Occupational Hazards

Driving home, I saw an Obama '08 bumper sticker. In other places this would be unremarkable, but given that the area is very conservative and it was a white guy driving a beat up pick-up truck, it came to me as a pleasant surprise. I mentally congratulated my southern compatriot for defying racist stereotype and deviating from the political norm. Then I looked again, saw it was in fact a "No"bama sticker, and sighed (There's also this version, which , notwithstanding "it's" grammatical hiccup, tries to clear things up a bit.). It will come as no surprise to loyal readers that I dislike politics, but in recent weeks I've become even more disenfranchised by it. Whereas before I saw politics' corrupting influence as being confined to a smallish band of its practitioners and immediate associates, I see now the blackness spreading to enshroud anyone who possesses the mental faculty sufficient to form and hold opinions on the subject. Reasonable people become unreasonable, views can only fit into one of two possible narratives, and a desire for what is true becomes subservient to seeing that a certain candidate win (or lose). That politicians act the way they do is no surprise considering the bad occupational incentives, but evidently there is also plenty left over to which the public can respond.

A simple statement runs through my head a lot these days:

To think more objectively, become less allied.

This idea is especially clear to most who have lived abroad, I suspect.