In my earliest memory I am 3 ½. It was on a Tuesday. I remember the green curtain of the voting booth behind which my mother had disappeared. I was crying my head off. Separation anxiety? Perhaps. I’d prefer to think I was contemplating FDR’s troubles with the Supreme Court, the Dust Bowl and rise of the Third Reich. More likely it was one of my chronic ear aches which occurred regularly until I grew into my semi-circular canals.
In later years tears would generally come on election night when the results came in. I never got to vote for Roosevelt or for Henry Wallace but I did for a long list of losers from Adlai Stevenson to John Kerry. It’s almost Pavlovian. With or without green curtains, show me a voting booth and my lachrymose glands well up in anticipation.
In the coming election of 2016 I’m planning to cast my lot with Bernie Sanders. Particularly if Hillary has California sewed up anyway. The prospect of a President Trump, Cruz, or Walker etc… is enough to bring back visions of green curtains and uncontrollable weeping.
One more time we shall probably be faced with the evil of two lessers. The Clintons have redefined Democrats as Centrists moving the spectrum far to the right. It doesn’t take a Sherlock and Whatshisname to trace her money trail directly to the wallets of billionaires to whom she would be accountable. John Maynard Keynes said it well, Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of all.
Bernie Sanders would be a corrective. Whether or not it makes sense to register a protest vote for a lost cause I leave to the moral philosophers. In any case his candidacy, at this point, articulates the agenda of a lost constituency and might alert Hillary to issues such as a single-payer healthcare system, unconscionable student loan debt and disengagement of military adventures overseas.
Watching clips of the Republican candidates makes me wish for a return of my early ear problems. And to think we have to endure this noise pollution for another 15 months.
Maybe I’d have an entirely different take if my mother had left me home that November Tuesday in 1936. I might have been a happy child pondering the little red engine that thinks he can and thinks he can.