Some people, I was one, whose politics floated back and forth and back again in the course of my life. Not unlike my theology or theologies, in fact I remember a question on the General Ordination Exam the year I took it, I think it was December 1982 but it may have been January 1983, asking whether my theology was settled and fixed, or still forming. Until the moment, it hadn’t especially occurred, but I answered truthfully that it was still forming. And as I look round inside my slowly liquifying brain I realize that “still forming” is still the answer. My only rule, and like all rules I consider even it violable, is that I’m absolutely certain of nothing. But then, what Lewis calls The Tao, which is about common human decency. And I appreciated a quote for the day that appeared, I think it was this week and could easily check but am too lazy to look it up, in Anu Garg’s A.Word.A.Day, from Somerset Maugham asserting the weakness of any man who is proud of never changing his mind. Something like that. My mind changes in the midst of certitude all the time.
But it started about politics even though I avoid the topic like cracks in the sidewalk.
It was occurring to me this morning that most of the people I started out life with were born and raised in the 1800s. Including my father’s first two siblings, Carrie and Alfred, both buried at St. John’s Cemetery in Pensacola. All four grandparents, of course, born and grew up in the nineteenth century, after the Civil War, which tuned their political certainties. My early years, most everyone around here was and voted Democrat, and general elections up to and including state level were really decided in the Democratic primaries. That was shifting by the time I was grown, and my second quarter-century or so was Republican. As well as convictions, a certain smugness attached to it, and my favorite TV program for years was William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line,” with the man and his exquisite vocabulary and accent. Early forties though, I was disgusted with the incomprehensible stupidity of President Reagan, for whom I had confidently voted and Nixon and Goldwater before him, sending Marines to Lebanon in 1983, and then so horrified and outraged at him at the bombing of the incompetently guarded and protected Beirut Barracks, totally and unequivocally his responsibility for having sent them there, that the next day I went down to the election office in Harrisburg and changed my registration back to Democrat.
Still a floater. I'll vote for whomever I DWP. The debate last night was noticeably interesting in that the volume, in quantity but not in decibels, of hot air was substantially reduced from the center of the podium. But then, we can’t expect candidate hopefuls to be smooching each other on the backside especially now in the stretch. And they weren’t. But there was one particular very important question to which the answer was a burst of boisterous mealy mouth spouting waffling say-nothing unanswered that I will never vote for that one no matter what. What and who? Never gardenia mind.
Here’s what I’m seeing in American politics anymore, another quote for the day from Anu Garg:
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Love, friendship, respect, do not unite people as much as a common hatred for something. -Anton Chekhov, short-story writer and dramatist (29 Jan 1860-1904)
Speaking of which/whom, whoever hasn’t read any of Chekhov has missed part of life. It’s been years, but I remember some as chillingly, depressingly real.
Time to go walk..