Wednesday August 5, 2009
I recently spent some time at a cook out. The cook out was a wonderful event. At that cook out I indulged in all sorts of fine grilled specialties and exotic desert delicacies.
The food was overwhelming, but the true delight was the conversation. The conversation fluidly traveled through countries, foods, back yards, landscaping, kids, vacations, grasshoppers, architecture, and sports. It was a wonderful time. Conversation had been circling non-threatening topics very comfortably but was suddenly diverted to our national political climate.
I sat back to watch the entertainment as I knew a good portion of those attending were on opposite poles of the magnet when it came to current events or politics. I sat back awaiting the inevitable clash of magnetic poles and a conversation spinning like a 2-wheel-drive Chevy, with bald tires, hopelessly stuck in the bog of dissension.
Finding a comfy seat within ear shot, I looked forward to the conversation being as enticing as the desert, but I still wanted to be out of ground zero. The expected crescendo never came, instead the conversation melted down. I was perplexed. How could such a polarized topic have gone so vanilla?
My mind drifted into a foggy dream where I was walking through the halls of congress and saw people. A portion of the men and women seemed to come and go with out much to say to each other focused on but one thing, which, curiously enough, was not readily apparent. As I walked the halls I had a hard time understanding what was so consuming that common courtesy was ignored.
I neared the great hall and heard a commotion before I saw it. When I neared the noise I saw men and women in a pile in front of the great door stepping and clawing each other with frenzied fervor, to what end I did not understand. There were other doors available, but the pile was all at one door. The doors where the commotion was were a large set of doors with detailed moulding and engravings. On either side of the doors stood a sentinel.
I approached the sentinel and asked him what the commotion was. The sentinel replied rather curtly to my ignorance that the commotion is by all the people who are seeking to be admitted into public office. They are fighting and clawing each other to set them selves apart as worthy to be in such a fine institution. I asked the sentinel why the other doors were being avoided.
He responded, “The reason the each come to this door is it is the main door. Perceived preference is given to the astute who are strong enough, crafty enough and evil enough to mangle their opponents. Only the strongest manage to convince the electorate to allow them through this door.”
I stood by in stupor and amazement as I saw some give up and walk away with wounds and shredded clothing while others were carried away permanently maimed.
Having seen enough, I thanked my loosely-gracious sentinel and sought entrance to the great hall thru another door set aside for observers.
As I entered the great hall I looked back to the same door where all the commotion was to see what happened to the people after they progressed into the hall. The men and women that were lucky enough to make their way into the great hall as newly elected representatives were given very large green microphones. The microphone was so large in some cases it needed to be handled with a cart.
Those already in the room were all talking into the green microphone at the same time creating a cacophony that was confusing and unintelligible. Looking around the room one could not fathom the direction or focus of the group or on who rested that responsibility.
In some corners of the great hall there appeared to be some devious distractions. In one corner scantily clad people would engage in questionable physical activity and would sporadically lift their heads to scream righteously into their green microphones.
Men and women could be seen drifting into this corner and come out with a single finger raised up perpendicular to their lips, making a “shhh” sound as they backed out of the corner. In another corner it appeared light was having a hard time penetrating and darkness had taken over. Individuals with large green over coats were prowling the edge of the darkness pulling in any who would venture by. Once in, not many sought to avoid the corner. Interestingly the corner seemed to be rather popular even as dark and ominous as it was.
The main commotion in the great hall revolved around the front of the room. A podium seemed to be at the center of the stage with several desks in front and one prominent desk behind. some sort of a line was formed, though it seemed to be more of pile. Those seeking the podium would raise their green microphones and swing them wildly around their heads using them mores as clubs against the others in the pile.
My day dream came to a sudden end when someone called my name. It was then than I understood the disappointment from the supporters of change. The main disappointment was the ideology of change was not materializing as beautifully as a picnic surrounded by a meadow with wild flowers in full bloom.
Instead the Utopian change had itself changed into what was ugly, barren, egocentric and economically nuclear. The change sought by the supporters of changed was naively idealistic. The change was polarized by a national crisis and manipulated by the elected to advance an agenda that was intensely personal. Egocentrically personal with a cost to be borne by others. A selfless vision of a national recovery? Hardly.