David Foster Wallace wrote a wonderful piece on the campaign trail of John McCain back in 2000. He describes the way that we’ve been hurt by politics and how that creates a sense of listlessness and ennui:
It’s ultimately just about that complicated: it hurts. We learn this at like age four – it’s grownups’ first explanation to us of why it’s bad to lie (“How would you like it if … ?”). And we keep learning for years, from hard experience, that getting lied to sucks – that it diminishes you, denies you respect for yourself, for the liar, for the world.
[…] So who wouldn’t yawn and turn away, trade apathy and cynicism for the hurt of getting treated with contempt? And who wouldn’t fall all over themselves for a top politician who actually seemed to talk to you like you were a person, an intelligent adult worthy of respect? A politician who all of a sudden out of nowhere comes on TV as this total long-shot candidate and says that Washington is paralyzed, that everybody there’s been bought off, and that the only way to really “return government to the people” as all the other candidates claim they want to do is to outlaw huge unreported political contributions from corporations and lobbies and PACs … all of which are obvious truths that everybody knows but no recent politician anywhere’s had the stones to say.