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Joanna Lamb Looby Headshot

Election Consuming The Lives Of Everyone I Know

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I am an Obama supporter, and I want my life back. For those of us who have been supporting Senator Obama from the day that he announced his candidacy in Springfield, Illinois, this race has been excruciatingly long, emotionally intense, and absolutely riveting. The primary battles, the endless debates, the attacks, and the innuendo have been going on for nearly two years.

I am a political science major and a self-avowed political junkie, so it's not surprising that I am so obsessed, but this election is consuming the lives of everyone I know. Even with my previously serious political habit, I didn't used to watch TV talking heads or obsessively check the blogs, the polls, and my email for the latest political news.

My formerly apolitical husband has a crush on Rachel Maddow (I know, who doesn't?), has taken to watching hours of political shows, and now that the Red Sox are in the playoffs, his TV to-do list is getting out of control.

Our friends are also grappling with their obsession with the election, and how time-consuming it has become. Every time we get together we talk politics. There used to be room for other ideas, books we had read, movies we had seen, but now all is politics. We had a get-together for our son's birthday last week, and because my in-laws are mostly voting Republican, we all tried to stay clear of political discussions. We failed. There is no topic right now, other than sports, and even that's debatable, that doesn't tie back to politics. Talk about the economy, education, travel, or entertainment, and you are talking about politics. Even talking about the weather becomes a full-blown policy discussion. This is not news of course; politics affects every area of our lives and always has; but I'm not used to everybody being so aware of that reality.

This morning it was my day to drive the kids to school. The sixth graders in our carpool were talking about how they would vote, if they could, on California's propositions, and which candidate they would support for president. Hint: the 11 year-old girl in my carpool was wearing a T-shirt that said "Community Organizer." I am achingly proud of my fellow citizens for their more than justified interest in this election, and I love to have so many people to talk politics with, but I am also longing for the suspense to be over already.

The ragingly schizophrenic pinball that is John McCain has only increased my sense of urgency to have this race be done -- don't get me started on Sarah Palin. I truly didn't think that the Republicans could scare me more than they did with the Bush/Cheney ticket, but astoundingly, they have exceeded my fear and loathing expectations with their choice of McCain/Palin. It is tragic to see how low the fight for the highest office in the land can go, and how the previously respectable Senator John McCain has mired himself in the muck of Rovian tactics. The longevity of this race has been grueling, but the ugliness of the past couple of weeks has been deeply disturbing.

For 20 plus months I have spent hours and hours examining the issues, studying poll numbers, sifting through rumors, reading the latest opinions, as well as being a precinct captain, phone banking, canvassing, data managing, and just generally trying to make myself useful to the campaign. I can't wait to talk about something other than politics, at least until the next cycle begins again.

My best friend called me this week from Portland and announced that she is "over democracy;" her decision came from the awful realization that the election will begin again in two years. She said she would be fine with a nice tidy monarchy, just so she wouldn't have to deal with the lunatic circus that presidential politics has become. Of course she was kidding, but I think only half, and for a second there, I could see her point.