These days, I wish I could go back to apathy, because I'm sick to death of this crap. Sweet FSM in His Gilded Pot, it's like a bunch of cranky children whining and screaming to get what they want. Hey, I'm a fantasy author, so here's a fantasy -- how about the candidates get up there and tell us what they believe, and what they plan to do in office? Don't waste our time telling us your opponent is a lying poopy-head. If the other candidate is lying, it's the media's job to call them on it. (I said it's a fantasy, remember? Though I'm fairly impressed with what I've seen at factcheck.org.)
I hate that five minutes on FactCheck leaves me thinking the potential leaders of my country are all liars, idiots, or both. I hate that I live in a battleground state and have to spend the next month and a half listening to this crap every time I switch on the TV or the radio.
Mostly though, I hate what politics does to me. I'm not talking about my blood pressure skyrocketing every time I leave the house and see my neighbors' yard signs. I'm talking about falling into that same "us vs. them" absolutist Sithlord mindset.
One of the things I take pride in as a writer is my ability to develop characters and make them three-dimensional, interesting people, particularly the villains. As a rule, I dislike cardboard characters, especially the moustache-twirling villains who embrace evil for no better reason than because good is dumb*.
I already know who I'm going to vote for, and I know he's not perfect. But when I think about the other guy, I'm not thinking about a human being. I'm thinking about a cardboard villain who's going to ruin my country. Same goes for anyone who supports him. I don't think that maybe their priorities are different than mine, or maybe they have information I don't, or maybe there are other valid reasons for making a different choice. Nope, I just think to myself that they're a bunch of flaming idiots. My reasons for supporting my guy are good, strong, and best for the country. Your reasons are asinine.
Over the course of various books and stories, I've put myself into the minds of a lot of scummy characters, trying to see things from their point of view. Trying to humanize them and understand their choices, even though I don't agree with them. Murdering goblins and scheming stepsisters, evil overlords and KKK wizards. Goldfish Dreams has several scenes written from the point of view of a rapist. Those were among the hardest I've ever had to write, but I still tried to get into his head and understand things the way he would see them.
But I can't do the same for someone who says they're going to vote for the other guy? Someone with opposing political ideas is somehow a worse villain than all the rest? Something's seriously out of balance here.
In conclusion, please vote for Jig and Smudge this November. They're backstabbing, selfish little cowards who would eat their own mothers, but at least they're honest about it!
*Dark Helmet gets a pass here, 'cause he had a big Schwartz.