This is the time of year that I'm always mindful of Sir Winston Churchill. "(I)t has been said," Sir Winston is quoted as noting, "that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." We've been at it here in these more or less United States, in varying degrees and with varying amounts of success, for far more than the proverbial four score years and ten, doubled plus another fraction, and in many respects we approach elections, from the highest office in the land to the most local election we can imagine (inversely and perversely, the ratio of the office itself to a direct impact on our lives is a cause of some smiles, at least for me) as outlined in the legendary description of the six phases of a project.
The Six Phases of any project are: Enthusiasm, Disillusionment, Panic, Search for the Guilty, Punishment of the Innocent and Praise and Honor for the Non-Participants. If you've been on this orb for more than an hour, congratulations, and, you know that the six phases applies to almost anything from child-rearing, through relationships to political decisions and beyond.
Last November a large number of us waxed rhapsodic with the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency. A year on and some of us, and maybe more than some, are crestfallen about how the economy is still sputtering, how "the war" (I love the use of the definite article in that construct. I can almost hear War Pigs, and so can you) still goes on, the battle for affordable and accessible health care (and the separate debate on whether those are perhaps mutually exclusive terms) rages and how the parting on the left is now parting on the right (If it helps, I've only got the moustache-I got rid of the beard).
I feel very strongly the President may be at least partially responsible for the lack of pony rides for my birthday (though his predecessor, Mr. Bush, also failed in each of the preceding eight years to come through) and I remain convinced that, while Mr. Obama is an American, he most assuredly may have had something to do with Bill Buckner booting that grounder in Game Six of the '86 World Series. And/or the break-up of The Spice Girls. Glenn Beck is looking into all of this.
And as the elections move closer to home, hand on my heart (and you, too), some of the people we embraced eagerly as the 'future' in the last campaign are now the embodiment of 'more of the same' and we can't be rid of them quick enough (Yeah, I'm thinking of two in particular in my neck of the woods which makes me unkind). How did all these bright and eager people, whom we know because they're our neighbors and often our friends, go from heroes to zeroes (and so quickly!) and what will happen to those for whom we next vote?
It's good and right that we take our democracy seriously-we should. There are too many crazies in The Real World who have nothing to live for-and people who have nothing to live for, always find something to die for and then they want you to die for it too.
But as we start to reach those final decisions on which neighbors will help make us the greatest place on earth (and in its history) in which to live, let's make sure we think about saying thank you to everyone who stepped up and stepped forward to be a light and lend a hand.
"There's no good revolution, just power changing hands.
There is no straight solution. Accept and understand." Easy to say, so hard to do.