Thursday, October 23, 2008

Talking Heads and Dancing Bears

Came across a quote that made me smile and shudder simultaneously about this presidential campaign last week in the New York Times, attributed to Chris Lehane, described as a Democratic political consultant, "At the end of the day, campaigns are campaigns. In the last five days, it always comes down to a knife fight in a telephone booth."

We have a few more days left than five, and I’m not sure how sad or happy I should feel that we’re not in single digits of this countdown as the promise in the brave days of summer as to what this national campaign could and should have been about faded in the heat of partisan posturing and we’ve all sat through another edition of "Business as Usual Theater.”

With so much in so many places going or gone wrong, I’m chagrined to look at the world I inherited from my parents and compare it to the one 'we' are giving to our children. And in keeping with the tenor and tone of public announcements and pronouncements of recent years, the most distressing part may well be there’s no one (else) to blame, but ourselves.

I’m showing my age but that’s not a surprise. There was a giddy moment of exuberance when the
Berlin Wall fell. I don’t know how it was felt here on this side of the pond, because I was living and working in (West) Germany but for a lot of different reasons, the symbolism of opening the Brandenburg Gate on December 22, 1989 (doesn’t it feel like a lifetime ago?) was a moment both electric and forever. We had, I thought, trumped the Gods of War and had won without firing a shot (P. J. O’Rourke has some great observations on this)-I wasn't sappy enough to hear the Fifth Dimension singing "Age of Aquarius" but close......

And here we are in the near-fall of 2008--more of the same only even more mean-spirited if not dispirited than before. As Dylan sang, '
everything's broken', and we did it, through sins of omission and commission (Sister Mary Jean would be proud that I remembered the two types).

We've become a nation of public figures who apologize only when caught, and 'take full responsibility' (what EXACTLY does that mean?) but who believe (I fear) that 'rules are for people who DON'T know better.' That, my friend, would be us.

There’s was a comic (4 October), "
Shoe", where Skyler, seated in a classroom, is asked "Who won the Lincoln-Douglas Debate?" and responds "Do you know anyone who drives a Douglas?" May as well laugh, I guess. I've been afraid for many years we might well end up with the government we truly deserve and it looks like we're slouching closer towards that instead of Bethlehem (sorry W.B. and I don’t mean Mason) everyday. Pretty soon the bartender will announce Closing Time. Drink up. I'll do the driving, at least until we run out of gas or road.
-bill kenny

No comments: