Originally posted to Xanga on October 17, 2008
People play politics like it's a game. It's immensely irritating.
"So are you excited about being able to vote in the presidential election this year?" I asked of one of my friends who had just turned eighteen. "Well, here's the thing, I'm not registered to vote, and the deadline's tomorrow." Needless to say, I flipped out. "I don't care who the heck you vote for," I shrieked, "so long as you freaking vote, man!" One of our friends overheard me (I was speaking kind of loud) and said, "Hayley, surely you don't believe that. What about the people voting for the wrong side. I personally would prefer that THOSE people never register to vote." I tried to recoup to explain what I meant. "That's not democracy. That's not representation. It's about the principle. When you relinquish your right to vote, you endanger everyone's freedom. So when faced with the "wrong" side winning, I'd still prefer that every freaking person vote." Perhaps I came on a little strong, and perhaps I was a little wrong, but I was still struck with the right versus wrong, winning versus losing mentality of my friends.
My mom really does not like Mike Marcello, the Scituate Democrat running for representative. But it seemed he was running unopposed, so really, what could she do to stop him? As it turns out, there is a Republican running against him, and my mom informed me that she was voting for this person fo' sho'. When I asked what his platform was, my mom didn't know, but she saw where I was going with this line of questioning. "Hayley, I don't know what he stands for, but at least he's not Mike Marcello. For once I am proud to be voting against someone." This definitely sounded all wrong to me. "But Mom, you don't even know what this guy wants to do in office. It doesn't matter that he's not Mike Marcello. You should have a valid reason for voting for him." My Mom sighed. "It doesn't really matter. We need the Republicans in the House." Ah, political strategy was her motivation. Mike Marcello is a young, well-liked guy, meaning that once he gets in the House, he's not leaving until he resigns. Just like Linc Chaffee won RI voters hearts' on the sole basis that he was "Republican," this other random Scituate Republican has a large following of people who are voting for him just because they hate Mike Marcello. Wrong, if you ask me.
Speaking of Linc Chaffee. I hate to beat a dead horse, but this is just the perfect example of what I'm talking about. Two years ago Linc Chaffee's term in the Senate was up, over, done with! Yay elections. And, gaspers, Chaffee was running again, and actually opposed this year in the Republican primary by Steve Laffey, former mayor of Cranston. So the RI GOP had a choice to make. Who would they endorse to win the primary? Chaffee or Laffey? Linc Chaffee was more of a rino than an actual Republican, but he was also more likely to win against the Democrat opposition Sheldon Whitehouse (in theory.) Laffey held views more in like with the GOP and had a larger following of supporters than Chaffee, but the RI GOP decided to back Chaffee in the end, resulting in his victory in the primary over Laffey. But, naturally, Chaffee was beat soundly by Whitehouse. The RI GOP sacrificed the ideals of their party for strategy, and it resulted in a Democrat taking the seat in the Senate. Smart move.
In all my young, foolish, and idealistic musings, I find it hard to come to terms with the fact that politics is a game. That politicians are really strategists. That the issues take second burner to winning or losing. Government is not a game, it's life! It's society! And if people continue to treat it like a game, eventually the issues won't matter at all. Even know it seems as though they're just a tool for jockeying for power.
It reminds me of Mousetrap, actually.