You might have noticed that there's an election coming up in less than a year. Counting both parties, including the least likely winners, there's maybe twenty people to choose from. One Democrat and a gaggle of Republicans.
But do any of them even matter any longer? That's not a strange question, it's based on physics. In the physical world only one force matters: inertia; an object in motion to remain in motion, or an object at rest to remain at rest, unless acted upon by a force.
We see this law of physics at work in politics, as well. We see it all around us, all around the world. Objects that were have been acted upon by "a force" and put into motion:
In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak - gone
In Tunisa, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali - gone
In Lybia, Kaddafi - gone
In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, gone .
In Greece, Papandreou - gone
In Syria, Assad - going
What the former leaders all had in common was a stubborn insistence on remaining at rest. Their people, on the other hand, wanted, needed, and finally demanded - change - motion, and now.
When an unmovable object meets an irresistible force the results are always spectacular. When the dust settles the immovable object has usually been transformed into something else - freed up to pursue other interests, so to speak.
Now, back to the US. All those running for President, including Obama, are also at rest, and determined to say so. They lay cozied into comfortable little nooks, kinda like when you wait too long to replace your mattress. You keep saying you should replace it but it's so familiar, so comfy, so secure feeling, until the morning comes you practically need a crane to get out of bed.
Each and every one of our candidates for President are, in their own way depending on party, profoundly at rest. If they tolerate change at all it is to go back, not forward. Both partys' candidates long to return only to the policies that worked for them in the past. Policies that allowed them and their supporters to remain securely at rest, But those were different times that served different needs, needs unique to the time.
All of which is okay I suppose, when things were going relatively well for most Americans. Those of us who wanted change back in the 60's, 70's and 80's didn't much need those on top to get off their asses and do something. We could just change our own lives, buy new mattresses for ourselves, and our families, get a new job, move to a different state.
But that's not how it is now. Too many Americans who want to be in motion are stuck involuntarily at rest, and they don't like it. They want change, and they want it now. They need it now. And, since there are millions of them, they will eventually become the proverbial irresistible force.
Which brings me to my musings this morning; what the hell to do about the coming election?
If all I have to vote for is a variant form of rest - (same-old, same-old ) - should I even bother? Oh I know, not voting would be shirking my responsibilities as a citizen. But once that most important exercise in citizenship devolves into a choice between one or the other form of obsolete status quo, one form of rest or the other, what is a good citizen to do? What's a person to do who wants neither status quo, who prefers the opportunities, the serendipities, even the dangers inherent in pursuing change?
If there are lessons to be taken from the changes shaking up the status quo in Europe and the Middle East it's this: If established parties insist on remaining at rest when their people long for change, the status quo eventually gets trampled by people in motion. The irresistible force always wins. What appeared to be immovable objects actually proves to mirages - swept away by large groups of citizens simply walking right through, or over, them. Just ask Mubarak, Papandreou, Berlusconi, Ben Ali and Kaddafi... (Oh, forget that last one. He's no longer answering his email.)
I am trying to decide now if it matters which party wins in 2012. Sure Obama is the lesser of evils. But Obama may also be exactly the social somnolent we don't need right now. His reelection may serve to only put large chunks of the progressive base back into a state of hopeful rest for another four years.
From a strictly strategic standpoint, feeding America another strong dose of GOP policies might be the fastest way to tip the tipping point, to get us motivated, get us moving again. For example, look at what that little sh*t of a GOP governor in Wisconsin, Scott Walker, did when he tried to put labor to rest in his state. The irresistible force of organized labor is now shaking him and his party like pit bulls tearing into rag dolls.
Motion, action, force.... change.
The Occupy Wall Street movement may be a glimmer of change on the march, our "Arab Spring." But are enough Americans in motion now to sustain it, to make it work as it has in other countries? I think not. Not yet, anyway.
So, there's my dilemma; to vote or not to vote. To BE, or not to be.
That IS the question.