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American politics is one giant example of Attention Deficit Disorder. To prove my point, let me briefly summarize the past six years:

America likes this white Republican guy from Texas — again? His adviser thinks his party will be a majority for, like, 20 years or something. Then America changes its mind and elects a bunch of Democrats. A woman becomes Speaker of the House. Then America decides it wants a woman for President too — no wait, a black guy. No wait, a woman. No wait, the black guy wins the primary. And then wins in the fall over this old dude. America pats itself on the back. Democrats think they’re kind of a big deal.

Then they fight one another, then they fight Republicans, they fight Tea Partiers. Basically everyone’s brawling. This crazy man on TV is selling gold, no wait, paranoia. The Founding Fathers roll over in their graves. America decides it’s tired of everyone. Then the black guy freaks out — people think he’s Hitler. The end of time? America gets ready to vote for all those Republicans again.

Forgive me if I don’t lock myself in my closet Tuesday night when Democrats lose Congress. It’s not the end of the world for liberals. Quite frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if President Barack Obama wins a resounding second term in 2012. That’s just the way electoral victories are — short lived and short sighted.

We should all calm down about politics because there are bigger issues. The fact is many Americans are sidelined every time there’s an election. Even after the “hope” of Obama’s 2008 victory, Muslims, gays, Latinos and, yes, still blacks and women are harassed on a daily basis.

Ahmed Sharif, a Muslim taxi driver in Manhattan, was violently stabbed this year. A man has been charged with his attempted murder and assault as hate crimes.

A proposed Islamic community center in Manhattan — called Park51 — was the subject of extensive dispute. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has equated Islam with Nazism — while publicizing his new book for conservatives. Apparently it’s fine to stir up anger against someone’s religion for the sake of Amazon’s Bestsellers list.

And just in case you’re feeling morally righteous at the voting booth, how many Democrats spoke out against this rhetoric? Too few, fearing their own electoral safety.

That’s why, after I vote tomorrow, I won’t be sifting through the results for signs of a better America.

But here’s another story that I will keep in mind:

Last month at an Oklahoma high school, the student body elected a devoutly Muslim teenager to be “Ms. Hornet.” The title is awarded to the student who best represents the ideals of the school and is the highest honor a student can receive. Despite the current political circus, a Muslim girl was viewed by her peers as their shining representative in the same year a man was stabbed allegedly for having her same faith.

College sophomore Mak Hussain, a board member of the Muslim Students Association, said that though Muslims are used as a short-term scapegoat, Muslims’ long-term betterment will occur “overtime through social interactions.”

Hope and change aren’t in auto-drive. We are charged with confronting intolerance on our street corners, and that holds true at Penn as much as in Manhattan and Oklahoma.

On Wednesday morning, read the news with pause. Politics doesn’t get much better, but people can. We can each be, as Bobby Kennedy said, a “tiny ripple of hope” — even if our politicians often aren’t.

Colin Kavanaugh is a College senior from Tulsa, Okla. He is a former regional coordinator for Students for Specter. His e-mail address is The Sooner, The Better appears on Mondays.

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