Sunday, October 31, 2004

Electio ad Absurdum  

On Election Day itself, the commentators might as well be slicing open a goat or consulting the oracle at Delphi. Bush will win if it rains in Ohio. Long lines at polling places are good news for Kerry. If your cat coughs up a fur ball while watching Fox News, that means the election will be thrown into the House of Representatives.
And, once the results are known:
For the pundits, this is the moment to bring out their Gibbon, or their Tocqueville. For the cable news network bookers, this is a moment to try and find this guy Gibbon everybody is talking about (de Tocqueville sounds like he might have a foreign accent), a time to discover that he has been dead for 200 years, and a time to settle for Douglas Brinkley instead. Details are out, generalities are in.
Columnists in a mood to show off no longer assert that the Nebraska Republican primary holds the key to everything. Instead they assert that the election's meaning cannot be grasped until it is understood that the vote was, in its essence, a referendum on whether life has any meaning and that the conclusion was a ringing "perhaps."
After a year or more of this election campaign, you may feel like you're drowning in the triviality of it all. Just hold out for two more days, and you'll be swept up in history.

Then you'll really be sorry.

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