Thursday, December 14, 2006

The ugliness of politics

NB: I wrote this post last evening at the Cranky Con:

Earlier this evening, when it was reported that Senator Tim Johnson had a stroke, my initial reaction, after "that's so sad" was, "hmmm, South Dakota has a Republican governor. That could be interesting." Immediately I was repulsed by my own gut, political reaction. A human being possibly could be dying, and I was contemplating the political rammifications.

What's even sadder, I was not the only one. A cursory glance through my blogline headlines showed that just about every political blog had mentioned the story, and most were discussing the possible political fallout. The Kos Kids were praying for Tim Johnson - not because they valued him as a human being, but because the Democratic majority in the Senate was possibly imperiled. Conservative bloggers were speculating as well.

I suppose that it's just the nature of being a political - what, observer? We're so obsessed with politics that the only thing we can possibly think about are the politics of a man dying. It's probably not completely irrational or abnormal, but it's sad that politics weighs so heavily on our minds that our first thoughts upon hearing the news that a Senator has possibly had a stroke is to think about politics. Quite frankly, it's pretty disgusting. And I take little solace in the knowledge that I was not the only one whose first thoughts were of political matters.

As it turns out Johnson appears okay and didn't have a stroke after all. That's great news. And I'd like to think that the first thought of everyone hearing that news is, "Good for him." But we all know that it probably wasn't the first thing that entered a lot of our heads.

Politics truly is an ugly business sometimes.

Addendum: I just want to add, that I'm not singling anyone out. Repeal has written a post below regarding the issue, and I'm in no way criticizing him for that. I had to go to the Hill today for a briefing and we passed George Washington Hospital, where Johnson is right now, and there were a gaggle of press people outside. And everyone in the car - all "political" types - commented on it, and it has been one of the primary things we're all talking about. In the end, it just saddens me in a way that while a human being's life is in the balance, politics has to be our primary focus. Again, it can be a really ugly, de-humanizing business sometimes.


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