For the first time that I can remember I am significantly emotionally invested in a campaign, enough to treat some of the issues irrationally. I was too young and immature to really be committed to the 2004 election or in fact vote. While I was more committed to the 2008 election, I thought that both candidates were so much better than Bush that I almost didn’t care. Also I was constantly distracted by the similarity to the 7th season of West Wing, so much so that I was unable to imagine Obama losing.
But now I am actually engaged. Much of my emotional investment comes from the fear that Romney inspires in me. His complete disregard for the middle and lower classes and his constant dishonesty come off as kind of sociopathic in ways that Ayn Rand used to fantasize about. The whole structure of his campaign, from the incoherent plans to the absurd dishonesty speaks to a blatant lack of respect for the voter’s intelligence. Sometimes I wonder how much he believes and how much is his grand plan to gain yet more power and money.
I know I’m being irrational because I’m having difficulty finding fault in Obama and I’m having difficulty stepping back. Normally I would be pissed at the idea of an election won by electoral votes that would have been lost by general election. But that’s currently predicted and I am only comforted. In the 2008 election I was able to step back and acknowledge that Obama’s many promises for change would probably not come true. Now I am unable to really acknowledge his abuses of power, some of which would normally bother me. But compared to the catastrophe that Romney offers, anything and everything looks good.
When reading the Viceland article on the debates I was confused by the skeptics who distrusted both candidates. But that was partially because I ignored the absurdity of the debates. I let slide the immaturity of attempting to talk over each other constantly (though Romney started it). At points it didn’t really matter what they were saying.
It was at this point that it looked like the candidates were going to fistfight. They circled each other, glaring eye to eye, like they’d both had enough of this sissy shit and had no recourse but to take it to the next level. Even though he was a little older than the president, he had old man strength and crazy eyes, and I wasn’t sure which candidate would hit the floor first. Romney stared Obama down as the president gathered his composure and calmly walked away from the opportunity for blood, saying something about oil production instead. Somehow this made the argument last even longer. The tension was fantastic. I could almost hear people screaming, “Fight! Fight!” in the front of their brains. It didn’t matter exactly what Obama was saying, it was clear it amounted to the politically correct version of, “Fuck me? No no no, my friend—FUCK YOU.”
I once read a letter by David Brin that theorized, with some inconclusive evidence, that self-righteous anger is addictive. It is ironic that I would become attached to this idea, given the number of blogs I read on pseudoscience in neurology. Nevertheless, I feel like this accurately describes the relationship that many people have with their beliefs. I wonder therefore, have I finally irrationally and self-righteously angry about politics?