Monday, November 28, 2011

Holidays and Politics

I've come to the conclusion that I'm oversaturated with two rather seasonally ubiquitous things:

Holidays: It's not so much that I'm done with Xmas (although, to be sure, I'm slowly heading in that direction). Rather, it has to do with the fact that, more than ever before, Santa has stomped all over every other holiday from Columbus Day to Hanukkah and, in doing so, overwhelmed mind and media with the narcissistic belief that if it's not red and white, it just isn't worthy. Add to that this year's theme "Let's celebrate fanaticism!" which seems (to me, at least) like business and advertising are promoting unrestrained, extremist shopping behavior as an appropriate social value, and I have reached the point where my tolerance for (nay, hypersensitivity to) the high level of mania that is now deemed acceptable in the name of the holiday season has left my soul exhausted and my eye twitchy. I've written a letter expressing my support of Nordstrom's decision to wait until after Thanksgiving to put on their Xmas face and I'm doing my best to quietly, subtly suggest that the mainstream needs to take a step back. I cannot be the only one dismayed at the direction our holiday season is headed, but I worry that it will get much worse before it gets better.

Politics: The 2012 election season started right after the 2010 congressional elections ended, and this smacked of a blatant attempt by both parties, but especially the Republicans, to turn the Race to the Whitehouse into some kind of drama rich reality show, full of drama and completely devoid of any value whatsoever except as a diversion. Such premature agitation of the nation's political waters would seem to serve no useful benefit, and risks wearing out the voting public by overexposing it to a near constant stream of daily phone calls, issue ads and proclamations that the nation is "on the wrong track" (a statement made, as it happens, at election time by the minority party in every presidential contest since my birth). It has certainly pushed me, as a devout and passionate independent, to the point where I avoid any mention of politics in the media and steadfastly shun discussion of the topic during conversation (teachable moments with my students excepted). It's not that I do not have opinions about the issues facing our nation. It's not that I am an apathetic participant in our democratic process. It is simply that I have seen so little substantive dialog among either the candidates or the gaggle of pundits that dissect their every syllable that to follow the noise would amount to a colossal waste of my time. I intend to check the waters again after the primaries (as an independent, I don't vote in primaries, so I have that luxury). When the field is narrowed to two (or more, I'd like more), I'm hoping that someone on the dais has something intelligent to say. If not, I'm quite happy to turn off the tv and unplug the phone.

Are you oversaturated by something? 

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