Thursday night in Detroit, 8 Democrats and a lone Republican presidential candidate (Tom Tancredo) held a debate of sorts at the NAACP convention (see the local Detroit Free Press coverage: 'There's more to do,' Obama tells adoring crowd at candidates' forum). It was an opportunity for Sen. Obama to shine in front of a very sympathetic crowd, but the other candidates scored some points too, usually at the expense of the current administration.
I, like most Americans, haven't paid much attention to this earlier than usual politicking. Although I can't really find fault with the general principle of additional time for voters to learn about the contestants for next years big to-do, the excitement just isn't there yet. Maybe it's the crowded field of flawed choices. Maybe it's the reluctance to subject ourselves to the ritualistic political nastiness any earlier than we absolutely have to. Maybe it's the continued apathy from years of corruption and lies at all levels of government. Most likely, it's a combination of all of these.
George W is going to continue to be everyone's whipping boy, and rightly so, but that's not going to energize anyone. In a world urgently pressed by climate, health and economic concerns, the American people are desperate for hope, but none of the candidates has displayed enough credibility or vision to inspire it. Obama gives some nice speeches, and has a real rock star quality, but doubts still linger in many minds about the depth and substance of his campaign.
We've all learned the hard lesson about the corrupting nature of the current money-tainted system, and even a politician with integrity and the best of intentions can't help but get sucked in to the inevitable compromises it demands. It sews a seed of suspicion in our minds until the endless promises begin to ring hollow and all we're left with is the emptiness of electioneering.
Of course that calls to my music addled mind a favorite tune, which I share the lyrics to below (typed exactly as they appear in the liner notes, so don't wonder about my mental capacities ... consider it word art).
Electioneering by Radiohead
i will stop
i wil stop at nothiN.
say the riGHt things.
i trust i can rly on your vote.
its just business.
cattle prods and the IMF.
i trust i can rely on your vote.