It’s hard to say when this election got out of hand.
Some would argue it was the uproar in the Kentucky race for United States Senate, tarnished as it was with ridiculous accusations about Rand Paul’s religious beliefs and a godhead called “aqua buddha.”
In a cycle that included Christine O’Donnell’s regrettable, “I’m not a witch,” Meg Whitman’s undocumented housekeeper, Nikki Diaz, crying on the shoulder of serial woman-scorned-attorney Gloria Alred, and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin shredding a copy of the cap and trade bill with real bullets, there has been no shortage of memorable, if not teachable, moments.
I think the election reached its fever pitch the night we had a family dinner and my 13-year-old daughter explained to her grandparents that the problem in America is “the rent is too damn high.” Unfamiliar as they were with the illustrious Jimmy McMillan, late of the New York gubernatorial contest, Amy brought my laptop to the dining room to play (yet again) the Youtube.com video of The Rent Is Too Damn High party’s mesmerizing candidate.
Too much election coverage in my house, or just a young teenager who wanted to get away with using the word “damn”? Hard to say.
One thing’s for sure: My teens aren’t the only ones that have been paying attention.
Only two years ago, America gave birth to its first “rock star” president. Barack Obama catapulted onto the political scene as a new and sensational celebrity. His concert-sized audiences and fainting fans, along with his politically “lite” message meant not to inform voters but to harness their emotions, captured the imagination of a new generation of the electorate.
It didn’t hurt that a starstruck media maintained then-candidate Obama’s über-cool image: young, hip, biracial, brilliant and liberal.
Unfortunately, a cool president does not a job market make. And what sounded two years ago like a call to idealistic action now plays like the tired, overwrought lyrics of a Dashboard Confessional song. (If you’re over 40 or have no young people around the house, you’ll just have to Google it. Sorry.)
When last week the president whined to Jon Stewart, “Yes we can, but…” the nation’s youth exhaled a collective, cynical groan.
Welcome to politics, kids.
Meanwhile, the rest of us have stopped simply grumbling among ourselves while shelling out more and more in local, state and federal taxes, flushing our hard earned dollars down the proverbial toilet of government spending.
We stopped simply huddling together at cocktail parties and youth sporting events and in the parking lot after church, talking incredulously about the latest leftist assault on our values and our sensibilities and our pocketbooks.