Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

A Jangly Interposition

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So, it’s Tuesday, and I’m in that situation where the only computer I have access to  is in this big computer lab where people come to do computer generated grammar exercises. 

It’s a long story.  But the bottom line is, I find it almost impossible to think in here.

So instead of thinking, I’m going to spew for a bit, and then I’ll get back to mythic archetypes and narratives and the rise of the Great Detective tomorrow.

Although I will say–and this will come up later, too–that when I’m upset or rattled or in that state when what we are all supposed to want is comfort food, I head straight for the Agatha Christie.  Miss Marple.  Definitely.

But that should probably be for later.  Miss Marple as a mythic archetype.  I could go on all day, if I could think at all.

But I can’t think, and the reason I can’t think is that the whole damned election thing is making me nuts.

In the first place, I do not give a flying damn about what a candidate’s pastor/wife/brother-in-law/colleague in a charitable enterprise/pet rabbit thinks, or thought. 

I heartily despise the tendency to insist that candidates for public office, and especially for the Presidency, lead antiseptic lives in which they’re not even allowed to acknowledge people in their world who are less than perfect.

I don’t care what Bill Ayres, or Jeremiah Wright think, or thought.  I care what Barack Obama thinks.  I have, in my life, two people I see a fair amount of who are felons–one of them is a murderer.  What they did was long before I know them.  As far as I can tell, neither is repentant.  All of it happened a long time ago.  I don’t really know the circumstances.  One of them works with me at a food pantry I volunteer at.  They may be the devil himself, split in two, but I think it’s fairly normal for people to know other people who have done things they themselves wouldn’t necessarily do.

What’s more, I think there’s something not only highly unnatural but rather dishonorable in ditching a good friend who has strayed from the beaten path, no matter WHAT he’s done. Most of us would stand by and support our friends and family even when they’d done something we knew was wrong and completely condemned.

But if I’m not interested in Ayres and Wright, I’m also not interested in the Keating Five.  Yes, thirty years ago John McCain was mixed up with a very unsavory man and in a way that even has direct implications for the present financial crisis.

But that was thirty years ago.  I’m not being asked to vote for John McCain thirty years ago.  I’m being asked to vote for him now.  Tell me what he thinks now.  Tell me what he wants now.  Tell me something.

Because, right now, if I had to choose between these two characters on the issues, I couldn’t actually choose McCain, because he doesn’t seem to be saying anything beyond “Barack Obama is a bad man and probably dangerous.”

And the running mate–I mean, for God’s sake. Sarah Palin gives every indication of being in reality what the left has always insisted George W. Bush is.  Now that they’ve seen the real thing, maybe they’ll understand why I never tghought W. was either stupid or ignorant. 

i would very much like to be able to vote for a person like myself for President.  I am not interested in voting for a person like that side of my family that thinks I’m being ‘stuck up’ because, when they come to my house, there’s Lionel Trilling in the bookcase and Scarlatti and Back on the CD shelf. 

Whereever did they find this person, and why?  Did the RNC really think John McCain had so little to offer the American people that he needed this…I don’t know what.  Gimmick, I guess. 

I am siting here nearly four weeks to the day from the election and I have no idea what John McCain is trying to say.  Even the first debate didn’t help.  He just kept repeating catch phrases–I’m a maverick!–when there was any dead air.  What does it mean to be a maverick?  Why should I care?  What’s the man going to DO if he gets into office. 

I’ll watch the debate tonight, or tape it and watch it over the week end when I’ve got time, but at this precise moment I think McCain’s entire campaign has been one long train wreck.  It’s got no theme, it’s got no momentum–

And, for God’s sake (okay, there I go again, with God), what the hell is it with tax cuts?  I mean, okay, we should have tax cuts. So we elect the guy–whatever guy it is–and he gets in and presumably he gets taxes cut, but they must get raised when none of us are looking, because next election cycle he’s back, and the taxes need cutting again.

If taxes had actually been cut as many times as we’ve elected people who say they’re going to cut our taxes, the US government should be paying us by now. 

Somewhere out there, there has got to be some content.  I just haven’t been able to find it.

And now, the cat has hidden my shoe, again.

Back to mystery novels tomorrow.

Written by janeh

October 7th, 2008 at 10:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response to 'A Jangly Interposition'

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  1. I NEVER thought I’d write this, but may I put in a kind word for the politicians and the press?

    First, elections in a relatively democratic society probably always work on multiple levels. A century or so ago, newspapers printed speeches verbatim on the front pages for those who enjoyed that sort of thing while Nast and his heirs put political cartoons inside for those more visually oriented–or less literate. Today it’s perfectly possible to go to the politicians’ web sites and find out Obama’s proposed capital gains and corporate tax rates–I believe the current numbers are the third set–or how exactly how much waste McCain proposes to cut–though not exactly what he regards as waste. The TV and radio ads and the debates aren’t geared to the voters who visit web sites or read campaign books.

    Second, as you point out, campaign promises have a regretably high infant mortality rate. Sometimes this results from insincerity on the part of the politician. But often–credit here to my high school US history teacher–the situation a President has to deal with over the next four years is not the one he was elected to face. So in addition to asking whether a 20% capital gains tax is better or worse for the nation than a 30% rate, we also have to ask “is his word good?” and “what sort of man is he? When he can’t do everything, what will have priority, and will he be tough/determined/flexible/calm enough to do what he needs to do?

    For those questions, you can’t go to the web site. But good questions to ask are “What’s he done in the past? (knuckled under, taken the bribe, gone back on his word?” and “What are his friends like? (flim-flam men, business high rollers, tenured radicals?) Suddenly, Wright, Ayres and Keating become highly pertinent.

    The Chinese once chose entry-level bureaucrats for poetry or essay writing, but for supervisory positions a resume and background check are in order.


    7 Oct 08 at 5:31 pm

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