Sunday, September 9, 2012

To Be Or Be Had

Most polls now show a divided electorate with about 94% of voters committed to the good guy or the bad guy which leaves the election in the hands of these undecided 6 percent. Woe is we.

Who are these equivocal folks? Are they semi-comatose, incorrigibly cynical or truly wrestling with their better angels? My guess is all of the above. I’ve tried to imagine the three types I will call Chuck, Charley and Charles.

Chuck minds his own business which is mostly just getting by. He paints houses or repairs bicycles out of his garage. His mind is occupied with the blue-plate special at Smity’s Diner. The tune of last Sunday’s hymn is humming in his head. He read something about one of the candidates in the barber shop last week but can’t remember what. Any ideas about political parties get shredded in his head like severe tire damage. He says he’ll probably vote and make up his mind behind the curtain. He always says that. The last time he actually bothered was back in the 90s when he heard that Clinton liked Garth Brooks and Dole listened to Dolly Parton…or was it the other way around? He’s getting fed up with all these political ads on TV. He’s going to rent a horror movie tonight and knock off a six-pack which keeps inching up in price. Whose fault is that, he wonders.

Charley has no use for any of them, not since our founding fathers. There are no statesmen anymore above the fray, just whores from special-interests groups. Charley chokes on anything less than rarefied air. He’s never met a bumper sticker he didn’t want to rear-end. He lets his dog pee on lawn signs. They’re all crooks, he says. A litany of hollow promises betrayed as soon as they’re elected. He denounces them with the fury of a lover scorned. He’s been hurt too often and now there is no forgiveness left in him. Maybe he sees from a distant perch where no hands get dirty. Perhaps his favorite subject was math; nothing measures up to the elegance of numbers. Maybe he is a fallen-Catholic still looking for saints.

Charles might be a Westside attorney. He’s a registered Democrat but can list half dozen reasons why he can’t trust them any longer starting with Israel and ending with immigration. Of the former, he bristles at every perceived slight. He would agree with Gilbert & Sullivan’s piece from Iolanthe. The Law is the true embodiment / of everything that’s excellent. / It has no kind of fault or flaw / and I, my Lords, embody the law. Charles vacillates which is not the way of an advocate. His colleagues on the elevator have already moved their allegiance. He squirms with both candidates. He knows that the Conservatives have been overrun by imbeciles, Neo-Cons, evangelists, and the privileged one percent for whom greed is their creed. Too many bleeding-heart liberals, he says. Can he feel his own heart clotted and closing? Who will get his vote? Will he sit out the most important election in several generations, the one that will either shame our nation or reinvigorate it?

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