Thursday, September 18, 2008

Election Addiction

Yesterday on Talk of the Nation, I heard a conversation with Megan Daum about election addiction. The idea that she had presented in an article of the same topic, was that we have moved to an unhealthy obsession with this election. She notes that people are showing all the signs of addiction ... abandoning hobbies to focus on the election, continually logging on to get the fix of the latest election news, etc.

I've seen it too. And it just plain bothers me. Yes, Christians ought to participate in the political process, but we ought not be obsessed by it. Idolotry of any form is .... well it's a bad idea. Neither McCain/Palin nor Obama/Biden are my saviors. (and in the interest of equal time, neither are Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, Charles Jay of the Boston Tea Party, or any of those others). The issues are important, but at the end of they day, Christ is my savior.

Another tangential issue is that much of what passes as "political news" is actually analysis of strategy, tactic, polls, and campaiging. There's little substantive conversation going on about the issues.

And even if there were substantive conversation about the issues, it would have little bearing on the presidential race. Take a look under the hood of the political process in Washington, with it's byzantine collection of committees, staff, oversight duties, symbolic gestures, hearings, votes on procedure, press meetings, and pomp. One person's stand on the issues, while important, gets quickly dwarfed by a candidate's capacity to work through the labyrinth of legislation and administration. Simply put, much of what goes on in the electoral process has little or nothing to do with how governance actually happens. The best thing about the election process is that it gets the candidates out there rubbing shoulders with ordinary people, so they won't forget who it is they serve.

So I've turned off most of the news. I've turned my attention back to books and special projects and church and spending time with friends, family, and people in the neighborhood. Sure, I'm taking time to look at candidates web pages and their records; but I'm trying hard not to spend too much time heeding punditry..... I've got a life, after all.