Sunday, March 17, 2024

Politics in perspective

I've been a political addict ever since I campaigned for candidates in the 1960s—and politics is what I taught for thirty years—but in this year's political environment I sympathize with John Wilson's intended behavior:
I am myself dismayed, to put it mildly, at the prospect of a choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, neither of whom I can vote for in good conscience. But I was more appalled and at the same time shamefully entertained by the excessive reaction, especially on the part of those for whom Trump’s candidacy—with a strong possibility of victory—is an occasion for apocalyptic pronouncements. ....

If Donald Trump is elected, it will not mean “the end of democracy.” If Joe Biden is elected, the world will keep turning. That’s not to say that no disasters may lie in store. The unthinkable can become reality overnight, as a look at the day’s news will remind us. But there is something shameful, something sickeningly bogus, in the huffing and puffing of those who claim, for instance, that “what happened in Germany in the 1930s is happening again in the US today.” ....

I am not looking forward to the prospect of the next few months in this election cycle. I won’t be following the “news” religiously (but Wendy and I will be going to church each Sunday). I won’t be watching and listening to the candidates. I am myself a caregiver, and I have to take care of myself in order to do my job; I have to preserve my sanity. Neither will I be living in a bunker or a cabin in the woods. My wife Wendy and our daughter Katy and our dear, aging cat Nina will muddle along. Wendy and I will listen to Anonymous 4 and Anouar Brahem and the blues while we work on jigsaws. I’ll putter away on a review or a column. Via DVD (we’re primitives), Wendy and I, sometimes joined by Katy, will watch old episodes featuring Brother Cadfael and Miss Marple and Perry Mason, black and white noirs and slapstick comedies lovingly restored....

And each day, weather permitting, Wendy and I will walk in the neighborhoods nearby. Wendy will groan when, on a nearby street, we pass the house of a man who has a flagpole with two flags: the American flag and a Trump flag. And on another nearby street, we will laugh as we pass the house with a little white dog who likes to sit on the back of a sofa, and who literally flings himself against the window, barking furiously, as we pass. It’s a wonderful life.

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