Or Van Gogh.
Last year when I finally got around to reading Beckett’s absurdist play Waiting for Godot, I was struck by the similarity between the two main characters’ waiting in vain through five acts for this fellow Godot to show up, and my own growing ambivalence over the current political scene. The past six years, which I might have titled Waiting for Bush to Figure Stuff Out has simply rendered me unable to muster my usual election-year semihope that any one candidate can really make a change for good (reading War and Peace last year and being strongly persuaded by Tolstoy’s fatalist argument also contributed to that). In every election but one, I have voted third-party as a meager protest against the two-party system that, in my opinion, only encourages candidates to be wind-sniffing opportunists who cannot be taken at their word. There are aspects of both parties’ platforms that turn my stomach, so I can’t align myself with either of them.
So I greet the hype over the current caucus season with a yawn. You’d think, as a Mormon, that I’d be enthused about Romney’s run, but I’d be happier if he had kept his “unchangeable” stance during the Massachussetts gubenatorial election regarding choice and on gay rights; however, he’s shown himself to be a panderer like the rest of ’em. I simply don’t believe his story about his “change of heart”– while I do think that it is a mark of intelligence and tolerance to be able to change one’s mind, to be willing to examine one’s beliefs and attitudes and make adjustments as needed, in Romney’s case, the timing was tooooooo convenient. And, despite our common religion, I don’t agree with his (current, public) stances on immigration, abortion, or gay rights. Life is just not as clear-cut as that.
But there really isn’t anyone I can get behind–which seems to be the case every election season. I hate how polarizing the electoral process is, and its negativity spills over into my views of the candidates. I wish I could be an optimist about it–I am very grateful to live in this country with its freedoms, democratic processes, and emphasis on compromise, and I know that careful consideration in choosing a leader is the least I can do to show that appreciation. On the other hand, anyone who WANTS to be president must be at least a little bit of a lunatic.
It is going to be a long year.