For once, the Indiana primaries–and by proxy, my vote–may mean something. Usually by this point in the election cycle, the candidates for the two major parties have already been decided and, frankly, whatever school board election going on usually isn’t enough to drive folks to the polls in May.

This year it’ll be a little different. Senators Obama and Rodham-Clinton continue to duke it out for the Democratic nomination. This translates into actual presidential nominee campaign stops in our fair state. Suddenly, we’re relevant.

One of the last times we were relevant was in 1968 when Senator Robert Kennedy was campaigning for the presidency in. During his visit to Indianapolis, he had to break the news that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated.

Living in Indiana, you kind of take a few things as de riguer. Our screwed up time zones, our love of basketball (despite the state of the Pacers), and our primaries not counting for much. It’s a shame that we get inured to the fact that most times we are kind of left out of the process.

As a nation, we love oppositional politics just as much as we love being cynical about politics. Cynical me believes that whenever the party of the Presidency and Congress are the same, we get a little nervous. However, let’s face it: the differences between the parties aren’t much. The parties are more about consolidating their own power and beating the “other” guys than any real agenda. On the flip side, we “survived” President Clinton, we “survived” President Bush. We “survived” a Democrat-ruled Congress. We “survived” a Republican-ruled Congress.

Not-so-cynical me believes that we can actually make a difference in the primaries this year for the first time in a long time. I’m still hoping for an election that will raise the level of debate in the country, one that will woo us with ideas, no matter how controversial. I don’t want to see a repeat of elections of yesteryear, where pragmatic politicians throw out some platitudes, count on electoral disinterest, and rally their most faithful. That’s the sure route to mediocre leadership. Then again, we get the leaders we deserve.

We’re ready for change.

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