where 'it' is, of course, the US presidential election.
This is the second such election I've lived through whilst residing in the US. To be honest, I didn't notice the first one (2004) all that much. For one, I wasn't entitled to vote in it; for another, being unemployed for the first half of the campaign, I wasn't listening to the radio. Since I never watch TV news that left very few ways for the campaign to get at me.
Not so this time around! At first I thought it was interesting but as time wore on it becomes tiring; Obama this, McCain that, Hilary the other. And that's after the field has thinned down. When Huckabee and Romney and Edwards were still in it the cacophony from the Republicans had to be heard to be believed.
Now it's the Democrats vying for maximum attention, as though the ability to shriek the loudest will win the nomination.
Uh huh; six months or so of this and they're still deciding the nominees! How I pine for the relative sanity of a system where the party chooses its candidates out of the public eye.
Already I've offended those few US readers who still read me; how dare I criticise the system? But you know what? If you want to have a say in who stands for your party then join the damn party! Let me have none of this voter registration where I have to tick a box saying whether I want to vote in the Republican Primary, or the Democrat Primary, or am independent! Particulary not when it's an exclusive choice, as it is in Arizona. If I plump for the Dems I can't cast a vote in the Republican primaries and vice versa! And don't ask the taxpayer to foot the bills for the primaries!
But this is the way it's always been here; therefore it's the only way it can ever be. I'm just as guilty of this thought as those I criticise. The Australian system seems completely natural to me, because that's the system I grew up in. And preselection battles in Australian politics can get nasty at times. Nevertheless, an Australian election campaign is short and sharp, mercifully so. After it's done we get on with life and can forget the entire dirty business for another three years!
I still haven't decided who to vote for though it should come as no surprise that I lean toward the left. The problem is that what counts as the left in US politics is still pretty right to me! Of course, even in Australian politics, the left is pretty right these days. And yet I feel I must vote for someone; to take the easy way out and not bother to vote at all is to make no choice at all! And if that be the case, then why become a citizen?