Friday, October 12, 2012

My One and Only Political Soap-Box

I hate politics. Always have, always will. I especially hate presidential election years. All I get from the campaigns, debates and politicians is why the other party is wrong. I don't pretend to understand anything about politics and I don't pretend to be informed enough to voice reasonable and sound opinions about any political matter (course are any political opinions reasonable or sound?). Election years just frustrate the hell out of me so I'd rather not participate in any political discussion with peers, friends and family.

But this year is a little different. This year I am working in the building where the Vice Presidential Debate took place. In fact as I am writing this the festivities for the debate are still going on. This debate has been a major concern in my workplace since I started 2 months ago. Of course the politics of the debate weren't the concern as much as the inconvenience the debate would be, but nevertheless the debate is a big deal to everyone around here. There is no way to get around the hoopla that this election is stirring in the town - the election is literally outside my front door right now. So I participated in the festivities as much as person who can't stand politics can. I went to the Debate Festival on Campus this afternoon, tried to get on MSNBC, got some free stuff from AARP - the official sponsor of the debate, and listened to the live Kentucky music. But I ultimately decided not to stay at the Festival to watch the debate. Watching the debate (which would ultimately bore me and frustrate me at the same time) outside in the cold just didn't sound very fun to me.

I opened the windows of my apartment so I could still hear what's going on on campus, and turned on the debate.  Within seconds I am already annoyed with both candidates and have no interest in continuing to watch, but I do nonetheless. Every now and then I can hear cheering from crowds outside because one of the candidates has said something that is excites one political party or the other - unfortunately I haven't paid enough attention to know what they've said that was so great. It wasn't until the last few minutes of the debate that it really got interesting. When Biden and Ryan were asked to share their stance on religion and abortion both candidates had my undivided attention (literally, I almost burned my dinner listening to what they had to say). Ryan spoke first saying that life begins at conception and that abortion would be illegal except in the instances of rape, incest and the woman's health if Romney was elected. Biden agreed that life begins at conception, but would never force that belief on someone of another faith. I'm not entirely sure what he said after that because I was distracted by the eruption of cheers from campus. I just happen to agree with Biden and it was very exciting to hear the crowd react the way they did. But it got me to thinking about all the other issues being discussed in this debate and presidential race. I may not have known what either of the candidates were talking about the entire debate (again, all I hear is blame and finger pointing) but they covered a lot of issues and I'm confused as to why the biggest cheer from the crowd is about abortion.

It seems as though women's rights have become a very big issue during this campaign, and same-sex marriage has become more and more prevalent every year. It is disappointing that these are the issues that mean the most to the younger generation, not because they aren't important issues, but because they shouldn't even be issues to begin with.

The United States was founded under the belief that all men are created equal and as a country we have fought for our freedom. Throughout our history, our country has expanded our founding belief to include men and women of all races are created equal and we are called "The Land of the Free."So why are we still fighting for freedom of our bodies, and of our beliefs and religions? It is so infuriating to me. Basic human rights and freedom in America should be water under the bridge. I shouldn't have to worry about them. I don't want to vote for a candidate because they are going ensure that my freedoms are secure because my freedoms in America should be redundant. I want to worry about the economy, unemployment, healthcare, the War on Iraq.

I'm not saying that everyone should vote for Obama because he's going to ensure that women have the right to do with their body as they please and that eventually a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman and expect the same rights as a married man and woman. All I'm saying is that isn't it a shame that we are still talking about rights and freedoms in this country after all that this country has gone through? Isn't it a shame that the younger generation still has to worry about this? What does that say about the next generation? If this generation is still worried about freedoms and rights and liberties, what will the economy, the unemployment rate, and healthcare be like when the next generation has to worry about them?

It has been really exciting being a part of this debate. It is something that I will always remember and be proud to have been a part of. But I have to say I'm so glad it's all over. I still hate politics.