I miss being inspired.
I miss that feeling from 2008 when Obama was running and then winning and it felt like we’d turned a corner, that something was going to change. I remember watching videos from election night of people dancing in the streets to “Don’t Stop Believing,” and it felt like we were never going to.
Fast forward the next eight years, and all that’s gone. On the one side, my side, we have two old people yelling at each other. On the other side, we have scared old men yelling at everybody. The Democrats want you to believe the Republicans will destroy us. The Republicans want you to believe, well, everyone else will. I’ll vote for whomever the Democratic nominee is, but not from any real sense of enthusiasm. It’ll be more because the Republicans hold too many morally reprehensible ideals too near and dear for me to ever support them in their current incarnation.
But it won’t be with the sense of history with which I voted for our first African-American nominee for president. Or the hope with which I voted for him again. It won’t be a vote to put someone in, but to keep someone out. Granted, considering who that someone might be, that’s a worthy cause. But I really want my vote to be more than that.
I don’t want another dynasty in the White House. But I also don’t want a president whose answer to a thunderstorm is to remind us how annoying it is that it’s raining. And those are my two choices. And while I’m not ignorant of the precedent either winning will represent, I’m not particularly enthused by either prospect either.
I think it might be a matter of the constant stream of superstition, bigotry and hate coming from the other side has turned this into less an election and more a crusade. We’re not trying to get our nominee in, we’re trying to keep theirs out. It feels much more bleak and apocalyptic than other elections I can remember. And both Democrats feel more like stopgaps than saviors.
I don’t know, maybe it’s the last of my innocence dying. Maybe it’s naive to think that in this day and age, a presidential campaign can be about hope and promise. But it feels like “Yes We Can” has been replaced by “Yes We’d Better.” And that’s not a very inspiring way to set a course for the future.