Election 2020: Down the Rabbit Hole

Where is Alice now that we need her?

Enter the sunset of deliberation, the time in the 4 year election cycle to rewind past political maneuvers, to recast “narratives,” to pit political machine against political machine, to don silly hats and sillier buttons. Except this year the drama and staged for TV political “moments,” will be broadcast “virtually,” whatever that means.

We are entering the “silly season,” in American election politics.

Time for nostalgia overrides time for getting serious. Americans, as our foreign friends observe, crave entertainment and entertainers as the sum total of our political reckoning. “Finally, America got the President it wanted, a cowboy movie star (Ronald Reagan),” a European newspaper crowed in 1980.

Not so in 2020: the up coming election may turn out to be a big yawn: half of the non-affiliated only want to see the “good” team triumph over the “evil” team. Half of the electorate may not see their votes counted.

The world won’t be watching the election of the “leader of the free world” this go around. The world will be watching America try to save itself.

Candidates on “one side of the aisle” are not claiming our past achievements but rather how other countries are better governed. In the days of American boosterism, such a position would amount to a special brand of treason: ‘Imagine, saying THAT about our country!’

Candidates on “one side of the aisle” are not listing their efforts to improve our lives, but rather threaten all kinds of trouble if they are not re-elected. Indeed as some observe, there may not be any aisle or aisles left to cross.

So enter Alice. This plucky young lady would have nothing of this nonsense. Alice, the paragon of rational deliberation challenging tweedle-dedees and overbearing Queens. Alice, newcomer to a topsy-turvy world, determined to make sense of it all and survive her adventures intact.

That the “Convention(s)” will be “virtual” is ironic. Gone are the election time pizza parties. We are left solitary sitting in front of our favorite cable news site looking for hope. This is not entertainment. And. maybe this is the point. In the era of the pandemic we ARE solitary, trying to survive, trying to make sense, trying to “come out intact.”

Like the nations we once churlishly berated, we ARE “muddling through.”

August 13, 2020

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Rodney Clough

Rodney Clough

Refuses to nap. Septuagenarian. Cliche’ raker. Writes weekly.