Submitted by William Elder.
To assume, without proof, that you are smarter than anybody else in the world is simple arrogance. To assume that you admit there are a few people in the world— in your community, county, state, region, the country— who have a lock on truth, however it is blasted at us, is different in only the level of the broadcast amps at vote-getting times. To assume that you know who they are, sidle-up to them, understand their message, and embrace it, is to identify yourself with the perhaps forty-percent of American public opinion, seventy-five percent of whom don’t understand what the question was. And the rest don’t vote.
We like to believe we are free, independent-minded, American voters, making up our own minds and voting our consciences. We are delusional, and are happy as such when all the people we know say, “Amen!” That’s how we mostly vote— how daddy did. To deviate from how daddy did, is damned tough. Independent mental acuity, like correct English grammar, is tough. Takes years of practice. Before that, it takes proclivity. Want to. So few of us have it, feel the need, want to exert the effort. The process leaves most of us agog— largely illiterate, squinting to reading labels when we can hardly make out the fine print. Functionally stupid. We started off motivated and well-intentioned. We ended deflected and discouraged, in so many ways and places. Mine, fortunately because of the Washington Legislature, is not one of those. Mail-in ballots work.
But key to dissolving the delusion, reaching out for other possibilities, is telling daddy he just might be wrong, while loving him and his wrongnesses for what they were in his day, respecting him for what he still holds in his heart until this day, sharing the loss of what might be his. The emptiness of change is deep. Understanding history does not mean deny it, any more than a full understanding of today’s events means abrogating any part of it as mere fiction. We, as a species, need to acknowledge all that we have been through, and— importantly— survived together. Our petty political differences don’t mean as much as our racial and specialogical alliances. Not even close. Why? To have any chance of surviving what lies ahead— loom, loom— even these, so very important, are but blips on our history that wink at us still steadily on. A pale, but recurring reflection of hope.