One day while I was home on college break, heading out the door, my mother said to me, “You’re probably more liberal than you think.” I laughed it off, as if being called a liberal or a democrat was a personal attack. (Not that some wouldn’t take it that way.) At the time I would have easily classified myself as a conservative republican, but without justification. Politics was more about the image than the idea.
Only recently have I begun to fight back against my default apathy, which, as I type these words, I am reminded is a much more difficult fight than I ever expected. I refuse to give up, or give in. I want to care very much, and I believe that my vote ultimately does count towards something. Even if that something is ideologically out of reach. Baby steps.
I’ve watched friends get behind a candidate (Ron Paul, mostly), and their passion and conviction is inspiring. I hope to one day feel that connection, but it seems that falling head-over-heals for a candidate is far more complicated than crushing on a cute girl in class. Rarely, in this day and age, am I permitted to observe a candidate from afar and overlook the imperfections that would otherwise dissuade me from supporting him. Instead, the micro attention feeds me an incessant stream of useless information. Never has so much been made of so little.
Further complicating things, information, useless or otherwise, without a personal conviction breeds apathy. It’s all static, and I want to cut through it. Oddly, the Friends episode where Ross tallies the pluses and minuses of Rachel and Emily comes to mind. I wish supporting a candidate were that easy. E.g., McCain has fat ankles – Vote Obama.
The real fight, for me, is realizing that… I don’t know how to put it exactly without falling into patriotic rhetoric too much. I need to realize that this all means something. For eight years now we’ve seen how badly a president can damage the image of the United States. The modern day cliche, “Change,” is what is needed. But, it certainly isn’t reserved solely for Barack Obama. Instead, each one of us, as Americans and as humans needs to look in the mirror and consider what change would mean for us and how we can bring it about ourselves regardless of who our leader is.