In the chaotic throes of election year, that familiar queasy, panicked feeling has descended on me like a patriotic plague. Since the primaries began, my back is out-of-whack, my neck is cricked to one side and I'm grinding my teeth again. Though I rarely speak my views around known political dissenters (Harry Potter fans: Dementors?) , an x-ray would surely show that my insides are a hot mess.
In high school, I wanted nothing more than to be a smartly-suited diplomat or politician. I just knew D.C. was the place for me. I imagined my life spent hanging out on the Mall, soaking up the grandeur and history of the monuments, the Smithsonian and the Capitol. I was voted Most Likely to Become President by my senior class and that same year I attended the National Youth Leadership Forum on Defense, Intelligence and Diplomacy. In D.C. at the NYLF event, my team of uber-teens conducted diplomatic crisis preparedness exercises based on a fictional mishap with North Korea's nuclear weapons program. One of our potential crises actually had to do with Al Sharpton (just like most crises in real life.) I've listened to political talk radio since I was a kid and obsessively LOVE a certain pundit's wicked, barbed sarcasm. I've even lobbied for animal welfare (not animal rights!) on Capitol Hill. And yes, I wore pink.
Today in grown-up Angie land, that high school politico is so eight years ago. After taking an elective International Relations course in college, I was so freaked that I promptly and purposefully forgot most of what I learned. One concept remains in my head - the Mutually Assured Destruction theory. For those who didn't take the class, MAD is a strategic doctrine which guarantees that each side in a nuclear exchange would survive a first strike by its opponent with enough arms intact to launch a second strike sufficient to destroy the aggressor. That's freshman fun! Needless to say, INR1000 was one of the factors that led me to give up my dream of becoming a diplomatic D.C. hotshot.
All that to say that in my grown-up state of political avoidance, few things vex me like election years. I feel like McCain, Obama & Clinton are with me all day long, rudely poking me in the eye every time I turn on the TV or read the news. I hate that normally friendly (or romantic) relationships grow tense when discussions turn political, and though I'd never proselytize, it's becoming impossible to avoid debating at work. Even my family suffers from the earthquakes caused by election year fault lines dividing blue states and red.
The whole election sitch makes me want to projectile vom straight through until November. Don't get me wrong - democracy is rad and I'm totally stoked to be an American with the right to vote. But I confess here in the privacy of the Internet that I get so everlovingtickedoff when people spout verbatim TV nonsense about politics and candidates. I don't really insist that people agree with all my views, but I get all kinds of indignant when uninformed bozos cast precious votes haphazardly based on crap like "charisma" or excellent public speaking skills.
All this rambling to say… I was flipping through my Bible and found a really comforting passage.
Psalm 46 (excerpts)
"God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake. Before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains. Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything."
Hot mess averted. No Al Sharpton needed.