During several recent discussions about the upcoming election, I found myself becoming increasingly cynical and angry about the current state of American politics.
Every conversation quickly falls into a scripted high school drama. Same props. Same clumsy staging. Same bad actors. Same lame director and playwright. Over and over and over again. The. Same. Old. Lines.
I also found myself jumping almost immediately into questioning my discussion partner's motives for holding his/her particular views as well as doubting their good will. Can we all say, "Lack of charity"?
Two minutes into the conversation and we're getting nasty; I mean, really nasty. Not obscene, of course, but accusatory and dismissive. This is not how a Dominican "theologian" and philosopher should engage in a disputatio.
It started to feel to me like the Bad Old Days of lit grad school when we made a sport of ripping each other to shreds over asinine things like one's preference for a certain kind of poetry or literary theory. Many friendships and professional relationships were ended, for example, over whether or not critical-literary theory had a legitimate place in literary studies.
Basically, I'm an idealist with a strong attachment to reality as it is. This is a deadly combo b/c it leads very easily to cynicism. Politics is no place for an idealist who flirts with despair.
So. . .I'm out.
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