More than once this week, I've been asked why I haven't posted a proper postmortem for the 2012 elections. My answer has been that the upholding of the status quo didn't strike me as all that exciting a topic. (As the phrase goes: things go from bad to worse, then the cycle repeats.) To me, the major difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was in the speed the winner would lead us over the cliff: Romney might have been just a hair slower. And for all you Gary Johnson fans: the Libertarians haven't been able to sneak onto this state's ballots, for reasons I've gone into before, and we don't get to do write-ins. I don't agree with Johnson's positions on some issues, but overall he's closer to my own thinking than either of the officially declared "major" candidates; ultimately, the only person I can count on to agree with me is me, but even that is subject to change.

Beyond all that, though, there's the occasional thought that maybe I do entirely too much political stuff around here. In the past ten years, I've done more than 1,700 posts for the "Political Science Fiction" category, though the total number of posts during that decade is close to twenty thousand, meaning that said political stuff is less than ten percent of my output. Is that "too much"? Had I my druthers, I'd be about as apolitical as it's possible to be; as I've said before, I resent the contemporary notion that "the personal is political." Self-preservation, alas, demands that I pay at least occasional attention to the machinations of the poltroons ostensibly in charge of the joint.

What's more, self-preservation is a trickier business then it used to be, partly because I've never been this old before, but also because I'm running on High Alert Level these days, and I'm not at all efficient in that mode: if I have too many things going through my head, not all of them will get the attention they require. Of course, being aware of this predicament makes me feel even worse.

The one redeeming feature of all this: the possibility of gridlock. And even this may not help much, given the current vogue for passing to the bureaucrats the really bad decisions Congress can't seem to make on its own. I'm reasonably certain that the country will survive, though I'm equally certain that it won't be because the powers that be came to their senses. (As P. J. O'Rourke once noted: "Term limits are not enough. We need jail.") Cliffs not being free-floating in space, there presumably is a bottom to be hit, and we'll likely have to hit it before anything favorable happens. Whether I'll live to see that, I can't tell. There are times when I don't care, and this may be one of them. Certainly I'm not prepared to believe their explanations after the fact, and this stance found its way into a short story of mine:

"I have lived for six decades in a place that calls itself a republic and occasionally makes vague references to democracy, and not once in all that time have I heard anyone in a position of power make any kind of apology that seemed even the slightest bit sincere."

Which, you know, is fictional only because I said it was.

The Vent

  10 November 2012

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 Copyright © 2012 by Charles G. Hill