I just realized today is Michael Jackson’s birthday, so I figured it would be a good time to repost this piece from last year. It somehow seems appropriate on many levels considering the season we are in. Happy Birthday, MJ! I’m sure my daughter and I will play a little “Michael Jackson: The Experience” dancing game on the Xbox today in your honor.
When I was in the first grade, I told everyone that Michael Jackson was my cousin. Before you get too excited, that statement is unequivocally false. I have no idea why I said it. Could I have already felt the push to be cool even as a fledgling student? Anyway, an immediate divide occurred among my classmates: my supporters versus my non-supporters. Heated debates on the playground raged as to whether a black person and a white person could be related. At this point, I am sure I felt pretty caught in the lie, and I fessed up to the truth. Surprisingly, I was not shunned as a crooked liar for those next eight years that I coexisted with these children. Some, even in the face of defeat, continued to argue in my favor that I could be Michael Jackson’s cousin if we traced my family tree back far enough.
Does the story sound familiar? I think it does. We hear it all the time. Nixon, Clinton, Blagojevich, Spitzer, Craig, Edwards, and most recently Weiner. A politician lies (which means he’s breathing – hehe), the country goes at each other’s throats trying to prove their side is right, the politician admits to the lie, some people argue that the lie is irrelevant anyway, and eventually we all move on. All the while, real problems go unsolved.
It will be a rare occurrence that I blog about politics…unless it is a rant against the politics keeping The Monkees out of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (I told you they would pop up now and again – see my page “Why I Like Bananas“). I do not care much for politics. In my opinion, politics are what is wrong with government. Too much “my side is right,” not enough, “let’s see if we can compromise.” Too much abuse of power, not enough empowering the country. Too much feeling I am above the law, not enough making laws that will help our people. It’s enough to cause disillusion. And that’s about where I am at with the whole thing; I have a feeling a good portion of the country is behind me.
I am aware there are people who will chide me for my apathy. I know I should care more. I know I should read more newspapers and less Sandra Boynton. I know I should watch more CNN and watch less Real Housewives. I know I should, but I don’t. I am glad there are people out there still passionate about politics, because we obviously need someone to run this country. I just wish more of the sincere, level-headed citizens of that passionate crop were the ones elevated to office: more Atticus Finches and less Svengalis. Perhaps there will come a time when I find the desire to change a crooked system. After all, my mom, who I pretty much never heard utter even the word “politics” growing up, has now become seriously active in a political campaign. Her kids all moved out, and she decided it was time to put her mark on the larger world. Maybe that will happen to me…maybe.
In the meantime, I will likely tune out when the news anchor reports on the latest politician caught in a scandal. I will get a queasy feeling when I hear a Democrat and Republican calling each other idiots for having a difference of opinion. And I will head to the polls only to stare at the ballot and sigh, because I don’t like any of my choices.
Now I think I might go listen to “Christ for President” by Wilco and ponder what life would be like with Atticus Finch as president…and Michael Jackson as my cousin.