Look, for me, the political arena is kind of like the queer community here at U of M: you might try to ignore it, or avoid it, because it’s cliched or boring or melodramatic, but somehow if you find yourself in the demographic it generally encompasses, there’s only so long you can go without getting involved somehow. I used to think I wanted to run for President one day, but I think now that’s a load of shit. I would rather be able to blaze my own trails. Yeah, yeah, I’m an academic pussy, but are you surprised? I’m studying philosophy. We weren’t designed for life outside the ivory tower.

That said, I spend a lot of time lurking on political blogs, left and right, combing candidates’ sites and trying to figure out who is going to fuck up the least. I am, after all, in the demographic that American politics effects the most: Americans. Everyone’s tired. I think that of most of the people I talk to on campus who don’t directly do work for one party or another are just tired. Not just of bullshit candidates and the adamant refusal to answer questions, but also of the American political system itself.

I keep telling people that democracy is the worst form of government except for the others that have already been tried (attributed to Winston Churchill, am I right?) and I really believe that. (Watch me get elected with that kind of faith in the system!) I’m a guy who’s a little like John Adams: willing to go along with this democracy thing, I guess, but skeptical about the judgments made by the masses. My phobia of the pedestrian, illiterate and the mundane is probably my biggest fear. (Outside of zombies.)

At the same time I have this innate love of the Internet. I honestly think that if we are to make a democratic system effective knowledge and information must be free and easy to obtain – and this applies not just to information about candidates, it also applies to knowledge about how the health care system really works, or why we should infringe on someone’s rights (or if it’s justified at all). Well-educated societies produce good government under a democratic or republican model, because the electorate can pick representatives or vote for legislation that makes sense. (Obviously real life is never that easy.)

Probably the best manifestation of both my faith in the Internet and my disdain (fear?) of the populists is Ron Paul. He’s embracing new technology, from being one of two Republican candidates currently slated to take part in the CNN/YouTube debates for their party. He’s for net neutrality. (Speaking of faith in the Internet, how can you have it of someone else controls it?) He has all the right moves, too – not afraid to speak his mind, nothing to hide. Really, the guy has nothingto be particularly ashamed of, as far as I can see, except for the fact that his support base is such that the first five Paul devotees I met were fat Goth kids. (Okay, so one was a secret Internet fatty, but we’ll still count it.)

That aside, I also kind of balk at guys who are really into national sovereignty to the point where they want to withdraw from NAFTA and the UN. International conspiracy to take over U.S. sovereignty, for sure. That’s why the U.S. is a permanent member of the Security Council, and countries vote for, and engage in protracted debate on, motions (don’t get me started on the fact they’re quite ineffective anyway). Let’s not ignore the corruption and bribery in these bodies. I’m sure it never happens in America.

Look, people aren’t perfect, and I expect nothing less of my national government and international regulatory bodies than a few corruption scandals every now and then. But resisting the UN from the White House is kind of a silly idea from a guy who also says that “we must not isolate ourselves.” If I’m not mistaken this seems like a somewhat contradictory foreign policy plan.

I want really badly to just agree with someone for once, but the only person I’m ever going to really agree with is me, I guess. I want really badly to have a candidate I can endorse. And that’s why I think most of us kids are tired. (Let the flame war begin!)

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