There was a time in my life when I was quite the political junkie. I reveled in what I called “primary season” the way that sports fans get excited about the start of football season, or baseball season. For approximately six months every four years, I lived, breathed, ate, slept, and submersed myself in every aspect of the political game.
I’d talk politics with anyone and everyone, even if they did not really care what I was talking to them about. I’d ready every article and take advantage of the comments section of various online news outlets.
I spent my days analyzing each candidate’s campaign happenings, media coverage of candidates and the general feelings of primary states, and pick winners (or really, who I felt should actually win). Democrat or Republican, it didn’t matter.
I only cared about the politics; it was a giant game to me. I loved every second of politics, and I lived in the First in the Nation primary state, giving me ample opportunity to live what I considered to be “the dream.”
But this year, something’s gone awry in my usual political love-fest. The Republican presidential primary for the 2012 election cycle has failed to inspire my usual enthusiasm for all things political campaigning. I still read most political stories that come up, but I didn’t have as much gusto for them.
I watched as campaigns were wrecked with scandal with only half-assed interest. Surprise victories or come-from-behind surges came and went without so much as a blink from me. I went to a few political events that happened here on campus, but I went as a journalist and not a political enthusiast.
I can’t say exactly what it is that has turned me off from the campaigning I used to love so dearly. I still have an interest in government, politics and policy (it’s only my future career after all), but I’ve lost all interest in campaigns.
There is just something missing, that certain thing that made political campaigns so enthralling to me. There is a certain something, much like any sporting event, that kept me interested. Usually there was some sort of candidate I was really fond of, or an underdog in the fray that I liked to watch come from behind.
The simple answer is that I’ve become too busy to pay as close attention as I used to. I no longer have the time to sit and read articles and analyze them in the manner I used to.
I’ve got classes and a multitude of other responsibilities to fulfill before I can spend my time with political campaigns. Unfortunately, as much as I love following campaigns, realistically they are low on the totem pole of important things I should pay attention to.
However, the truth is always more complicated than the simple answer I tend to give people.
The easiest way to say it is that I’ve become disenchanted. The mental exhaustion that came with watching and paying close attention to the campaigns no longer felt worth it to me.
There is no inspiration in candidates anymore; it’s now seemingly all about choosing the lesser of two evils.
There’s no accountability or personal responsibility within political campaigning and politics in general. I’m sick of looking at candidates who do not live up to the ethical standards I would like my elected leaders to live up to. I no longer find humor in the outrageous statements or debate gaffs had by candidates; instead, it’s become merely sadness at what passes as a viable presidential candidate.
I am not saying that there is nothing left in politics and campaigns, and consequently we should remain uninformed and ignorant to what is going on around us. If anything, the point of this column is just the opposite.
Do not become one of the uninformed masses; stay up to date on what’s going on with the candidates who may one day be your president.
Know about their voting records and their political history, pay attention to their gaffs and even their personal history. Perhaps if more people were paying attention and demanding more from their candidates, I might be more interested in the campaigning game again.
Chelsea Mellin can be contacted at email@example.com