The GOP’s ‘Amazing Race’

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By Meaghan Downs

I love reality shows.
Especially presidential elections.
For most of us who follow politics, it seems as though we’re beginning an unnecessary fifth season of “The Amazing Race Political Survivor: Iowa and New Hampshire,” not diving into the infancy of the 2012 presidential race.
I’m already exhausted by the debates, the practiced on-camera smiles and blind predictions for the Republican Party nominee.  
But somehow, I can’t look away, like one of those bug-eating episodes of “Fear Factor.”
There’s something intriguing and truly bizarre about the voting process in America.
Drinking coffee with “the locals.”
Pretending people still gather for town hall talks.
The plethora of red, white and blue confetti.  
Although compared to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who allegedly forced workers to attend a rally in his honor and advocated “nationwide psychotherapy” for unhappy street protesters, perhaps we’re relatively normal.  
For some countries, being able to vote freely is what’s truly bizarre.
It’s hard to think about the power of the vote when, up until 2008, voter turnout in recent years was disappointing at best.
Back in 2008, I watched election returns by refreshing my Internet browser, over and over again while attempting to work the front desk of my college’s library.
I’m not sure if patrons appreciated me shouting updates of the total electoral votes coming in for McCain and Obama about every 10 minutes.
After work, I rushed back to my dorm room to watch the final results of the first presidential election I was ever eligible to vote in.
I’m already concerned, at the beginning of January, how I’m going to watch election returns this upcoming November without access to a variety of local or national TV news outlets.
Yeah, I know. I’m an election nerd.
But it’s just not the same, to be unable to watch national history in real time.
Because, whether we like it or not, those presidential elections are history.
And we all can be participants in that history, if we choose to be.
Anderson County will also be seeing some election seats up free to be claimed in 2012, including city council and school board seats.
I haven’t lived in Lawrenceburg long enough to know how elections are viewed and debated here.
But hopefully, that election won’t resemble a twisted episode of “The Bachelor.”
That’s one reality show I could never stomach.