My Farewell to Arms, Sort of


As I woke up to continue my prep for yesterday’s procedure, I checked in on Facebook and see that the federal government may or may not have been shutdown. I suspect it won’t last long and the finger pointing will continue.

I’m sick of all of them. And that’s just not the colonoscopy prep or sedation talking. Would that it were so easy to cleanse ourselves from self serving politicians.

I have lamented this before.

Washington is broken. Badly. They all need to be replaced.

Here at home it’s not much better. The Governor is under investigation, the Attorney General, and gubernatorial hopeful is under funded, and the Lt. Governor appears to be hellbent on helping the Democrat win.

And here’s the thing. I can’t fix any of it.

After thirty plus years in professional politics and government, have I really changed anything? I don’t think so. That’s a sad thought.

And it’s not entirely correct. I have made a difference in campaigns and some organizations. Truth be told, I could have made a greater difference if people had listened to me. But, that’s another story.

Thing is, most of my “activism” in the past few years has been via the Internet and the blogs. I’ve done some good work; here, at Bearing Drift and at The Jeffersoniad.

Have I made a difference? Maybe. Have I changed outcomes? I don’t know but I have my doubts. And, so it comes to a point of “why bother?”

I have always felt that being politically informed and active is important. I still think the issues are important. But, for the most part, they’re beyond my reach. I hate feeling that way.

But, I don’t have the money to buy a politician. I don’t have the stomach to make phone calls or knock on doors. And I’m darn tired of staying up all night because someone is wrong on the Internet.

Earlier this week, my friend Ken wrote on Facebook:

Day after day, I have gotten on-line, read the news, and pontificated about what was right or wrong. At ths point, I see the direction of our country as being hopeless, and watching this decline day after day just leaves me depressed. And the fight, such as it is, takes me away from the truly important things in my life – my wife and kids, my job, my faith.

I am so there. But can I let go?

Ken is leaving, and I think I am too. Or at least I’m going to try.

Go ahead and scoff. I’ll wait.

I’m serious. Or I want to be.

I’ve found other places to play. I’m more and more involved in the theater and acting. I’m trying to do real writing. I’m doing ministry through the church, and hopefully some through the writing.

I can make this world a better place in those areas with a far greater impact than I’ll ever have in politics.

A recent guest speaker at our church said, “politics will never change the world, but the church can.” That’s a paraphrase from his actual words. But what an incredibly true statement.

I want to make a difference. I’m not making one in politics.

Can I really give it up? Not easily. I work for the government and I’m at a level where my bosses are political appointees. I have to tell you that I dread the possibility of a McAuliffe Administration and who those new bosses might or might not be. At the same time, I’ve already worked under five governors. I’m still there. They’re not.

As one of our cabinet secretaries said of the last transition, “Same circus. Different clowns.”

I digress.

Lots of people work for the government without being politically active. Can I divorce myself from the process? It won’t be easy.

I think the only way to make a completely clean break is to quit my job (which I’d love to, but can’t afford to), and go completely social media free.

That ain’t gonna happen. I’ve given up sugar, for heaven’s sake, leave me something.

It will take a disciplined focus. One I’ve actually tried to exercise a couple of times in the past few weeks.

Go ahead, scoff again.

When friends with differing political views have posted comments, or pictures, or snarks, I’ve found myself typing a response and then deleting it because I dont’t want to lose the friendship. Several times yesterday, as I was allowing this post to simmer, I went over to Facebook, typed a response and deleted it. People had their facts wrong. I could have proven it. But I wouldn’t have changed their opinion. Earlier this week, I refrained from liking a status this week because of the comments and conversations I knew would come from my conservative and Christian friends.

I hate being in that box.

I have long term friends I can argue politics with and still remain friends. I’ve also lost a few friends or followers because of politics. That’s just silly. And more than a little sad.

I suppose I’m being delusional to think I could make a complete break from politics. But I can focus my attention elsewhere. And try to limit the distractions. Still, there’s a bit of freedom in recognizing that government is broken, but I can’t fix it. I’m thinking that government is going to make us all miserable no matter who is in charge.

There’s even more freedom in realizing that, while it may not look at it, God is in charge and none of this surprises him. He wrote the book. He wrote the final chapter. I’ve read it. And I need to read it again.

I’m sure that I’ve made similar proclamations before. [See Make This World A Better Place] But not every addict gets clean on the first round of rehab. Sometime, somewhere, someone is going to piss me off and type up a tirade or a snark. The challenge will be in not posting it.

I still believe in this country. My principles haven’t changed. But I’ve lost faith in the political process. Perhaps I put too much faith in it to begin with. Heaven knows I put too much energy into it.

Energy, and time, that now needs to be directed elsewhere.

1 ping

  1. […] I’m not going to analyze that here. Let the people who get paid the mega-bucks (win or lose) do that.  I never got paid the big bucks and I really don’t want to play anymore. […]

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