Politics of Fear

On the train tonight I was happily surfing away on my blackberry, checking my favorite blackberry accessible sites:

– Google Reader to catch up on my favorite blogs,
– a quick visit to Go Fug Yourself or Perez Hilton to keep up on tabloid news,
– The New York Times online for the grown up news,
– Red Sox Online,
– and the Hufffington Post
(you know, it’s kind of a long ride, I have lots of time to surf)

While reading another great piece by Bob Cesca, I suddenly had a horrible vision. That vision was John McCain giving a Presidential acceptance speech.

It was a surprising moment, since up until this point, I never considered he could actually win. And I really don’t think he is going to. But he could.

My immediate reaction was “No.” and “I can’t handle that.”
And, “I wonder how long it will take me to get an EU Passport when D. and I get married.” Not that the EU is some kind of Utopia, especially where D. comes from– the former Yugoslavia. You may have heard that they had some problems there in the 90s. But my experience has been that politics in general mattered to me less when I lived abroad. Maybe that’s because I have known less about the political systems of the other countries I lived in (either due to complication or language barrier) or because I am just less invested emotionally in the outcome when unable to vote locally.

Speaking of voting, I am worried about voting machines. In my mind’s eye I see GOP engineers fiddling with our much too imperfect voting technology. I see hanging chads and Homer Simpson being eaten by his polling station. This could be happening right now.

Strike that– it IS happening right now. Maybe not by evil engineers, but by faulty technology.

I don’t get that. A voting machine has 2 jobs: 1) count accurately 2) don’t let anyone mess with the results. We can’t make a machine to do this correctly? This is scary shit, y’all.

More than one friend of mine has had to sequester themselves from the news because it was penetrating them to a point that was unhealthy. I get that. I am addicted to reading polls and have even let politics into the work place (my boss is a republican, but so far our debates have been level-headed and congenial). But I can’t shut it all out, especially now we are in the home stretch. That would be like being devoted to every episode of a 2 year TV drama and then skipping out on the 4-part finale. I can’t stop now.

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