Tuesday, June 03, 2008

just where to put all your faith and how will it grow

Thanks to SJM, you are spared my lack of eloquence on the subject, and instead I can just refer you to Richard Cohen's diatribe against the Democratic campaign this year. He sums it up disturbingly well, and actually, is strangely the only thing that has comforted me regarding this election cycle. I have been completely shocked at how polarized people around me have become regarding the nomination, and have been feeling oddly sad about how not polarized I felt about it. Instead, I just felt bitter, and I think reading Cohen's article finally gave me the feeling that maybe I am not the only one.

I wonder if this is just a sign of age. I can't help but think about this because my little youngblood classmates are sincerely, earnestly excited about the election. They are fired up in that way that only youth can be fired up- with the blinders on and with no acceptance of how much of what is said is rhetoric and not real.

In some ways, I love to see it. It reminds me of how passionately I, too, believed in my youth in change. I remember how unreasonably exhilarated I was when Bill Clinton won the DNC nomination. In some ways, it wasn't that different a time. The economy was circling the toilet, Bush the First had his head buried in the sand, and the country was coming out of a war in Iraq. And it's probably hard for people to believe who have seen him in recent months, but Bill Clinton was talking some good voodoo. He was talking about change and hope, and I was buying what he was selling. I remember how convinced I was that things were going to really change when he became president.

Unfortunately, I remember everything that came afterwards too. And so now, I'm left to ponder whether there has been a steady decay over the last several years, or whether all of this has happened and will happen again. Maybe it was always like this, and I'm just older now and realizing it.

Maybe the decay was actually in me, and the hopes that I had in my youth have been eroded. Obviously, I prefer not to believe that. I get nervous when people talk about big change, I suppose, these days, because I do not believe in that anymore. Big changes are usually bad news. Maybe that's just science talking, but I tell you, most of the time, big changes are too much of a shock to the system, and are not tolerated particularly well.

What I've come to believe in is homeostasis and entropy. Everything tends towards chaos, physics dictates that it must be so. But the body maintains order, sets stability for itself, regulates. What can happen is that set point can shift. It shifts subtly, with small, barely tangible moves, and slowly, there is a shift. That is the kind of change I believe in. Science, I suppose, has taught me two things- patience and insignificance. Change comes slowly, and our best attempts are often thwarted by entropy, by the natural order. But that we still have hope, that we still make the effort, I think there's something to be said for that.

I guess that is what I don't like about politics. It's too much emphasis on someone else. Placing your hopes in other people is great, but it's far more important to spend some of that hope inwardly, I should think. So, perhaps (perhaps?!? bwahaha) I am extremely self-absorbed, but: while I have some hope that Obama will win the presidential race and change the course of the country, I am hoping much moreso that I will find some purpose in life and be of some use, that I will be a better person and do a little more for someone beside myself.

Oops. I guess you got the ineloquent diatribe just the same.

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