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Anger, Hate, and Frustration: This is America, 2008…

We are now in the most intense part of the most intense campaign season I have ever seen in my short 23-year long lifespan. In January, people were saying that Hillary Clinton would be the democratic nominee, and that John McCain’s campaign was dead in the water. In March, while Obama’s star was rising fast, Clinton supporters were still adamant that Obama’s best hope was the Vice-Presidential nomination. Meanwhile, Republicans hailed Fred Thompson as the last best hope for the party. Come summer time, up is down, left is right (figuratively, of course), McCain is the Republican nominee, and Barack Obama the hope of the Democrats.

Man, it’s been a really long year.

It’s no wonder people are so frustrated. If there is one thing the Bush years hammered into Americans on both sides of the isle, it’s that the President really does determine the direction America travels. Just look at the changes in the structure of our government since 2001. While the 9/11 attacks were certainly the impetus for most of those changes, there were a thousand different ways to respond to those attacks. Is there national consensus on whether the Department of Homeland Security was a bad idea? Certainly the words, “the Patriot Act” have become synonymous with tyranny in certain social circles (and on television, just watch an episode of Law & Order), but does that qualify for national consensus?

I think not.

Which is why everyone is so frustrated.

You know that feeling you get when you know you’re right about something and the person you’re disagreeing with refuses to acknowledge it? That slow building frustration you experience as you explain the issue to them from every possible perspective and know in your heart that the answer should be clearer to them than the alphabet – but they still refuse to acknowledge you are correct?

Now magnify that to half the country. Imagine that half the country felt that the other half were all “complete idiots” and all that frustration was just building up, maybe over, say, an eight year period.

And to make it even worse, those “complete idiots” that are “causing all the problems” feel just as frustrated about the first half, because from their point of view, those “smart guys” are the real “complete idiots.”

Wow. How in the world are we going to get through this?

Maybe the politicians can save us!

Ha! I think not.
In 2000, conservatives were extremely excited to get one of their own into office. While he certainly did enact many of their policies (particularly in his early years), how many conservatives do you know that are coming off the Bush years totally satisfied and happy with their government?

Democrats were chomping at the bit in 2006 to retake the congress, which they did. Yet what has changed? Even from their perspective, what has improved? They still curse the Bush administration, and they still claim an inability to enact the policies they believe to be absolutely necessary.

The politicians cannot save us. The American people themselves need to decide which direction they want the country take. Sadly, people have begun to view the candidates not in terms of what positions they take, but on their “public persona.” Obama is the young lion who will come into Washington bringing sweeping change. McCain is the aged warrior who no one listens to but should because he has the wisdom of experience. It was clear in the primaries that Americans wanted new blood, and since John McCain is anything but, he’s attempted to use the rhetoric that the press created for him in 2000, referring to himself as a “maverick.”

In reality, this is just a race between a one-term senator from Illinois and one of the oldest (and most boring) members of the Senate. Ironic that such a high-stakes race should come down to two very unlikely candidates. Can McCain beat Obama? Either way, I really do not think it will bring an end to America’s frustration. No matter the outcome, it will only be intensified.

-Daniel Noa