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Monday, February 06, 2006

state of the onion

On the way to work I listened to the Senate Judiciary Committee's questioning of AG Alberto Gonzales on Bush's warrentless eavesdropping "program". I have been making a concerted effort, of late, to try to withhold all political judgements. I am a liberal, by nature and nurture, but I'm so sick of the usual suspects and the straited discourse of American politics that I feel like I'm becoming a conscientious objector of opinion. I'm truly suspect, at this point, of all opinions, because they bear too close a resemblence to the opinions of everyone else and there seems to be no room in between the two sides: the right and the left. The Center Can Not Hold! The best have no convictions, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity. A great Yeats poem. Also a great Roots album.
I've always thought everyone should vote and be politically active and I am usually surprised that more people are not. But I am beginning to feel less surprised. Yesterday, on the radio, the DJ announced that Tuesday is the city election. Well, it's not; that's not until March 7. The school mill levy election is Tuesday. At first I was a bit shocked at the mistake (shocked might be overstating it), but then I realized that for the most part I have a deluded view of how engaged people are in the political process, because my job puts me in touch/in communication with people who think about this stuff all the time. True believers, participants. Last year, when we did The Hip Hop Voter Project, the idea was to engage people who might not be otherwise, to register them, to bring other people already involved with politics (organizations of all different ilks) to a hip hop night at The Paramount and just see what happened. What happened? Well, we registered a lot of people to vote. I think it might have been more of an experience for the people we brought into the club, many of whom hadn't been out that late in about 10 years, than for the people we registered, but I don't know. It wasn't a controlled experiment, we weren't tracking people to see what happened. The idea was that maybe one person might come to the club for hip hop and dancing, but could strike up a conversation with one of the people there registering and passing out info and then, who knows. How do people get involved with issues, ideas, politics in the first place? Usually by exposure, and usually by a one-on-one encounter.
Am at work on a mini project for the city elections, though I have to admit to feeling less galvanized by politics than I was a year ago. I'm beginning to wonder if the apathetic masses have the right idea. The boy I am dating said at one point, not long ago, that he didn't really see the difference between Bush or Kerry or even Nader, that they all seemed the same to him. My sister told me two years ago that CNN and FOX news didn't seem all that different to her. At the time I thought both of them weren't very observent. But maybe I am the one who needs to observe things differently.