Things That Make Me Say “Gah!”:
1. Car commercials.
2. Politicians running for office.
3. Corporate phone menus.
4. TV shows with laugh tracks.
5. That little Chrome rainbow circle that never stops.
6. Surprise airline fees
7. Government red tape
8. Just missing the bus
9. Fake English accents
10. Mental arithmetic
Now that I think about it, most of the things that tick me off have to do with phoniness and or/deception and/or obfuscation. And, the one occupying too much of my thoughts these days is the second one; politicians running for office.
All my beloved countries, Canada, the USA, and the UK are currently engaged in political decision-making. Canada and the US are campaigning for federal elections and the UK is about to get a new prime minister.
Canada’s campaign period is considerably shorter than that of the US, running from June 30th to the election on October 21; about four months.
US campaigning, on the other hand, seems to be a permanent state of affairs. The Democratic candidates began presenting themselves earlier this year, the first Democratic debate was on June 26, and the federal election will be November 3 next year. So, from that first debate to the day of the vote there will be about one year and four months of promises, discussions, analyses, and polls. That’s enough to make anyone say “Gah!”
In the UK, the Conservative party is choosing a leader to replace Theresa May and to take the country out of the European Union. They expect to finalize the divorce on October 31 which is only three months away.
I had a call the other day from a Canadian political party volunteer asking me what I was thinking about the Canadian election and, initially, I had to confess that at that moment I knew more about the US and UK political issues that I did about the Canadian ones. It’s my own fault. I just kind of assumed that whatever is going on in Ottawa couldn’t possibly be as awful as what is happening in Washington and Westminster, so I figured I’d focus my anxieties where they were needed most.
That’s ridiculous, of course. I didn’t consciously make that decision at all. Like everyone else, I’ve just been drawn to and captivated by the hysteria online, in the newspapers, and on TV. Canadian politics is either less dramatic or is presented in a less captivating manner. Whatever the reason, I haven’t felt sufficiently interested to pay very much attention.
American and British politics, on the other hand, are like a car crash on the highway; it is so awful it’s impossible not to look.
Clearly, nothing is gained by having anxieties over politics. No matter how much you and I care and read and watch and share and comment, the outcomes are completely out of our control. Illegal funding will pay for propaganda that will impact the results of all these elections. Afterward, we will all bemoan the outcomes and blame the evil doings on the opposition or some well-heeled influencers.
So, yes, there are a lot of things that make me say “Gah!” but the phoniness, deception, and obfuscation involved in all the political shenanigans, as the journalist Carol Cadwalladr has said, are enough to undermine the entire democratic process. For that, I need a much stronger word.