I think that as the time gets closer, I can officially say that I am thoroughly unimpressed by my choices when it comes to 2012 U.S. presidential candidates.
I wish we could have a political convention like those of 1876 or 1880, when there was legitimate doubt as to the outcome and in the end a dark horse snatched the nomination. The delegations had to vote for sometimes dozens of ballots and do lots of shady wheeling and dealing to eventually select a nominee. My boy Rutherford B. Hayes, one of my favorite obscure presidents, was the Republican nominee in 1876. The 1880 Republican convention held in Chicago was particularly exciting, with arguing and drunken shenanigans and stomping of feet and yelling from tabletops before James A. Garfield got the nod. If only something exciting like that were in store for us on Mitt-Romney-selection day.
Possibly even less interesting than the Republican party this year? The Democrats. After four years, what I feel about Barack Obama is remarkably similar to what I felt about him last time around: decidedly uninspired. Of course then, my lack of inspiration was at least poked and prodded by the hyperventilating of everyone around me babbling on about "Change" and whatnot. Every time he opened his mouth, people heard something that I could not, try as I might. They heard fantastic visions and bold dreams and some promise for the future where I heard the same generic cliched rhetoric of any run-of-the-mill politician.
But the problem with being Just Not That Into Obama is that people tend to associate you with the anti-Obamas, who, as far as I have been able to observe, say a lot of bizarre shit ranging from goofy to incendiary. No, thanks! I'm disappointed in Obama for many reasons (mostly to do with not prosecuting torture, not closing Guantanamo, war-on-terror-blah-blah) but it's hard to find anyone to talk about that stuff because they're too busy freaking out about their fever dreams of socialism. (As if!)
Unlike 2004, then, there's no one to vote against and also no one to vote for. In 2004, it was a matter of having a conscience: if you did anything but try to remove Dubya and the Warmongers* from D.C., I have serious doubts about your morals. This year, like 2008 and 1996 and 1976 and most election years, frankly, there's just not that much at stake. The candidates are largely the same. No one's going to save us. No one's going to achieve world peace, or even try very hard to do so. (Or even try a little, from the looks of things.)
*someone please start a band with this name?
Obviously, if it comes down to the least of all the evils, one can turn to the Green candidate, in this case, Jill Stein. The Green party tries to do a bit for social justice, but I wish they would do even a fraction of that with social media and getting themselves out there. Why doesn't everyone in the country know Jill Stein is running? (Or any other third, fourth, fifth party candidate?) This is such a perfect year for a third party candidate too, with so much disappointment in both the Republican and Democrat nominees, with the batshit loony wing of the Repubs siphoning off lots of them and leaving reasonable Republicans looking for something better...sigh. The big money two party system continues to rule the day, with about as much integrity in its "competition" as you'll find in the war on drugs.
While we were living in Korea last year, I joked that I really didn't want to come back to the U.S. for 2012 and have to suffer through the presidential election. Actually, it's turning out to be less horrifying or even eye-roll inducing, and instead it's boring me. Someone, anyone, convince me to care!