Politics and the Pack

Welcome to my blog, Ground One.
Ground Zero : Function: noun; Date: 1946 ~ 1: the point directly above, below, or at which a nuclear explosion occurs; 2: the center or origin of rapid, intense, or violent activity or change; 3: the very beginning .
Ground One: Function: verb; Date: 2008 ~ 1: to create a new beginning from an ending, starting from the ground up; 2: to use one’s life beliefs and values to break new ground; 3: to ground oneself; i.e., to become one with the earth or universal whole; 4: to journey within to find new solutions to ancient problems; 5to use one’s unique individual gifts to improve the whole; 6: to find common ground among a diversity of cultures, philosophies, and ideas.
Isn’t it strange how one minute life is going along like any other day, and then the page turns and someone virtually unknown becomes instantly famous, the object of massive public attention and ovation? The pack phenomenon always amazes yet escapes me. I always sat at concerts wondering what everyone was screaming about. Even rioting about. We recently went to a ball game, and “the wave” caught on. We kept it going from one side of the stadium to the other. It was fun, but I still didn’t get it. The pack mentality scares me, especially these days, because every pack has to have a leader.
            In politics, I don’t vote for cute babies, or beautiful children, or powerhouse spouses, even if they’re on the political road themselves, especially if they’re riding their partner’s coattails. I vote on the basis of a candidate’s performance—his or her voting record.
            Why were all those people at the Republican convention, chanting, “Drill, Baby, Drill!”? Was it because they believed what they were shouting, or were they shouting it because everyone else was? Do they know the long-term implications of what they were saying so forcefully? I know I don’t. Even though I’m against offshore drilling, I’d never shout out my opinion like it was the only way, the only solution. Although I might be standing alone, silent, waiting for everyone else to sit down and stop waving their fists.
            When the Republican vice presidential candidate made her rousing speech, I saw one woman mouth to another: “I like her.” I have a friend who thinks she’ll win the election for McCain because most women were looking for a replacement for Hillary Clinton. I must say I admire anyone who is as eloquent and at ease as Palin, but like her? I have no idea who she is, woman or not. I wouldn’t be shouting for her either.
            Nor would I have been shouting and shedding tears of joy over the Obama family. I don’t think I know who Obama is either. He’s a good orator, too. Charismatic. Graceful. Intelligent. It seems like he used the convention to help us to get us to know his family better. I appreciate that opportunity, but a few hours in the spotlight on an electronic satellite feed do not a relationship make. Besides, who he is doesn’t matter to me, as long as he’s basically moral. I don’t vote for a person. I vote for the issues. Some would argue judgment counts, yet doesn’t someone’s judgment show in his record of work?
            Now, John McCain is another story. I feel as though I already knew him. I read his book years ago. I empathized with his melanoma experience, because I’ve had my own. I look at him and think: what I see is what I get. However, I disagree with his votes on the floor lately. Plus, his vice presidential candidate, a heartbeat from the presidency, supports issues that are totally opposed to my ideology, whether I like her or not.
            My house is always at a suppressed political boiling point. We try to keep the peace by not discussing politics and religion. Yet my significant other recently quipped he was going to vote for the McCain/ Palin ticket because Palin named her baby “Trig,” which was his dad’s nickname. I realize he was joking, but come on! My mother was named “Sarah,” but that does not move me and will not sway my vote.
            All this to say, that even I, as the day approaches, find it’s becoming more difficult to separate the person from their platform. I want to select the right candidate, but I find it harder and harder to separate from the pack. I watched both conventions, more enraptured by the drama than by the words people spoke.
            So I’ve decided to wipe the slate clean and try again for clarity. This may be the first time in my life I vote straight from the heart. I don’t think I’ll know what hole I’ll punch, or button I’ll push, until I walk in the booth. So, I’ll breathe and say a little prayer. No, I’m not one of those people who always thinks God is always on my side, because I don’t really believe in sides. I just know I can’t go wrong if I look within. Because even in voting, as in living, it’s always only about grounding oneself and looking deep enough to know who you  are. And that, my friends, is the gift that America has given all of us—to follow our own inner guidance.