Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Welcome to the Fun House

Between now and November 6, there will be days when I rant about national politics. I don't know anything about national politics which will make the rants more amusing and more infuriating, sometimes at the same time. I understand national elections, their origins and their purposes but I struggle sometimes with the concept of nation behind those elections.

I've lived in enough different places and spaces to very much appreciate an observation from George Bernard Shaw on the concept of countries and national pride. And it's fitting and nearly deliberate that I would mention it right after the Olympics and before we get up to our necks in a Presidential campaign where one party fears outsiders and other wants to keep them as pets. As if that were our biggest problem.

But today, in many places and all across the Land of Steady Habits, we are grassroots democracy as neighbors ask for your votes in primaries for every kind of office no matter what kind of orifice they are. I know that was a little sharper than it should have been. Sorry. If it helps, it's never eaten as hot as it's served.

Around these parts we have vacancies for five congresspersons,  a Senator and one upper and lower chamber of  the statehouse with more folks offering to serve than we have places. I've repeatedly suggested musical chairs but there are no takers. Some years ago I posited bidding for elected offices and people mocked me because 'you can't buy a Senate seat.' Sure you can.

This is where, when you live here, you insert your Linda McMahon joke because she spent 50 million American dollars, two years ago and got thrashed by Dick Blumenthal (I agree: 'he looks like his name' and I've never even seen a Blumenthal). No matter.

Ms McMahon had never held office but her party picked her to run because she was extremely qualified-her checks never bounced and she never got writer's cramp in her check-writing hand. Two years on, she still has no experience but does have even more money and, says the Supreme Court, she's eloquent because money is speech. Say good night Chris Shays.

The party across the aisle is wrestling as well trying to pick a candidate and then both sides will get down to it and in less than one hundred days it'll all be over. It will feel at times, I fear, like a Crack the Whip ride  operated by a meth freak during a snow storm, but that's part of the miracle of democracy.

And if we are to keep democracy from being two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner, make it a point between now and the first Tuesday in November to decide what issues are important to you and who speaks for you on them. Voting for the lesser of two evils, even today on primary day, is still voting for evil. Start deciding like your life depends on it, because it does.
-bill kenny       

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