To be or not to be–a voter. That is the question. I believe the political process to be so inadvertently farcical that there is something to be said for standing aside from the show and the race and the farce and the franchise, and making mock of the mockery of which democracy has been made. The spectacle is such that the voter stands somewhere between the roles of good citizen and straight man–that is, when he isn’t himself playing the part of the clown.
And clowns, as many a child might tell you, can be more unsettling than amusing, especially when one begins to wonder what lurks beneath the makeup. It is not indifference to the problem of illegal immigration, for example, which leads me to observe that there are far too many clowns who behave as nothing so much as excessively territorial dogs barking incessantly through a chain-link fence.
Or consider the matter of Hillary’s tear. A member of the electorate, granted access to a major presidential candidate, chose to say something on the order of, “Oh Hillary! You’re so wonderful! How do you do it?” Were I running for president on sober claims of competence and experience I too might shed a tear over a question so lightheadedly inane. Were I running one of those presidential debates I might hire the lady as one of the questioners–to elevate the intellectual level of interrogation. But the true punch line of the story has been too little noted. It transpires that the woman who perpetrated the question proceeded to cast her vote for Barack Obama. Why? “Because,” she said, “he brings me to tears!”
I was also amused by the claim of the experienced Mrs. Clinton that her unhappy experience directing her husband’s health care commission amounted to a job qualification. I now imagine myself interviewing for a job as a hotel clerk–
EMPLOYER: Tell me, Mr. Noble, what experience have you had in this field?
MYSELF: Well, I worked as a clerk several years ago and made a complete hash of the job. I offended the guests, antagonized Triple A, and accidentally–I repeat, ACCIDENTALLY burned down the building. But this is precisely why you should hire me because now I’m aware of all the mistakes to avoid!”
Republican democracy is the best of all political forms to have so far succeeded in upholding a state. On the other hand, one could say that we have fashioned merely the least appalling of such forms. Given the freedom of choice which is the system’s most admirable trait, I prefer, on the principle of intellectual sanitation, to simply stand aside and watch in repulsed fascination and condescending amusement.
Perhaps they also serve who only stand and wait–for the next inadvertent joke.
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