I took the whole week off this week. I knew it was going to be good.
The past year of the 2012 Election had promised to be ugly, and so it was. This election was going to be a burning testament to all that is wrong with our American Political System. I had been saying for a while that it was going to be a big one: A fight between two determined parties, with a very narrow margin between the two candidates. And with the seemingly unlimited money from both legitimate donors and Super PACs, the stage was set for violence.
The Obama Versus Romney Show had proved to possess all the usual players of a first-rate national presidential death match---rambling, incessant political advertisements---full of sound and fury and signifying nothing, teams of professionally paid hit men/character assassins digging through garbage cans and interviewing ex girlfriends, evil back-alley operatives wielding knives and threatening anyone who "can be of help to us", 24 hour cable TV channels masquerading as "News" but all the while serving as non-stop party-oriented mouth pieces for media moguls with serious demands on the candidates and their furture policies, billionaires doling out dark money to sneaky and slithering "Advisers" who promise them unfettered access to The White House next year, open death threats called in at three in the morning from anonymous numbers, murmuring voices from the shadows of parking lots and Washington D.C. peep shows, bald-faced lies during televised debates, endless bickering over meaningless talking points and the ghosts of Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy moving through the halls of both campaign headquarters stealing stationary and pens to use at a later date for no good reason at all.
With all this going down I had started to pay attention to this political process. I could feel the electricity in the gathering storm.
DISCLAIMER: This is not an article to praise or condemn either candidate or ppolitical party. This is simply a tale of what happened to my brain starting the morning of November 6, 2012.
The first thing I did that morning was to unplug the phone and draw the shades and make sure I had a stockpile of food, vitamins, clean water and Thorazine. I barricaded myself inside my home and nailed all the doors shut. Then I turned my four-foot tall stereo speakers (all eight of them) to face every direction in the large front room and turned up Jimi Hendrix's "Peace In Mississipi" to eleven. After making sure the song was set on "Repeat", I laid landmines and set booby-traps just in case someone got in from the outside. I sealed myself in the bedroom and put in earplugs and turned on all the major networks and cable news programs that would be covering the days events. Election day had started and I was going to be here until the final ballot was counted.
Days later, once again, Florida and several other states had still not completed their counts or certified their votes. But this was not to be a repeat of the 2000 election. Florida just didn't matter this time. Thank God. The rest of the nation had left them behind. What fascinated me was watching the whole circus unfold in real time from one side of the nation to the other, precinct by precinct, district by district, county by county, electoral vote by electoral vote.
When I was in High School we were all reqired to take very tame and bland government classes that forced The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and The Preamble to the Declaration of Independence upon our mushy young minds. This is the equal of trying to force chinchillas to eat softballs and then testing them on it. I remember the plump teacher we had revealing that the final exam would have an oral section to it---we had to memorize The Preamble of the Declaration of Independence, and we would be graded by how far we got. Have you ever read the Preamble of The Declaration? It like 100,000 words with no connecting narrative. It wanders and wavers and is quite fantastic and a genius literary work, but why the hell would you make a bunch of horny sixteen year-olds try to memorize it? What that evil fat woman accomplished was making sure none of us would ever care about the American Government ever again. It simply took out last morsel of interest from what was already a very boring class.
And so it was for me until the election of 2012.
I came into this uneasy set of affairs realizing that it was possible that I could know a lot more about the American Democratic Process. Sure, I knew the electoral college and how many votes were needed to win the presidency, but the mere MAGNITUDE of the campaign and the caucuses, and the secret voting in the dank, merciless underworld of the party conventions---the details of the primaries and how a party selects their candidates---these were all things of alien misery for me. I knew almost nothing of how this process worked and felt like a fool listening to the droning of all the political pundits throughout the entire campaign.
Then I read "Fear And Loathing on The Campaign Trail '72". Hunter S. Thompson was an addict on many levels, and probably the best political writer of his generation, but one thing he really pushed to the reader of this book was the concept of "The Political Junky". A week after picking up this novel, I understood what that condescending High School teacher and many college professors could not communicate to me. There was a complicated and vicious process involved with getting to election day. Most people out there who whine and scream and pontificate about their political parties know absolutely nothing about what is involved.
I had known for a long time how stupid the American voting populace was, but now I had a much better idea why people vote against their own interest based solely on either the Color Red or the Color Blue. It was the most simple way. They could never understand what a candidate has to do to even get to the primaries, much less through the primaries and then through the campaign trail. The road is muddy and fraught with vipers eady to strike from any direction---this even includes being sabotaged by elements in their own party. The people who accompany a Presidential Candidate along the campaign trail are devious snarling animals who owe deep debts to powerful religions, leg-breaker labor unions, party bosses with horrible grudges to bear, money organizers who themselves are in debt to Shylocks with unlimited influence and power, women's groups, the U.S. Military, and even The Boy and Girl Scouts of America. Not to mention the ineptness of members of their own campaigns. There is no telling who might be a leak or who might get caught up in some laughable sex scandal involving billy goats and deep-six the entire effort. This happen year after year in the world of politics. It is a grim world and I do not know why anyone would want to enter it.
Unless they are a bona fide political junky.
After staying up all night Tuesday the 6th, and wandering aimlessly into Wednesday and Thursday, I found myself looking into that same abyss. I was a political junky, and I would be one for the rest of my life. Never again would I miss a local election or scoff at the announcement of an exploratory committee for some lunatic testing the waters and their viability as a potential candidate.
I was hooked my friend. I finally left my room to go to the local bar and get drunk. If only I could remember were I left those landmines and booby-traps. I needed to step caefully into this post election world.