The Politics of “Nope”

The above is a play on the title of the popular book by Senator Barack Obama which championed a new way to look at politics and running this country. I had hopes that given this election – featuring both an African-American and a woman in prominent roles – would be different.

I thought perhaps the days of mud-slinging and personal attacks were done. I really believed that given the state of this country and the serious issues facing America, this would be a very different campaign. Instead of the politics of “Hope”, we have been treated to the same old politics … or in this case, the politics of “nop”e.

The latest in this campaign which maybe breaking new ground, but quickly wallowing back into the mud is Obama’s public “divorce” from his pastor: the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. While Wright’s comments have been seen as controversial and devisive, the realy issue is whether Obama is truly outraged by those comments or reacting to poll numbers which show him slipping.

While we may never know the answer, what we are learning is that politics will always be about personality and not about policy. While we say as an electorate we want a serious discussion abuot policy, nothing moves polls like character debate .. and that’s exactly what the candidates are giving us. Think about it: what do we remember from the last debate? Not the last 45 minutes of substantial issue discussion, but the first 45 minutes which was taken up with who lied and who “mis-spoke”.

As the campaign progresses, I doubt we’ll ever see this serious discussion of the issues … we will just continue to talk about who said what and who knows who and this supposed “breakthrough” election which was supposed to finally take race and gender of the table have made race and gender front and center.

It’s a shame. Instead of making progress, this election has maintained the status quo … and we, as an electorate, are the worse for it.

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