The Democratic National Convention has come and gone, and like the RNC, it turned out to be another nonevent. I’m quite surprised that there were no, um, surprises (which I suppose wouldn’t be surprises if one expects something irregular). Neither convention erupted into violence on the floor or in the street, neither party leadership attempted to install a different candidate, both parties made obligatory shows of unity (Cruz excepted), and the presumptive nominees both finalized their tickets for the main event in November. It’s impossible to judge whether the two parties finally resigned themselves to the their eventual nominees or simply rolled over and played dead, unable to put forth anyone more electable and/or less divisive. I suspect the latter.
Competition in the marketplace of ideas for one’s perspective on the parties, their candidates, and who can be expected to do more damage as president is impossible to referee. We are forced to entertain every crackpot scenario and interpretation, a phenomenon I described in this post about dissolving reality. See, for example, the comments thread at this blog post (a site highly respectable for its commentary most of the time). I find it infuriating to wrestle with so many possibilities and be unable to synthesize them effectively. Perhaps it’s just my refusal to be rigid and doctrinaire, but in the spirit of openness and with an absence of convincing arguments, I find myself being pushed and shoved all over the ideological map.
Voters are now faced with the choice that has been forecast for some months now. Little occurring between now and November will likely have much impact on anyone’s decision making, but in the meantime, we will get plenty of theater of the absurd as the contest goes down to the wire. I cannot recall an election where both candidates were so repulsive, though one is far more authoritarian. That characteristic alone is sufficient to distinguish between the two at the voting booth, but I’m nonetheless bothered in no small measure that the binary choice, R or D, remains so perfectly awful. The call to service (nonmilitary) used to be answered by men and women of high character and formidable qualities. These days, almost all of those thrust into positions of power and influence fail even routine tests of decency and admiration. Instead, we have coarse, vulgar candidates, some well able to disguise themselves with
appealing presentable masks. A truer reflection of our culture’s descent into baseness could not be found.