Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I Am A Stranger

I had been optimistic, even giddy in the days andhours leading up to Election Day. I had begun to believe all the hype about Kerry's chances. About the massive youth turnout that would help change the direction of the nation. About the hope. About the fairness. About the return to the time of Clintonian moderation, which seems like a farway time; it is becoming the kind of memory that you think may be more fantasy than real because so much has changed and recollection fades.

I had allowed myself to be lifted so high, the reality brought a long, hard brutal fall. I have closed myeyes waiting to hit the bottom, but I am not quite there yet. Soon, though.

There are greater minds that will explain why, but the average turnout (115 million, about 60% of all registered voters) tells a sad tale. More importantly, I realize now that I had been trapped in a liberal echo chamber. The liberal blogs read, the conservative blogs explained away. My circle of friends do not stray far from my ideology and beliefs. All the talk of huge turnouts, a new direction we wanted to believe in.

But, it was all noise. Sweet beautiful noise, to besure. But, noise nonethless. I couldn't hear or see the truth. 31% of this country who can vote are strangers to me, their values alien and inexplicable. 29% of voters country are like-minded; I know them because I know myself. 40% of all voters don't give a shit or cannot figure out why they should.

I am in a significant minority, one that is now powerless insofar as the institutions of governance in this land. Who are the 60 million who chose this mediocre president yet again? Why do they see things the way they do? Why do they have such different values? Who is their God and why is he or she so different than mine? Why do their morals and values seem so exclusionary, judgmental, abhorrent to me? Forget the echo chamber, I feel very alone politically. I am a stranger in this land.

But we tried. I am most disappointed by the 40% of those who could vote that decided they could not be bothered. They just don't realize that they will be.

We are not entering an entirely unfamiliar era. There will be great changes. Social Security will slowly be killed. The income tax may well fade. Three Supreme Court justices will be selected, and the law will no longer be as we know it. The more things stay the same, the more they will change. The great unwinding that will be required in the coming years may take longer than it should. But, we'll be all right eventually.

After Richard Prior set himself on fire and almost died free-basing, he said his philosphy on life changed drastically and could be summarized on one sentence: "I don't give a fuck." I do, of course, but not right now. Not for a little while.

No politics (read, seen, thought) for me for sometime. Policy perhaps. But like losing a love, you need time away from it all. I am now entering an age of frivolity. We all gotta cope somehow. Pardon me forthe next few months if I seem like I don't give a shit.


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