I don’t have a TV, nor do I subscribe to a newspaper. But lately I’ve become a regular reader of Huffington Post. (A news junkie always finds a way to get his fix.)
Over on the right flank, we have a bunch of rich, arrogant morons competing for the Republican presidential nomination by advocating ideas based on religious zealotry and economic dogma, neither the zealotry nor the dogma having the remotest connection to reality. These people are extremely dangerous.
On the left flank we have a disorganized bunch of idealistic young people who have no leadership and are in constant danger of being beaten up by the police. These people have not, as yet, shown any interest in actually governing. Their message seems mostly to boil down to, “Not this — we need something better.”
In the middle we have the shamelessly corrupt Democratic Party, whose sole claim to our loyalty is, “Vote for us! We’re not nearly as scary as those other guys!”
It seems to me there’s something missing from this picture, and I think I know what it is — leaders who will tell the truth and who have a commitment to reforming the system so that it will work, so that ordinary people’s lives will improve.
I have this recurring fantasy of running for Congress. This is a terrible idea, of course. Here are the reasons why I should not run for Congress:
(1) I’m too old. I don’t have the stamina, nor the charismatic good looks.
(2) I’m known to be both an atheist and a socialist, and proud of it. Imagine the attack ads that would be rolled out against me.
(3) I don’t have a big enough bankroll. Not nearly big enough.
(4) I’m not a people person. I don’t have a network of stalwart friends who would be eager to roll up their sleeves and do the tons of volunteer work that would be essential to making a candidacy viable.
(5) I like my quiet lifestyle. I like playing the cello, going to the gym, writing magazine articles about music software, maybe even doing a little yard work. Sure, I’m basically retired — I could free up 30 or 40 hours a week to run for Congress without putting a strain on my budget. But it would put a major strain on my serenity, and I value my serenity.
Marshalled against these very cogent arguments, we have only the tiny voice that says, “Yeah, but somebody ought to do it. You know what needs to be done, and nobody else is doing it. All of those arguments against doing it are just rationalizations. You’re spinning rationalizations because you’re afraid you’d make a fool of yourself.”
Nobody else is doing it. There’s a vacuum. A vacuum sucks.