Well, it's been a while, that's true. It's funny, because so many people told me that two children is nothing like 1. They're right. It's a lot better! It's also a lot busier. Because it's been so long since my last post, I decided that I would return to Roasted Nuts without my writing staff. And with that....
Let's get onto today's topic: the primaries. One of the things that I have spent so much time doing in the last several months is watching is the 2008 election coverage. Oh sure, every 4 years someone says it, but I'll say it right now: we are living in a truly historic time. We have, in succession, the first African American and the first woman to win a Presidential primary. Ever. And even though the country is 230 + years old, it took until this year, this month, for both of these events to happen. The Democrats are more energized than ever. And the stories of each of the Democratic candidates are compelling as well. Barack Obama speaks with an almost intoxicatingly optimistic fervor. John Edwards fights to bring back a bygone era of commitment to the middle class. As for Hillary, she recalls, well, Bill Clinton and 8 great years of economic growth in our country.
As for the Republicans, I also find the current field to be refreshing. Given that there is no incumbent, nor an "incumbent-type", ie Vice-President, running from the incumbent's administration, the field is completely open. And where George Bush was, in some sense, a uniter of Republicans, we now find at least 3 candidates who are all appealing to distinct wings within the GOP. By and large, the Democrats are all standing for change, and oppose the policies of President Bush. So in many ways it's more interesting to watch the Republicans tussle. But the Republicans are quite divided right now, with no uniter in site. The Republicans have watched Giuliani and Thompson fizzle. Huckabee has been a surprise to many. McCain, who was mere inches from seeing his campaign bankrupt, won New Hampshire. There's simply no front runner yet. That's important, because without being able to bridge the chasms, it's definitely the Dems' election to lose. What's great about both parties, however, is that we have in each field intelligent, viable candidates who may well become the next generation moving forward. Perhaps the urgency of 9/11 or the war in Iraq have faded, but we are in no less important an era.
That's why it's so important for people to get involved and become knowledgeable about the candidates and their positions. I'm no expert on politics or the political process, but I strive to learn as much as possible about the workings of government. I think each person has a responsibility--to himself or herself--to make the effort. And sure, that's an easy thing to say. It's much harder to convince people that they should have a greater role in the process when campaigning for even local offices means being having enough money to do so. It's much harder to convince people of the intrinsic value of our constitutional process when so many candidates shout so loudly at each other and cannot come to what appear to be even simple understandings or agreements out of fear that compromising on basic tenets would be a smashing defeat. Nonetheless, I have a fundamental belief that all citizens can and should have access to their government and to the political process.