**Note** Please notice that there is only one exclamation point used in this entire post. I did that on purpose because it is my hope that the tone of this will be taken as subdued, not incendiary. This is not an emotional outburst, just an observation. Oh, and try to overlook my overuse of metaphors. I know it is a writing flaw but I like using them anyway ;-)
There is one thing that happens in October that mars its otherwise beautiful face. No, I'm not talking about Halloween. It is much more scary than that. Fortunately it only takes place every 4 years... the Presidential election. Bleh.
I know, I know. It is a necessary procedure, vital to the governing system of the United States but why can't that happen in an ugly month? I nominate August! Or perhaps February. Those are the months that we are typically begging for relief from the most extreme temperatures of their respective seasons so what's one more miserable thing? I really dislike that this disrupts "my" month.
I happen to think that the process by which we choose our highest governmental representatives is appalling. I'm not talking about the voting part, that happens in November. I'm talking about the campaigning part. Grown men and women, out on the stump, delivering rehearsed speeches (written by someone else) that magnify their strengths and hide their weaknesses while doing the opposite to their opponents, and more often than not, exaggerating, manipulating and just plain lying to the people they desire to lead and represent. Pandering to special interest groups and mollifying the masses who don't make the effort to look beyond their own whims to make even a remotely informed decision about where to cast their vote.
It happens in every political party, across the aisle, in the aisle, under the aisle. Insults, personal attacks and all-around disgusting behavior reaches a fevered pitch in October. So many pots calling out so many kettles for being black. Anything to deflect our attention, hoping we won't notice their own shade of obsidian. Sometimes we become cynical enough to think that since they were fully aware of the high probability that their lives would be nit-picked apart that it is somehow okay to enjoy the massacre.
And we don't just enjoy it... we participate in it. And because of the mass availability of technology, we don't even have to leave our homes to do it. While the rest of the world sits back and watches this gladiatorial spectacle, we take the opportunity to get our digs in with our faceless friends, feign injury or take insult with the slightest mis-step, and then perpetuate the lies.
We put the foot up on our lazy-boys and surround ourselves with news stations, comedian-turned-journalists, political bloggers and celebrity tweeters who spout "facts" that most closely resemble our already formed opinions. It is just so much more comfortable to get behind a zinger, a one-liner or deceptive quip than it is to think critically about what is actually being said.
Even worse, we get all giddy when "the other side" is degraded by someone on "our side". How do we not see that when we purposefully and publicly demean our leaders we weaken our entire nation in the eyes of even ourselves. Thinking ourselves in a position of strength when we are able to cause someone else's downfall by unscrupulous means is an illusion.
An observation of the other side of the coin... why are politicians so loathe to admit that they made a mistake, had to compromise, changed their mind? In a day when the concept of "non-judgemental" is so prevalent there should be no need to run away from the truth of our own shortcomings. Red herrings only make the situation worse. Honor has been offered up on the alter of victory and is called success.
I'm not angry, although I could work myself up to being angry. I'm more... disquieted, concerned for the integrity of a nation of people (self included) whose leaders perpetuate such tactics.