I've regretted studying politics and government and public policy since arriving back here in 1997. The "campaigns" of 2012 offer me a good reminder as to why.
$6 billion spent and almost no indication the country is ready to move past the general malaise which it has spent the last decade or more in. Colbert King rightly labeled the campaigns as "obscene". Historian David McCullough lamented the lack of authenticity on 60 minutes this past Sunday and was incredulous that so much money could be spent on so many worthless words and images.
I would add that for a country that prides itself on competition our political system could't be anymore less competitive. Gerrymandering, Super PACS, and plutocrats have so limited the polity's choices and freedoms. A mild, but creeping (and creepy) fascism has taken hold of the people's dreams and ambititions. Sure, the people get to have some say on the pols who create social policies, but there are few differences between the donkeys and elephants on the big issues of the economy, security, and foreign policy.
But as McCollough noted, Americans have always been somewhat pessimistic. It might actually provide the impetus for positive change. Let's at least hope that a future generation can sort it out.
Today, I saw a pragmatic and motivated group of fifth graders rise to the occasion and create their own classroom government that will make laws and administer justice in the hope of making their school year even better. I was impressed by the passion some had for attaining office and the seriousness in which they decided upon a judge and attorney general. They are even planning a "convention" to write a consitution for "we the kids."