As much as some might hate to admit it, most people care about politics. This has been true throughout history. Politics are universally important. Many societies have measured the passage of time based on the reign of their rulers. The historical epochs of Japan are based on the death and ascension of emperors, British time periods were named after their monarchs, and events in American history are always linked to whatever presidents administration was in office. Most of the chapters in the human story are based on political changes.
As time has gone on, change seems to be accelerating.More changes are happening, and they are always being crushed into smaller periods of time. In the past, there were often long, sleepy intervals between major developments. Today, hardly a week goes by without hearing of some event or innovation that is likely to change the world forever.
However it seems, time is probably not moving any faster. It is more likely just a matter of our own perception. Perhaps time seems to be moving faster now because our politics are faster and we cycle through so many leaders so quickly.
The United States is a young country. Despite our relative youth as a nation, our history seems as long as that of much older countries. The United States has also had forty-four presidents over a period of 236 years. To provide a comparison, in 1500 years of English history there have only been sixty-six monarchs. In 1500 years of history, the United States could have no fewer than 187 presidents. Its no wonder our history seems so dense.
It used to be that people only saw the change of a powerful figurehead once or twice in their entire lifetime. We in the United States are guaranteed at least one momentous change at least once every eight years; sometimes even more often. People used to tell stories of ancient rulers of the distant past. Today, our common political stories go all the way back to mysterious figures named Reagan and Carter who battled for the throne all of thirty years ago. Its been such a long time though, and so much has happened that nobody under 50 really remembers the details for sure.
Presidential administrations are like micro-dynasties. Throughout history, and in many places today, people have rushed at the chance to determine the fate of their rulers, and by extension be a part of history, however small. That desire is no less present in the United States, but unlike our overseas cousins and historical counterparts, our micro-dynasties have to compete for our attention. We have other things to distract us from politics. Other landmarks to map our history.
We will soon be entering a new historical era. For me though this era will not be determined by the results of the coming presidential election. It wont be the Barack Obama Era, nor will it be the Time of Mitt Romney. November 6th, 2012 will forever mark the beginning of the Halo 4 Era. Long may its disk remain in our Xboxes!
Video games are much more important to the 21st century American than politics are. They provide all the frustration, but with none of the consequences.