Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Going Dark

I decided to avoid politics.  

It was tricky.  I couldn’t find any way to speak at all without betraying a political worldview.  I thought that the differences between people that drove belief in governance were so fundamental that even the most benign statements would tarnish my shield of political objectivity.

I’m not worried about that anymore.  It seems that none of my fundamental beliefs have anything to do with American politics.  Given demographics and culture, I don’t expect that to change.  State power ratchets only one way, tighter, at least until the winch snaps.  Politicians differ only as to the speed at which to crank.  But as politics leave me farther behind, at least I no longer need to work for political objectivity anymore—I’ve achieved it.  Irrelevance is my carapace.

I couldn't avoid it entirely though, not when my five-year old asked me what voting was.  She'd seen the word at school and didn't understand.  I explained about rules and choices, and the men running.  I wanted to challenge her, but also to explain the real differences.  This is how our conversation went:  
“You know the rule: ‘Don’t take things that do not belong to you?’  That is the rule Mr. Romney would make.  If you have two lollipops, Mr. Romney thinks you should keep them. Even if your cousin doesn't have one.”

“Then I pick Mr. Romney.  Why does Mr. Obama take things that don’t belong to him?”

“Because he wants to make people share."

"Sharing is good.  It fills your happiness bucket."  

"That's right.  Mr. Obama likes sharing.  He would take all of your lollipops and then give one to each of you.”

“But those are not his lollipops."  She was frowning.  

“What if your cousin had two lollipops and you had none?  Mr. Obama would take all the lollipops away from B and give one to each of you.  Mr. Romney would let B keep both of his lollipops.  You might not have any.  Would you still choose Mr. Romney?

She did not like either of her choices.  “But you still should not take things that don’t belong to you.”  She thought some more. 

“Why won't B give me a lollipop?”

“Maybe he will.  He’s your cousin and he loves you.  With Mr. Obama, you would get a lollipop.  But B wouldn’t get to give it to you.  He would not get to fill your happiness bucket by giving it to you.”

While there were still lollipops to be had, I did not say.

She thought for a minute and made her choice.  “You are just not supposed to take things that don’t belong to you.”  She was concerned about it though.    
“It’s okay,” I told her. “Love is more important than lollipops.” 
Mr. Obama won the kindergarten class vote yesterday.  And as it turns out, the nation. 

I didn't like either of my choices, but I never seriously believed that America would vote for lollipops.  

To be continued...

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