Acquaintances ask me if I'm a Republican or Democrat (a question as we near Election Day will have a larger resonance I suspect) and I don't know how to answer. I used to tell people I considered myself 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.
We have, as I see it early on a Thursday morning four dozen days 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), we've devolved from a political system where 'the idea' is paramount to one where 'the game' is the definer.
Did it begin with the "New Nixon" and his Southern Strategy in the late sixties and early Seventies? Did Reagan Republicans (a Citizens United blog operation?) collide with Clinton Democrats and produce Newt Gingrich and Bush Père et Fils? And if any or even all of that is true how to explain the unhappiness that permeated the primary season on both sides of the aisle and produced the survivors of the demolition derby we have before us now?
I don't pretend to know enough political science to explore any of that or to even realize it may well all be pap and crap. 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 our fears and failings. We decide truth and accuracy of facts on how we feel on any given day. And despite, or more likely, because of all of that we 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.