Tuesday, February 23, 2016

258 candles and counting

Like a lot of people, I've been watching this election cycle with dismay. Unlike a  lot of them, I have a real love for politics. I believe strongly that humanity is homo politico (or however that might shake out), a social animal that thrives on give and take. Politics, after all, comes from polis and describes how we live in proximity to one another.

That said: Yes, I repeat, a lot of people are watching this election cycle with our fingers in our mouths, afraid for what may be. For the first time since the millennium, this is the Democrats' election to lose, and lose it they seem determined. As is so often the case, they are their own destruction, because ideal is the enemy of good. Is one Democratic candidate preferable to another? Probably. Regardless, each candidate's partisans (not, I stress, the candidates themselves, who are conducting old fashioned, strong electioneering without rancor) strain themselves to proclaim that unless their candidate becomes the party's candidate, they will sit this one out.

That, of course, may hand the election over to one of three possible Republican candidates, two of which are bad enough but the third makes an absolute sham of the process. He is not a candidate in the traditional sense (for better or worse), offering positions and potential solutions to social and economic problems. He's simply saying whatever comes to his mind or what he knows will give him play in the next 24 hour news cycle. He is a boon to news directors, who really don't need to have reporters cover any of the others; they need only to play, sometimes in entirety, that guy's latest speech or conversation. In place of suggestions for how he will handle a given situation, he offers tripe suggesting that, when elected, he will do what needs to be done. He will get us the biggest, the best, the largest, the most effective government money can buy.

I've been wracking my brain trying to think of what I can say that will mean anything to anyone about any of this. And I've come to realize this: There isn't anything I can say. But there is something I can do.

My solution, based on the Chinese proverb that it's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, is to provide daily candles in the form of links to other people's solutions, simple or complex responses to problems that they see. But as a single candle will hardly provide enough illumination to blot out the darkness that is the pettiness and meanness that characterizes this election cycle, I will light 258 candles, one each day between now and election day. In this way, I will do my part to remind each of us we are better than the baseness of the bases.

Today: True Colors Residence.

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