I’m close to full stop, come the news after sundown. But those fourth estate hounds, it being happy hour and all, are fed scrap after flap of Trump this or that, which spins my amateur poet pose on a damn D.C dime, and I’m forced to pirouette and sash shay some dilettantish political punditry.
Let me pour a bourbon.
Now if that first paragraph doesn’t clue you to the punishment inherent in thinking about politics then you be my kind of player.
Because, politics, in the main, is a bad play. A narrative offered without a theme. Because governance, the plot points of politics, is just one event after another. Grunt-work. The trash picked up. Timely public transportation. A nation’s defense staffed and paid for. Taxes collected. Disputes adjudicated, with property and civil rights protected. The free speech. That one person, one vote.
Now, I’m purposely mixing metaphors of making a fiction and managing facts to better illustrate what politics is now about.
The why of a story’s success is that an author has successfully camouflaged, within the telling of events, a universal theme with accompany motifs that humans recognize, and react to; truth will out, greed is good, death hunts us all, family first, fear the stranger, love conquers all, etc, etc.
Individual agency is the key to a democratic republic. (Much to Tocqueville’s chagrin.)
You, yes you, Ms. and Mr. America, overlay your own universal themes over the day to day goings on of our collective political story.
Your biases, my prejudices, all our upbringing and upkeep, fix our star, and light, or dim, our collective understandings of the underlying and necessary themes of our nation.
Now, subject all that to the data mining algorithm, which can’t, given the current state of the art, appreciate how the human heart keeps ticking, in spite of the having to acknowledge and even appreciate our inherent and collective tragic nature. How that algorithm tends and trends to dismiss the irony of our death defying wish, a proof that one of our universal human themes is, love does conquers all.
Recall Trump’s inaugural speech. How dark he saw the nation. How starless and dank our shinning city on the hill. How small his vision, how fully he filled the void of our failure to acknowledge, out loud, our tragic nature, and how quick he was to point that out and take advantage.
It took Shakespeare four plays to write a tragedy. As that universal theme, tragedy, is not for the delicate or uninitiated. Not today, or for decades, has tragedy served best sellers or box office.
But it goes to show, we always need a healthy toe-tap with the Devil. To do what humans do; out dance our due.
Because it’s better we return to an understanding and appreciation of the tragic, than watch the GOP embrace and signature all that Trump makes apocryphal, which, by the by, could damn certain suggest to us all; the lie that could be made true. Apocalypse.
Tip the waitstaff, I’m off to get a fourth bourbon.