The Undecided

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People who say they're still undecided about who they're going to vote for in the 2012 election total about 6 to 8 percent of the United States electorate, according to the most recent on-line data I could find as of this writing, in an opinion piece by Peter Funt of Monterey County's The Herald.

Really? Like Funt, I don't get it. After all the rigmarole we've had to listen to for what feels like years already, some people honestly don't know?

I can't recall the last time I ran into someone of any age or background who said he didn't know which party he'd support in November. And it doesn't seem like anyone is swayed by political debate. Have you ever had a conversation about politics with someone and been able to change his mind? I haven't. In fact, I avoid political conversations, because they are so fruitless--and they’re rarely rational, reasonable debates.

It's kind of like a staunch Green Bay Packer fan becoming a Chicago Bears die-hard after a reasonable conversation with a guy in blue and orange at a bar. In other words: Unlikely.

Yep, these days, the parties are more like sports teams we're loyal to for often completely unexamined reasons, rather than groups we're assessing independent of prior preferences and based on their current positions and recent records.

I know who I'm voting for in November. I believe I've made my decision based on research and reasoning. I'm not going to change my mind. So I, for one, have stopped listening to the political hysteria. (And it does seem like hysteria. Both parties are making me sick with their end-of-days messaging.)

Given that I'm in Texas, I'm getting the least of it. In a swing state? I send you my sincerest sympathies. But at least you'll get a visit from the candidates, and I can see that personal touch from the person running as being the one thing that could possibly sway someone.

And sadly, this all costs so much. Between congressional contests and the presidential election, Businessweek wrote that the 2012 election is on track to cost more than $6 billion. The United States is a large country; candidates will always need to spend a sizeable sum to canvass it properly. But is the amount of politicking this year necessary? Do we really need this much more stumping around than we did only a few years ago? Couldn't all this money be better used elsewhere? After all, it's so desperately needed in so many other places.