I’m writing this blog on November 1, so by the time you read this, the mid-term elections along with the hoopla, vitriol, and fervent promises that tend to emerge at the 11th hour will have passed into history, allowing some small measure of sanity to creep back into our lives…or at least I hope so.
After all, you don’t have to be anywhere close to the Potomac River to recognize the symptoms of sincerity: red, white, and blue bunting; smiling faces at the podium; promises of deliverance from each and every one of the nation's woes at the mere cost of your vote. In the midst of the bombast, it’s tempting to believe that the monarchists had something going for them, yet when you consider what’s happened in our field in the last four years, you realize how important the campaign ritual is to us—just as our opinions are to those whose job security depends on the public’s good will.
Election campaigns can be likened to morality plays in which the protagonists dress in readily identifiable costumes and mouth easily grasped platitudes. There’s nothing wrong with this...in fact there is no other way. It’s a recognition that the issues are so huge and so diffuse that you can’t deal with them other than as abstractions. It’s a late-model matter of dragon-slaying, pure and simple, with the bounty going to those candidates with the better (or sometime best) ability to portray theirs as the “real” dragon. The amazing thing is that when all the hogwash is over, the dragons are still there, along with the problems they represent, but, because we’ve come to know them a little better, we’re able to deal with them more effectively...or so we tell ourselves.