Crazy in November

If you hadn’t noticed or had been trying to hide out until it’s all over (an option that’s starting to seem more and more rational), we’re gearing up for an election year. There’s some pretty odd shenanigans occurring in the Republican primaries–cheering for death, Herman Cain’s sexual harassment issues, Cain accusing Governor Pompadour of leaking the story (as if the source of the story somehow makes the sexual harassment all okay), Governor Pompadour in general. And then there’s Rush Limbaugh trying to argue that a Classics BA is useless (somehow it’s also bad because Karl Marx got one. Never mind that the standard BA in the nineteenth-century from any university in the West (Europe or the US) was a degree in the Classics (Greek and Latin). Small historical details about the entire system of higher education are irrelevant.)

There are people living on Wall Street, despite the snow and cold, trying to get their voice heard the old fashioned way–constant protest. The Occupy Wall Street movement in Oakland shut down the port yesterday.

On my train ride up to Edinburgh this summer, I met a Taiwanese family on vacation. The guy worked as a newspaper reporter, and the family had lived for awhile in Chicago and New York. He asked me what I thought about the whole debt crisis going on across the Atlantic, which the British papers were busily excoriating as the epitome of public governing insanity. I tried to explain the situation as best I could. He just nodded in agreement when I said it must seem absolutely crazy to someone outside the US. It still seems crazy to someone living here, and I’m getting more than a little worried that we’ve moved past the edge of the map where it warns of dragons. Dinner theater isn’t government. I think we may have forgotten the difference.

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