Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Sounds of Silence

I find myself in Madison, Wisconsin on this morning after the election. The sun is shining, but it’s a cold sun. Indian Summer is a memory as the street sweepers clear away the glory that was autumn along with the debris of the last great Kerry/Edwards rally.

It’s quiet here in this bastion of Midwestern progressivism. The few early risers suffer from a different type of hangover than that from the annual Halloween debacle. We are here because Judy is having her fourth eye surgery since January. The place is beginning to feel so much like home that I had found myself glad that chance would have me here to celebrate a Kerry victory. I had fantasized about dancing around the capitol with all the other merry munchkins singing, “Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead!” This notion seems exceedingly silly now.

On the drive up I listened to a progressive radio talk show. Even on this day I would not miss an opportunity to listen to an intelligent voice of the minority after months of WLS and WTMJ and their incessant jingoistic drone. Interrupting the steady stream of fault finding and depression came a caller telling us that we need to buck up; that our problem arises from putting our faith too much in man and not enough in the man upstairs.

Somewhere across an angry looking Lake Mendota is Judy’s surgeon’s newly remodeled lakefront home. I’m getting a vision of Mrs. Surgeon sitting in her gourmet kitchen, sipping coffee and admiring the skyline Perhaps the warm shelter of her American Dream seems all the more glorious against the backdrop of the November gloom and she resolves to find some time to pray to this caller’s god.

Judy and I need to put aside a bit of our faith for Judy’s boss, however; faith that he will not lose patience with all the time off and/or the effect all these surgeries may have on her health insurance premiums. I can’t help feeling a little guilty about this. I should have been a surgeon. Apparently we all should have been surgeons!

I’m in the waiting room now and Fox News is on in the background. From this sewer good old folks from Scarsdale and Alexandria and Chevy Chase are discharging that all those intellectual elitists in Europe will have to change their tune now about the political naivete of the American public. This is an interesting take when considered from a state that voted 70% for the only man in the world who had the courage to vote against the Patriot Act while it voted at the same time 49% for President Bush!

It’s all water over the dam now. The reality is that the Presidency, House, Senate and the Supreme Court are all securely in the hands of the Blue Meanies now, and there is no Sgt. Pepper on any horizon. War is inevitable and will be made cheaper and more efficient with the introduction of National Service (read my lips, not the same as a draft). Increasingly the tax burden will be shifted not to those who call themselves the Middle Class, but to the true median class. Huge shifts of capital into the equities markets will make the rich astoundingly richer while these retirement funds are treated with the same urgency and equanimity always afforded them by those heroes of the common man, the brokers! Internal spying will increase under the party of less government intervention. Deficits will soar under the alternative to the tax and spend liberals. Censorship will increase under the party of strict constitutionalism and state’s rights. Some children will be forced by the government to reveal their sins to their parents in the name of Family Values while, against their parents wishes, others must choose between castigation by their peers or prayer to the Christian God.

Low scudding clouds contribute to the chill of the day as increasing numbers of students and others begin to face the ongoing business of their lives, clutching the collars of the too-light clothing of youth to whom the cold is always a bit of a surprise. It is quiet here, too quiet. Much was written and spoken of the cell phone generation and the influence they would begin to assert.

It is in places like this that truth is to endure the onslaught of fear and superstition. I can only hope that in this fertile place some of this silence is a quality of resolve.

But my words like silent raindrops fell
and echoed in wells of silence

Simon and Garfunkel


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