Monday, June 19, 2006

Screaming at the Sun

A few weeks ago, I was venting my own political frustrations over the phone to a friend named E. Though E. and I clash on some issues, many of our beliefs ring the same. And because he's one of my few friends that are somewhat politically alert, he understands and sympathizes with my frustrations in a way that one who didn't know them couldn't.

My own feeling of political helplessness seems to come and go with the weather; generally it is the irresponsivenesses of politicians that sends my emotions into overdrive, though I'm not entirely sure what act played catalyst to this particular incident.

"I'm just so aggravated," I confessed. "I can't seem to do anything to make people care. I can't seem to do anything."

"It's like screaming at the sun," he replied.

It only hit me today how much that metaphor really fits.

Today was the Hurricane Preparedness Forum, and like any wide-eyed political activist, I had a small list of questions prepared to ask the senator that could not be answered by his aides in Washington. Since writing him already proved ineffective, I hoped that perhaps that by speaking to him directly--as his aides suggested--I might come to a better understanding with the senator.

I quickly scrambled into line after the forum ended, hoping for some clarification on a few issues. He answered the questions of several individuals, caught up with some people standing ahead of me that were acquaintances/friends, and even posed for photos. I wrongly thought he'd be able to spare a few minutes for me.

I stuttered out an introduction and shook his hand, and before I could say anything more, he was already moving out to reach the next person. I'm used to this sort of reaction from almost everyone; though I'm 21, my petite stature makes me look five years younger. I cut him off, and politely stammered out the first of my small list of questions--all questions that could not be answered by his aides in Washington earlier in the week.

My first question wasn't related to the forum, but was still an important concern to me. His aides were incapable of answering my question; this was a concern that only he could respond to.

"I'd like to keep the subject on hurricane preparedness," he replied. I understood this completely, so I planned to move on to my hurricane-related inquiries. But before I could even utter another word, the man had already turned to the next person in line.

I was about to interrupt again, to voice my concerns and worries, but I just gave up. Somewhere in those few seconds, I realized that it wasn't worth it. I was screaming at the sun. Nothing I could say would move him. I'd have to be old, like the woman he moved to after me or wearing a tie emblazoned with the Republican elephant like the man ahead of me before Vitter would feel the need to address my concerns the way he did theirs.

I had been blown off.

But there's still one question that I can't seem to answer. Why exactly was I blown off? Was it because my question regarding his stance on the NPR/PBS funding cut that obviously labeled me as a liberal? Or was it because I was (or looked) so young, and therefore wasn't a valuable part of his constituency?

Why was I so undeserving of his time?


Anonymous Adrastos said...

You're not part of the Republican base and that's all Vitty-cent cares about, said the wizened cynic.

Loved the title of the post.

Monday, June 19, 2006 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

Thanks. It somehow felt really appropriate tonight.

The entire debacle was really frustrating, though. I can't get answers from his aides, his e-mails go unanswered (or, in the case of the "marriage protection act", responded to incorrectly), and the one opportunity I have to actually approach him, I'm completely blown off.

Monday, June 19, 2006 10:50:00 PM  
Anonymous ashley said...

There's just no talking to you people.

That's why he didn't.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 2:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must have known very well by now that those "public servants" will talk to you only if you're the kind of people who can afford $1000 dinner campaign contribution. Even if you get a reply from him, don't expect it will be a honest, direct answer because he has absolutely no clue how to solve any problem. Once the politicians are getting themselves elected/re-elected, they acquire all the benefits, such as health care, retirement pensions... that are dennied to the general public (not to mention giving themselves hefty salary raise/year). They just let politics run the normal course, "business as usual", put their party loyalty, special interest groups, and of course money (big money) over the real interest, and concern of the general public. They use the general public as a tool, consider general people as fools, think that they can always manipulate the people. Just look a the debates and issues of last elections. The "emotional, moral" issues are always brought up as top concern in every election campaign even though those issues were absolutely have no effect on the general public. The general people, of course, always get suck to the debate, distracted from the real issues, and vote for politicians who provide suitable answers their ears. Thus they always vote for the scrupulous "car saleman" type of politician. In a certain way, those "public service" crooks are correct: "The public are generally dumb and very easy to be manipulated".

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous dangerblond said...

T, Vitter has worked long and hard to get to the top, where he no longer cares about anything except staying there. Can you help him stay in power? No? Then you don't exist.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 1:58:00 PM  

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