The Benefits of Being First: A Political Rant

Life’s little ironies surprise me sometimes.  One of those is that so many games involve politics, and I generally hate politics.  Even as far back as Super Mario Bros., the Mushroom Kingdom was in turmoil because the Princess had been kidnapped; in the original Zelda, Hyrule was on the brink of collapse because Gannon had Zelda and was looking to use the Triforce to take over the kingdom.  The games went on from there, relying on the premise of the country/kingdom/land in danger of collapse because a villain had thrown the political scheme into a raging tempest.  And now the games I enjoy like Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Skyrim all rely on politics as the basic framework for the storyline.

I can get caught up in those politics.  I can put effort into thinking if I’d rather join the Imperials or the Stormcloaks; or if I want to side with the templars to become Viscount and run Kirkwall the right way; or if I want to leave Anora on the throne, or execute Loghain for his treason, or make Alistair king…

But ask me a political question about the real world?  I’m useless.  What’s more, I’ll probably try to change the subject, or just run away a la Sir Robin (yes, Monty Python reference, couldn’t resist).  It’s strange because my job is extremely political.  Every election year the union promotes certain candidates over others because of their stance on labor and/or education, and contract negotiations depend heavily on who’s been elected.  And yet I can’t seem to stomach it.

What I can stomach even less is when every four years the media, press, paparazzi, and a slough of candidates swoop down upon my state and kiss up to us all for our votes.  It’s part of being first.  We get just about everyone who hasn’t yet run out of money or run into so much scandal that any hope of being elected is gone.  We get the super conservatives and the ultra liberals.  We get the independents.  We get the ABC debate with all the big-time anchors sitting in a local college analyzing the candidates’ stances and how they did.  Basically we get a political and news circus.

Come primary day in January the circus reaches a frenzy.  It’s like some sort of political Baccanalia, minus the drunken orgies.  Or so I’d assume.  You never know with politicians.  Today I will walk the gauntlet of sign-bearing, chanting supporters.  I will keep my eyes front and my face blank and go in, get my ballot, and fill in my dot.  I will make sure to keep my party affiliation at independent (another reason I have issues choosing between Imperial or Stormcloak–in real life I’m very moderate and remain a registered independent).  And when I walk out I will try to dodge the pleading smiles and stares of supporters who are certain I picked their candidate because he was the best.

I really hate primary season, but there are some good things about it.  One, there’s no school today for voting, which I’m totally okay with; I have a ton of stuff to get done around here anyway.  But the most important?  After today the circus leaves town for at least another 8-10 months until the general election in November.  Like a town bereft of its circus, there will be fliers and signs strewn about that have no significance; they only remind us of the excitement that happened, and is now gone.  But that’s okay, in this case.  There won’t be anymore political ads on TV for some time.  The media can finally leave us alone.

Being first is a pain, but after today’s primary, we don’t have to worry about it anymore.  We’re done.  Other states will have to deal with the ads and the campaigns and the mudslinging (and the psychos in the media, and those running for office).  The news can go on to analyze other states and their voters, and the candidate pool can dwindle down until the party conventions when they officially choose a candidate to run… but at that point EVERY state has to deal with what we dealt with.  But from January onward?  We can relax.

So while I rather dislike being first because of the craziness associated with it, I’m glad we are because we can get it over with.  God, the Maker, the eight deities, whomever, be with the states who come after us.

And just because I have to: I was going to go out and vote for your candidate, but then I took an arrow to the knee.  (and voted for who I wanted to win).