Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Oh, So Predictable

Been an awkwardly long while since posting, but the truth is, I've been utterly bereft of things to spout off about. Apart from--and this is really why I've been silent--the damned election. And I know you don't want to hear any more about that. I've voted, so my part is done--of course, since I'm in Orange County (Republican central, which means all the local votes--Congressional Representative, say--are predetermined--two more years with Chris Cox!), and I'm in California (overall, Democrat controlled, which means all the national votes are predetermined--we're going for Kerry, and Barbara Boxer will continue to serve as Dianne Feinstein's sidekick for six more years), it was hard to get too vitriolic/misty-eyed/enthusiastic about the whole thing. I will say that my polling station was staffed by friendly folks who helped me vote despite my having recently moved, and thus not really knowing where the hell I was supposed to show up. (All I had to do was fill out a major amount of paper-work and then a paper-ballot, which I prefer to those weirdo touch-screens anyway.) So that's that for me. I'm not inclined to predict the outcome. (Especially since who wants to risk looking foolish the next day, when there's really no upside to being right? It's so close that calling it for, say, Kerry, and being right, shows no more precognitive skill than calling the right side of a coin toss.) And yet I do care who wins. The fact is, I really, really think that Bush is a bad president. Not because "he's stupid," which I tire of as a slam against him. Oh, he's not smart, God knows, but we've lost the ability in this country to recognize that there's this category called 'average.' Everything either 'rules' or 'sucks.' People are either 'brilliant' or 'morons.' Well, Bush isn't a moron. He's painfully inarticulate, and disturbingly ignorant about history, and military policy, and diplomacy, and economics, and--well, he knows some stuff, but the stuff he doesn't know is what draws the eye in studying him.

But his policies are intellectually and morally offensive, and more to the point, his perspective is profoundly limited by beliefs that don't jibe with the world as it is. He thinks America can't be wrong. Ever. Now, while there's a lot to be said for giving one's own country the benefit of the doubt (something lunatic liberals can't seem to do), there's also a lot to be said for behaving as though we could screw up--since it's the only way we can behave in a fashion designed to avoid screwing up. Sigh. I'm sorry--I could fulminate on the man, I really could--he's obviously proud of what he doesn't know--I really despise him as a person. But I try--I try--not to let that be the reason I vote to unseat him. (And, obviously, it would also be nice to vote for a candidate, rather than simply against one. I like Kerry OK, and I agree with the Democratic platform more than I do the Republican, so he's got my vote, but I admit, I am drawn to the "Anybody But Bush" mindset.) I'd just rather have a really, really smart president with no principles (Clinton, Nixon) than a dumb-to-average one with unshakeable principles (Bush, Reagan.) The smart one will pull some creepy, ugly s--t, to be sure, but he'll also recognize that what's best for the country is best for him--and thus will see to it that, if it hits the fan, we're all OK. Put it another way: Nixon was scum--but he went to China and got us out of Vietnam. Bush would have done neither. Heavy sigh. Here's hoping nobody tries to steal this one...


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