Writing by the Numbers

I remember advertisements in magazines offering the buyer the opportunity to paint a picture by filling in the numbered sections with the color of the paint that the number represented. Why did they call that “painting”? Wasn’t that like calling a crossword puzzle “writing”?

More and more often as I read articles or listen to pundits spout their observations about the political processes we are witnessing I am reminded of the painting by numbers advertisements. There is rarely an original and insightful observation. It’s always the same drama that lasts about a week or two to be replaced by the next one.

Currently the political drama features the villain Eric Cantor whose gang of patriots/ruffians has backed the hero/sucker, President Obama up against the wall. But wait, Wonder Woman, his wife is on the way to rescue him with her warmth and wit.

It’s not that there is “no truth” to this story line. It’s simply that it is too simple. Where are the complexities that drive each of the characters in this struggle. It is sophomoric (sorry sophomores) to pretend that it is all about re-election. Are we to believe that none of these people care about anything else?

More to the point of journalistic responsibility is this question: if that is all these people care about, if that is all that any politician really cares about then how are we to be governed?

If that is substantially true, it makes no sense to have elections. Why replace people who only want to get re-elected with other people who only want the same thing?

No one, no overpriced and overpaid pundit is saying anything like this out loud, probably because they ignore the obvious implication of what they do say out loud. But I believe that is the underlying thought combination that has our population depressed about our current political scene. Depressed and frightened because whether or not they remember their history, history is always alive and operative in the present. The Weimar  Republic and its successor reside like siamese fraternal twins in the basement of our brains, waiting for the chance to find their way back onto the stage. They will wear new uniforms, like Shakespearean dramas done in modern dress, but the lines  and the outcome will all be the same.

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