Saturday, March 15, 2008

Aisle 2

I was so proud of myself when I was old enough read the huge signs hanging from the ceiling at the grocery store: cereal, salad dressing, canned vegetables. But I was frustrated when I went to go find sun-dried tomatoes, and realized that I didn't know what category they would be in. These sun-dried tomatoes were packed in oil, so I thought they might be near the artichoke hearts and other preserved vegetables. Come to find out, they were on the tomato aisle. Go figure.

This experience brought several thoughts to mind: humans like to categorize things; they get unsettled when they don't know what category to put something (or someone); and no matter how hard people try to not be in a category, they will eventually box themselves in one for purposes of having some kind of identity or because others have put them there.

It also brought to mind my frustrations with the current presidential race and how unpolitical it is--it's all about belonging to a group. It feels like there's no winning.

If you are a republican and support John McCain, you are not being true to traditional Republican ideals. If you vote for John McCain, you're not forward-thinking enough to elect the first black man or woman.

Then it gets really messy with the "minorities." If you vote for Obama, you're only voting for him because he's black; if you don't vote for him, your anti-black president. If you vote for Clinton, you're only voting for her because she's a woman; if you don't vote for Clinton, you're a misogynist.

You have support a non-traditionally-republican white man, a black man, or a woman.

There's no voting on principles or policies, positions must be made on terms of your category, whether you put yourself there or someone else did.

Not that this is a new idea--although George Washington warned against creating parties, the next election became a battle between factions, and it's been that way ever since.

I felt duped when I grew up. When I was younger I thought you got a job based on the quality and quantity of skills and experience. Come to find out, it's all about who you know. Likewise, in politics, I used to think that the one with the best experience and ideas about government got the job, but I now know it's about money and connections.

It may seem like I'm anti-US government. This perception is not true at all. I believe that what we have is the best human-kind can create and follow. It's just the human nature in us all that gets frustrating, including the way that we visualize our own identity, but that's a rant for another day.


Amy said...

Oh man. I love your connection between sundried tomatoes and politics. You're such a great writer and I'm glad you're writing more often in this blog. :)