Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Early Decision

Arthur has decided to apply for "Early Decision" to his chosen school. It's a smart choice. He knows where he wants to go, and if he gets in he's saved the hassle of applying elsewhere; we'll know before standard application deadlines. If he doesn't get in, we'll have time to regroup and choose the next course of action.

About a year ago, I read an article on the trend of kids applying Early Decision or Early Action. (Early Decision means you commit to attending if you get in, Early Action you do not.) The whole thing was that it used to be just exceptional students who applied early, often for special reasons, or because they were particularly driven. Now there are so many more super-ambitious students that early decision/action has actually changed the ability of everyone to get into selective universities; so many slots are filled early that more and more students have to apply early in order to compete.

Thinking about this made me think about how the Presidential Primaries are in virtually the same sort of situation. There used to be one or two or three early primaries, but then, the states with later primaries started to feel like they were out of it, so they moved their primaries forward, which pushed other states to move theirs, which pushed New Hampshire earlier, and so on. Now we're all suffering by this incredibly extended campaign season.

Listen, I'm from New Jersey. Our primary was in June. It's miserable to go cast a primary vote when there are no candidates left. So I empathize with the urge to push forward. But you know we would be better off if the whole thing took less time, and earlier primaries make the campaign season longer and more grueling.

I see a relationship between these two "early push" phenomena, that speaks to how we, as a culture, are pushing further harder faster sooner now now now. It doesn't serve us to be the least patient people on Earth. We're pushing the boundary of "early" so hard now, that soon we'll have to start before we start. Babies will be competing for schools in utero. And the next Primaries will begin as soon as the current election is over.

So could we all just TAKE A FUCKING BREATH?

Just saying.

(Cross-posted at the earliest possible moment.)