Acquaintances ask me if I'm a Republican or Democrat (a question that thirty days from now will have a larger resonance I suspect) and I don't know how to answer. I used to offer I considered myself to be a 'relentless pragmatist' which didn't, and doesn't, sit well with those whose ideology drives their belief and value system instead of vice versa.
I embraced Senator Barack Obama from the day he announced his candidacy-- not merely for what he offered, but for the promise of what he offered (two very different things). I don't regret my enthusiasm then or the cooling of my ardor for him in recent weeks and still think a plethora of voices and choices is a good thing until we become paralyzed by indecision. By the same token, I admire and respect Senator John McCain for his physical heroism and spiritual tenacity. Few on Earth could endure what he has-much less triumph over it.
We have, as I see it early on a Saturday morning exactly a month away from the second most important Presidential election in my lifetime (the first, JFK and RMN happened before I was eight years old and I really didn't grasp it. Not only had we not yet walked on the moon we'd not even escaped the Earth's gravity. It was, indeed, another America), devolved from a political system where 'the idea' was paramount to one where 'the game' became the definer. Did it begin with the "New Nixon" and his Southern Strategy in the late sixties and early Seventies? Did Reagan Republicans collide with Clinton Democrats and produce Newt Gingrich and Bush Père et Fils?
I don't pretend to know enough political science to explore any of that or to even realize it may well be pap. I do remember an American politics where there was dialogue and not diatribe, where reasoned and researched discussion trumped bumper stickers and sound bytes, where we lowered our voices but never our expectations where government was always part of the solution and never the problem, but that America has gone the way of high top sneakers, it seems, and old school is for old fools.
We no longer vote our hopes and dreams but fears and failings, and are then surprised when we're reduced to a choice of cancer or polio. If you wonder who is to blame, look no further than your mirror.