall how my vote was cast. For the record, I am an unenrolled voter.
We never got to how she planned to vote. But the tone in her voice and the look on her face was perfectly clear, this election season left her less than excited. The first presidential debate was that night, and when I asked her if she planned to watch it, she rolled her eyes a bit- as if to say, ‘why’? It was sad to me, as voting for the first time is a rite of passage- like getting your driver’s license, or legally (!) having your first drink. I come from a politically vocal family, and while I might not have remembered the act of casting a ballot, I can recall the pride I felt finally able to make a contribution to society.
I watch debates for sport, and I love a good campaign- part of my job is about performance and messaging. I watch to see who is most transparent and authentic- and I tend to gravitate toward those candidates that can offer me these qualities. Honestly, I’m struggling this election season. I thought if I could turn off the pundits, the polls, the accusations, the locker room, and Twitter for a while- I might be able to find some clarity.
And I think I have, but in my moment of clarity, I also recognize that I am compromised. Completely compromised. I like to consider myself a mature adult most days; I respect this is part of the process and I will never find a candidate completely in line with my ideals for a perfect world. I can’t say that I blame my niece for feeling underwhelmed. For her generation, this election season offers a harsh perspective and a bitter taste.