Friday, October 24, 2008
10.22.08 - HOPE
There is a part of me that is very cynical. Having lived the life I have lived, and having seen the things I have seen, I cannot help but be sardonic and judgmental about the supposed ‘better angels’ of human nature. I bear too many scars acquired at the hands of the ‘worse demons,’ my own included.
Especially when it comes to politics.
I have watched over and over again as politicians have turned their tricks, as they have pimped out the tiny hopes and dreams of tiny people and twisted them in order to benefit themselves. I have watched our supposed leaders in their unmatched cynicism, their staggering greed and selfishness, as they have shamelessly used the rest of us as tools to get the power they crave.
And I have watched as we have played along.
I have watched in stunned disbelief as the lies and scorn and malice, and the ever-more dubious means with which politicians employ them have grown to staggering proportions. I have watched as they have played us for suckers over and over again. And, like rubes at a state fair, we have stepped up to that wheel, one more time--one more time, sweetheart, really, I can win this time, I can feel it!--but, no. The sucker always walks away, empty pockets hanging out, vaguely dissatisfied with himself, vaguely feeling that he has failed somehow. But no, the game was rigged all along.
And it makes me angry to think about how stupid they must think we are, to trot out the same old tropes, the same old lies of divisiveness, the same old fear, to the point where it makes me want to stand up and scream, ‘Don’t you know they think you’re idiots?’
But of course, we are. We, too, are greedy and small-minded and short-sighted and needy and easily flattered. And so we go along, just one more time, just one more roll of the dice, one more spin of the wheel. Maybe this time I’ll win that stuffed pink elephant. Or a $300 tax ‘rebate’...
But I feel something different stirring. I feel...hope. Dare I say it? I feel as if a perfect storm has finally, finally, at long last circled up and spun away the black clouds, driven off the blinding rains and the dust that have occluded our eyes for so long. I feel like there is a chance that the politics of hate and greed and divisiveness--and most importantly, the politics of treating the American people like we’re those rubes at a state fair who will believe anything--may soon be over. Or at least radically altered.
Cynics are just idealists who have been disappointed once too often. We are the true romantics, the ones who think things should be better than they are, who can visualize an ideal that remains out of reach. And when a cynic finds hope again, he has to ease into it slowly.
With plenty of lubrication.
It takes a while to believe again, but when a cynic does believe...hoo boy. The potential for disappointment reaches a scale never achieved by the non-cynic.
But. But but but. There are signs we are at the clear eye of a storm that will change the political landscape of this country for a long time. That the ignorance and fear that have been allowed to run rampant for so long may be swept away, like a bad dream. Signs that people are waking up to the fact that they have been treated like rubes, that they are finally seeing the truth. Perhaps people aren’t buying into the hucksters’ shtick any longer. Perhaps they’ve grown tired of fear. Perhaps we can emerge from our boarded-up basements, step out blinking like newborns into the sunlight and see that our neighbors really aren’t that dangerous after all. That in fact they are just like us--red state, blue state, Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist--we’re all struggling. We all love our country, we all love our children and want the best for them. We’re all doing the best we can.
Perhaps the thin veil of ‘us versus them,’ used like a fan dance to barely disguise the greed and hunger for more and more and more that the rich have used for so long to hoodwink the poor into thinking they were on the same team is finally crumbling into tatters. Perhaps we can see a moment when we can get past the ugliness and the lies and come together without hidden agendas, without preconceived notions, and without preconditions and truly make an effort to do what’s best for all of us--and in the process help ourselves.
Perhaps, finally, finally it’s time we can make this country into what it was supposed to be all along.