Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Politics and Joy

Most often, political involvement is an arena of strife and stress. Emotionally, good moments come at someone else's expense, and carry with them the inevitability of turn-about. Often, political joy is an unsatisfactory alloy of enjoyment of your own success and pleasure at your opponent's failure. Such an alloy makes a bell that rings hollow.

Only rarely have I felt something different through politics. The first time was the night that Bill Clinton won the White House. I remember meeting a neighbor in the middle of our street and drinking a beer with him, toasting our country's suddenly brighter future. The feeling was not one of malicious pleasure at running Bush from the White House - it was purer than that. It was a feeling that the country was on the right path, and people were united behind a new voice.

Tonight, watching the New Hampshire returns, I felt a bit of that spirit. Yes, there is a negative note of "anybody but Bush", but there is something else going on, too. There is a feeling that we have a group of candidates all of whom have a better vision, and each of their victories is a good thing. I'm happy for Kerry. I'm happy for Dean. I'm happy for Clark and for Edwards. I'm happy with the Democratic party, and I can't help but swell with optimism that our country may well make a bold and bright choice in November.

(Except for Lieberman. Lieberman is Bush Light - and was just on TV trying to make the point that he is more like Bush than anyone else in the group. If Lieberman were to get the nomination - God forbid - I'm not sure who I'd vote for.)


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