Can't say I've been following the campaigns or the conventions with anything like the interest and involvement I once had. No, not at all.
It's not so much the sham and charade of it all as it is the fact that at some point you learn that the spectacle has a particular purpose: to keep the Rabble amused and distracted sufficiently -- divided and at one another's throats if need be and possible -- to enable the continued exploitation and looting by the privileged elites.
It's a basic principle of rule.
Whatever else goes on, the Rabble must never be allowed to express their own interests and govern their own lives. Ever.
I have essentially no interest in either of the two major candidates for the presidency of the United States, for example. They may be a tremendous contrast to one another (or maybe not), but neither has shown a determination to enable the People's liberation. Instead, they both show a strong tendency to want to order and command the Rabble to extract the most power from them. The idea of self-governance doesn't occur to either of them. It's more a matter of who can assert dominance over the masses "better."
Of course the electoral process was irreparably damaged when the Supreme Court lawlessly intervened in the 2000 election, handing the presidency to George Bush the Lesser and his enforcer Mr. Cheney.
I'm old enough to remember some other lawless interference, including the assassination President Kennedy in 1963, and numerous subsequent assassinations, upheavals, bewildering government behaviors (such as wars and what have you) and constant economic exploitation and social and political repression.
But the election interference by the Supreme Court in 2000 was unprecedented, and it essentially put the lie to the whole idea of "elections." If they don't produce the "correct" result within a certain time frame, then they will be canceled and the Supreme Court will decide the outcome.
In the interim since then, we've seen, over and over again a plethora of electoral outcome shenanigans, from outright voter intimidation/suppression, to fungible machine counts, constantly off kilter polls (ha!), and media collusion for desirable outcomes. The Supreme Court hasn't had to interfere again, so that's good, I guess. But the mask came off, and I think more than a few people understand that if the outcome isn't satisfactory to the PTB, then the Court can and will intervene again. But it's almost impossible to imagine that the outcome cannot be remotely manipulated to produce the desired result so as to obviate direct intervention.
So. Don't think your vote really matters. It doesn't.
Besides, we've been given such dismal choices this time around. At least Obama had charm and grace. Neither of these two -- Clinton or Trump -- have either. Many have speculated that if Obama could run again, he'd be elected in a heartbeat over either of these two, and that's probably correct.
Can't say that Bernie has/had much charm or grace, either.
Of course, this has nothing to do with policy. It has everything to do with personality, and that's what our elections for president have been running on for practically ever. It's not about the policy. It's about the personalities on offer.
Those of us who try to keep things on a policy plane (heh) say that really, neither of the major candidates has anything to offer the Rabble besides more pain, suffering, and exploitation, and it appears from the signs and portents that one of them, Mrs. Clinton, is eager to get her war on, while the other, Mr. Trump, may wish to delay it for a bit, until the US itself is "cleansed." Yeek. Neither is really a palatable option in my view.
I will say that it was obvious to many of us during the 2000 election that Mr. Bush and his familiar Mr. Cheney were more than eager to gain the White House and get their war on. I remember online bets being taken over how long it would be before Bush-Cheney involved the US in a major armed conflict. I said "6 months," and of course lost because it actually took 9 months to get things started.
But that war started so long ago now, many young people who will be able to vote in the 2018 congressional elections (if they want to) can't remember a time when the US wasn't at war abroad and at home... It appears to be a permanent state of war -- which is what Bush-Cheney wanted apparently -- that the Rabble can do nothing about.
Trump wants to expand the imperial wars against Muslims, whereas Clinton seems to want to expand the Empire -- by any means necessary including nuclear confrontation -- to absorb/dismantle both Russia and China.
Whichever one succeeds in gaining the White House, they are both mad, and their warmongering policies are utter madness. But that's where our governing class is these days -- delusional, insane, dangerous, mad.
There is this notion that Clinton is somehow the consummate E-Ville of All Time, and Trump is not, but this is silly. They are both products of a corrupt and evil system, only one is slicker at it than the other, and one will be slightly sly-er at accomplishing the ends that system desires than the other. The system itself is evil, if you will, and it will only produce choices-candidates who fit the interests of the system. Don't fool yourself that one is uniquely evil and the other is not. They are parallel products of the same system. Both equally nasty.
So what do you do?
Clearly, the system is not self-correcting. If anything, it's getting worse. The option many have chosen is to withdraw and build a better -- but separate -- society that exists outside the parameters of government and rule.
That may be sufficient over the short term, but the long term looks pretty bleak. There is no escape from the vicissitudes of climate change, for example, and it looks from the evidence that the Empire will grind on like the Juggernaut it is, rolling over everything in its path in perpetuity. In other words, there's no permanent escape from the Juggernaut of Empire, either.
Stopping the Juggernaut will take some doing, and so far, nothing has proved effective against it. On the other hand, you never know what will be effective until you try it.
We are in such interesting times, no?