The Long Run
Tomorrow is election day. I won't presume to urge you which way to vote -- that's your business, not mine. There's already way too much political shouting across the radio, TV, and Internet these days, and no reason to add my two cents to the whirling shitstorm. Besides, this blog is concerned with the Industry, not politics.
Still, I like the wry approach this cartoon* (which recently appeared in the LA Times) takes toward the anger so many people are feeling these days. From my own perspective, this anger is fully justified -- I share it, for many of the same reasons -- but anger can be a dangerously volatile emotion. It tends to elbow reason and analytical thought aside in an adrenaline-fueled rush to judgment. Anger makes people want to do something -- anything -- simply to satisfy the primal rage boiling over inside. Like its twin sister Fear, Anger can be stoked and manipulated as a tool to do the bidding of those who seek an advantage in harnessing its power. The organizations pulling these strings usually have their own interests at heart, rather than the interests of the righteously angry mob they've helped create, mobilize, and hope to control.
Voting in anger might feel good as you pull that lever, but it rarely makes things better in the long run -- and right now, the long run is looking rather bleak. Some monumentally huge forces have been set in motion that threaten to bring the kind of elemental changes nobody in their right mind wants to see. There may still be time to turn things around, but maybe not -- nobody really knows.
At least one thing seems abundantly clear: our current state of political paralysis won't help us solve any of these serious long-term problems. A gridlocked freeway is the Road to Nowhere.
It's important for us all to think clearly right now, and not allow ourselves to be blinded by our own impotent, inchoate rage at the unfairness of The Way Things Are. I don't care how you vote -- that's between you and your ballot -- but I do hope you'll leave your heart at home when you head for the polling station. Instead, bring your brain. Don't allow yourself to be used as a tool by anybody. Think long and hard about what's really good for all of us together -- our country and our society. Don't surrender to this deliriously angry emotional moment, but think and vote with an eye towards the future.
For the long run.
* Sorry the image is so small -- I couldn't figure out how to make it larger, and thus more legible. Hope you can read that tiny print. For anyone who doesn't feel like pulling out the magnifying glass, here's how it goes:
Angry White Man: "The government isn't doing enough about the economy! I'm so angry!"
C-Dog: "Here's what you do: go vote and choose the candidate who think government just shouldn't do anything. Best was to get things done is to elect people who don't think anything should get done."
Angry White Man: "What?"
C-Dog: "That'll be $2."