Friday, November 05, 2004

Into Thin Air

Walking around my hyper-liberal Palo Alto neighborhood I find not a single Kerry sign, not a single indication that he ever existed. Never have I seen political signs disappear so quickly after an election! I would have expected the types of folks that live around here to keep them up as a symbol of defiance, along the lines of "Another family standing up against the tides of darkness!"

Hell, a while back, the city had a year-long experiment in putting up roadblocks all over the neighborhood to reduce traffic. It turned the area from a grid to a maze, and caused quite a lot of political uproar. The city backed down and reopened the streets, but before that happened, the folks who supported the roadblock idea made a huge political effort, including the displaying of professional-quality signs stating "Traffic Calming Works!" Many of those signs are still up 9 months after the roadblocks were removed! I guess the Kerry supporters must be really, really dispirited.

Now, all along, if I had to put money on it, it was my rational assessment that Bush would be reelected with a mandate including associated down-ticket coattails. But I was also rationally prepared to be wrong. If he'd lost, it would have been upsetting, but really, if the voters lack the character to elect the right guy, what are you gonna do? According to Catholic belief, even if things go well for a time, they're eventually going to end up going very, very badly before the end of the world, so you've got to accept things going south with some measure of serenity. Actually we're supposed to rejoice when we see the signs of the End Times. You know, "Finally, no more pussyfootin' around, at long last we're getting to the Main Event!"

But browsing around on the web and reading the lamentations and hysteria of the Kerry supporters both inside and outside this country, it seems that these folks were sure, cosmically sure, that of course Bush would be thrown out. And they are devastated. It's just plain weird to pin such eschatological hopes on an election. If we can't hope for things beyond this world, then all we're left with is this world and its politics. That would suck!

For some reason (I can't see how it relates to anything), I'm reminded at the moment of this saying: "The optimist thinks we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist is afraid he's right."

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