From time to time, people who know how interested in politics I am ask me if I watch the Presidential debates. I always reply: “No, I’m not interested,” and try to change the subject.
But why don’t I want to watch? There’s plenty of drama. Donald Trump talks about whatever comes into his head, without a trace of a normal person’s filter. He gets the most attention, but there’s lot’s more – Ted Cruz, smarmy and smug, but obviously intelligent. There’s Ben Carson, who seems to be running in order to sell his books. There’s Bernie Sanders, challenging us all to have a better vision of what’s politically possible. And finally, there’s Hilary Clinton, brimming with competence, but oddly uninspiring.
All in all, the story line for the Republican and Democratic nominations is as intriguing as any I can remember. but I have never felt the urge to watch a single debate. Part of the reason is that social media gives me the highlights almost as soon as they happen; I don’t really need to sit passively in front of a television screen. But a more important reason is that there is virtually nothing I can do to influence the outcome. At the moment , I am deeply engaged in the race for an important local office – the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. I am supporting a candidate I believe in. I know that by involving myself in the race, I can make a difference, and I get a great deal of satisfaction, from knowing that. I’m sorry to say that, for the moment, I’ve lost all sense that involvement in national politics can matter. I’m sure that as 2016 moves along, that will change. But for now, I’m thinking locally and acting locally.