After spending a couple of decades on the sidelines, I've become reengaged in the political process.
On the face of it, this may seem a little silly. After all, I have no kids or grandkids with futures to worry about. Why should I care? America will probably hold together until I shuffle off this mortal coil, right?
I guess I have become engaged again for the same reason that, as college seniors, several of my fraternity brothers and I voted on every candidate trying to pledge our house. Typically seniors rarely attended chapter meetings, let alone worry about voting on pledges. I was part of a group genuinely concerned with our legacy and the type of house we left behind. We felt that installing solid pledge classes our senior year would translate into a solid chapter for the next two or three years.
I may not have progeny to fret about, but I am profoundly ashamed of the mess we have made of our government and society. I am sad and embarrassed that those who follow us won't have the same opportunities we had.
So, I have become more politically aware and active.
Like the authors of the fiction I usually read -- Nelson DeMille first pops to mind -- the political commentary I follow is written by commentators who grab me as much by how they write as they do by what they write.
As a writer, I am always impressed by sharp writing.
My newest favorite political commentator is Jonah Goldberg. He is the editor-at-large for the National Review Online and author of the book Liberal Fascism. Always entertaining, his work is well researched and to the point.
He never fails to make me laugh out loud at least once when reading one of his political essays.
Here's a paragraph pulled from yesterday's commentary regarding Iowa's straw poll:
"For the record, the straw poll is a really stupid fund-raising stunt for the Iowa GOP. It's primarily geared to candidates with support from one of two constituencies: the passionate and the easily bribed. Ron Paul's second-place finish proves that it's in no meaningful way a real poll, as his supporters are akin to "Battlestar Galactica" loyalists at a "Star Trek" convention, incapable of winning many converts and themselves unwilling to switch teams. Still, the straw poll is a fixture of the landscape, and candidates must deal with it."
Battlestar Galactica loyalists at a Star Trek convention...
It made me smile.