Saturday, May 20, 2017

I QUIT! (Why I've Given Up Politics - For Good)

Why I've Given Up
Politics - For Good

All I want is a hug?
How 'bout you?

As a kid growing up in the Midwest during the early '70s, I was a total dweeb. While the "normal" boys all were collecting sports trading cards, I was plunking down my hard-earned nickels and dimes on Presidential trading cards. I'd soon committed all the U.S. Presidents to memory — in order. I even collected trading cards of the 1972 Presidential candidates. Hey, Timmy — I'll trade ya a George McGovern for your Edmund Muskie! Yep, at age ten, I was absolutely enthralled by the D.C. scene and the political process I watched playing out nightly on T.V. — soaking it all up like a four-eyed sponge.

My personal experiences meeting George H.W. Bush and seeing Ronald Reagan in the flesh during the '80s only fueled my passion. And in recent years, I've further embraced politics for the entertainment factor — writing lighthearted related feature stories for different publications and hanging out under various circumstances with the likes of Governor Jeb Bush, Senator Marco Rubio, and renown businessman, Donald Trump.

With future President Marco Rubio in 2016
But I've discovered something interesting over the last year or so — there's no happy ending to this movie. IT'S-ALL-BULLSHIT! The entire game is based on greed-driven, power-hungry, WWE-caliber egomania and relentless cutthroat ambition. BOTH major parties are EQUALLY corrupt and ineffective. That's a fact. And NO politician on either side of the "aisle" has any interest in achieving any successful bi-partisan effort. The Left vilifies the Right and vice versa, while us "regular" folk are pitted against each other like pawns in a twisted ruse. NEWSFLASH: That effing elephant and the damn donkey it's the same beast! They're ALL rascals the whole bunch of 'em! C'mon now, certainly I'm not the only schlub who's scene House of Cards. BTW, mad props to creator, Beau Willimon for possessing the nards and the marksmanship to hit the darn bulls eye.

And sadly, NOBODY has any patience or tolerance for any lighthearted commentary. As Americans, we want to fight each other  tooth and nail, to the death. That's who we've become. We're now ALL so dadgum hyper-sensitive, so hateful, nasty, intolerant and so much smarter than those "stupid" people, we "delete" our "friends" without batting an eye. Ugh, all I want is a hug. How 'bout you? Heck, I'm embarrassed and frightened to now even be a spectator, watching such a pathetic, amateur blood sport — as if any of us Walmart working stiffs are even remotely qualified to comment on significant global or domestic issues. And for that over-inflated sense of expertise, we can thank the almighty talking heads, as they spew forth, stirring the pot — all for the sake of ratings. Q: What's the diff between Fox News and MSNBCA: Fox has hotter chicks. That's it.

As an old man, I've now come to embrace the fact that I don't actually know too much. Truth be told, I'm barely competent enough to dress myself — and there are those who would even argue that point. But I do know that the sun will come out tomorrow. And if it doesn't, I couldn't control it anyway. God has this under control — not Trump, not Clinton, not even Frank Underwood.

Life is fragile. Life is short. And at my age, I can see life flashing by — minute by precious minute. Hence, as I reflect on each fleeting day, all that matters is, did I... A) Jump up and down, ranting like a total jackass about something I actually know nothing about and can't control — alienating people in the process? Or, did I... B) Hug somebody and offer them love, kindness, forgiveness and encouragement? I'll take option B.

Kevin Spacey as President Francis J. Underwood.
(My latest binge addiction has been an eye-opener.)
Following the 2016 election cycle, I heard stories of married couples getting divorced over their differences regarding the Presidential candidates. In the words of Metallica, that's "sad but true." Even more heartbreaking is how endless other relationships between family, friends, neighbors and co-workers also are being torn apart, nationwide — as the last President challenged his flock to "get in people's faces" over their political positions.

Look, the system is jacked. It always has been, and it always will be — regardless of who's in the White House. And although I expect I'll be nursing a post-partisan hangover for sometime, I'm definitely moving forward. Simply put, I love people way too much to engage in such divisive dialog any longer. So, for me, the political conversation is over. However, I am still on the lookout for an Edmund Muskie trading card.

-Christopher Long
(May 2017)

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