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Saturday, October 25, 2008

well, hello

As several people have questioned me about my blogging absence, before supplying the requisite, "you must be really busy," I decided to drop in and say, yes, I have been very busy.
But busy isn't really new. I think I have actually been sort of mentally overwhelmed; it's a great time in history to be a political junkie, except to extend the metaphor, I think I may have Odd somewhere down the line and not even noticed. My brain isn't really processing information very well anymore. The last few days I've been thinking that politics, as much as I care about it, may have overtaken the country in an unhealthy way. Ever the pop-psychologist, I've been trying to understand, this week, exactly what is really at stake for people. I don't mean the obvious: our civil rights, economy, foreign policy. I think I understand, to the extent that anyone paying a fairly high level of attention can, the issues. And certainly, my views on them are pretty solid, have been for a while. But what's really at stake for people at this point? I think of all of us, right now, as heavily invested in an outcome that we've endowed with meaning far beyond what we can really articulate. As if the political season, the candidates, the vernacular, the arguments, are all surrogates for something else.
I keep thinking, musing, on my own reaction to Obama's speech in 2004 at the Democratic Convention, the way I felt something when he spoke that I hadn't felt, as an adult, ever. And how Kerry's campaign left me cold. I voted for him, sure, and endorsed him, but I didn't feel it. Is it really just the generational divide at work, the need for my generation, and the two following me, to engage in a post-Vietnam discourse? Or am I just a sucker for a pretty speech (or, perhaps, both?).
But the other speech that held me was Teresa Heinz Kerry's. When she spoke about marching against Apartheid, while watching the US march for civil rights. How her country lost their battle, but knowing America had won its was enough for her in some way. I suppose it could all come down to some sort of combination of genetic disposition and upbringing. I was raised to believe in the good fight, and this election season has fed that feeling.
All I really know, though, is that the waiting has become unbearable. In just over a week, it will happen, one way or the other, and everything that happens until then feels, to me, like pointless prologue. I've voted. I'm ready. And yet, at the same time, am I?
There's lots of certainty in some quarters about the outcome, but I've been down that road before and am actually incapable of summoning that certainty anymore. I don't know what will happen, not in my mind or my gut. I'm not placing any bets. I'm not getting my hopes up. I'm just waiting.