Debates, political process, car worries, and rubber chickens

I'm starting to worry a bit about my car. I guess I should be celebrating; I got a call from the body shop this afternoon to let me know that they'd finished up the exterior repair work. They'd also taken the car by the machine shop and had the engine looked at. An explanation—a day after the accident, the 'check engine' light came on.

Suspicious, I asked the body shop to check that out to see if it was part of the problem.

The insurance won't pay for it. The car was rear-ended, and the sensor's up front, so they're not willing to pay for it; even though I'd had it replaced a few months before the accident. Granted, I understand their immediate position—since they can't see a direct correlation, of course they aren't going to pay for it.But it's still frustrating nevertheless, because I have trouble believing that the sensor would've been jarred loose if the accident hadn't happened. Either way, though, it needs to be fixed, and we've got to pay for it.

We can afford the repair. That's not a problem. But for one reason or another, it's reactivated my worry about being able to get the car through two more years. I'm not wanting to get rid of my car until we get Jeff's truck paid off. By my estimate, we have just around two years left before we pay off the truck. Granted, we're paying it off early. My car, though, is six years old now, and my level of worry is slowly increasing that the next repair is going to be The Big One.

I know that I'm a worrywart, and I know that I'll feel better about this in the morning.

I'm just going to say over and over to myself, "It's a minor repair. You're overreacting. You know that you can wait two more years, so just be patient." Whether I like to admit it or not, I really like to have control over my life, and I hate leaving things to chance or fortune. I get nervous when I don't have that control.

Debates, political process, and rubber chickens…
I watched the debates tonight—it was somewhat frustrating watching the arguments go back and forth between Gush and Bore, knowing that one of those two men was going to be elected to the presidency of this crazy country.

I wish I could support either of them, but to me, both of them are merely decorative human tissue over a skeleton formed entirely of corporate money.

I'm probably going to wait to see how the pre-election polls in Alabama are shaping up. If Bore has a chance in Alabama, I'll probably hold my nose and vote for him. While I don't care for him, I have even more serious issues with Gush, and would like to cast a meaningful vote against him. However, if Bore doesn't have a chance in hell of winning Alabama, I'm voting my conscience and voting for Ralph Nader.

True, Nader has no chance. But…dammit…a vote for Nader actually means something. Those numbers get tallied and stared at by the two major parties, who ask themselves what in the world —no, WHO in the world—were they unable to reach with their power TV ads and their spin control and two-second soundbites.

They're going to look at those numbers and worry. Imagine what would happen if Nader and Buchanan were allowed into nationally-televised debates; I don't doubt that their numbers would skyrocket. (For Nader, this is good. Buchanan's to-the-right-of-Attila-the-Hun rhetoric terrifies me.)

I think what I have with my government is a total feeling of apathy. I grew up in one state with few electoral votes, and I moved to another state with few electoral votes. My vote isn't wanted, or needed, or even asked for.

For all the jokes I make with Brad about moving to Canada, I care deeply about this country I was born into—America, a land of such promise… until it was sold on the stock market to the highest bidder. We preach freedom and rule-by-democratic-vote when, in truth, my vote doesn't matter one whit except as a pointless political statement on my part.

We, ourselves, have turned our back on the country that could have been an impressive and incredible one…and we were so close to having it right. Most voting Americans feel such an incredible distance from our lawmakers in Washington that our representatives don't even seem like they're from the same planet.

We are not stupid sheep. We know that without tickets to the $1000-a-head rubber chicken fundraising dinners, our voices don't matter and aren't heard. We are not corporations offering to fund a thirty-second soft-money attack ad during the six-o'clock news. We are individually-written letters on plain paper with no checks enclosed.

We are the people the lawmakers "fit in" two-minute meetings with between power lunches and subcommittee meetings, because we aren't important enough to actually talk to … that is, unless the cameras are rolling.

We are voters, and when we act alone, we are powerless. So we stay home and ridicule the debates for the posturing they are, call our representatives bought-and-paid-for puppets and wonder if a nuclear strike to D.C. would actually improve property prices there.

I look to the north sometimes and wonder if it's different there. I wonder if the governmental leech is a species native to the U.S., or if it's spread into a worldwide pestilence.

I curse my apathy and nurture the secret wish that somehow, some way, a truly honest and unbeholden person could run our government for a short while. I'd be curious to see what happened as a result, but I know in my heart it will never happen. The only way to win Washington is to play the political game, the nature of which causes the truly honest and unbeholden to never play in the first place.

I'm an idealist at heart.

Here's to rescuing somebody else's country, because we're too damned stupid to save our own.

all tags: