Henny Youngman said that he considered becoming an atheist but he had to give it up because they have no holidays. And that’s the way it is with you and me in politics; we keep saying that we want to opt out of the whole mess, who needs all these lies and distortions, nothing really changes, there ain’t a dime worth of difference between the two parties, and if there is the media distorts it all anyway, plus anything that is inspired by religion gets tarred as fanaticism, there is no common language, what we call freedom they call greed, what we call a love of life they call a hatred of women, then when we want to see the advance of science the scientists lie to us to get more government funding and their surrogates call us primitive for doubting them, so let’s just chuck the whole stupid inbred self-suffocating process and lead our own lives our own way; then an election comes along. Suddenly we’re reading all the small print in the newspaper and clicking the remote back and forth from one cable news channel to another and yelling at the TV and putting stupid bumper stickers on our car.
Let’s get real: hello, I’m Jay, and I’m a politicoholic. This is a cunning and baffling disease over which I have no control. I had four years of abstinence (rousing cheer in the background), but recently I have gone into relapse for sixty days. With the help of all of my wonderful friends in this fellowship, I believe that I can regain my abstinence one day at a time.
In every twelve-step program, the fourth and fifth steps are to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and admit to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. So if you don’t mind, please allow me to unburden myself about all my secret delights of the last sixty days. Was this a wacky political season or what?
I guess it all started with the balloon guy. At the Democratic Convention, one TV station left the mike on in the proximity of some functionary who was choreographing the exact pace of the balloon drop, including a few choice epithets when the tempo was not to his liking. This highlighted the profound asininity of some of the rituals that have become indispensable to the sacrosanct task of choosing the leader of the free world. As pathetically derivative and redundant as it is to unleash cascades of red, white and blue balloons on people experiencing a moment of heightened importance, it is that much more idiotic to have some grubby bozo highly paid to fret over the symmetry of the pageantry.
From there it went only downhill. The Democrat campaign strategy went something like this: “We probably should have done something a little different at some point in Iraq which we would have figured out if we had been given the chance because after all we’re much smarter than you guys since we have advanced degrees in various ologies and we have vastly more tolerance for people with tongue studs which reminds us that, ha ha ha, Dick Cheney’s daughter is a Lesbian.”
On the Republican side we ended up with the rather absurd scenario of having our guys being forced to undermine the military service of a decorated veteran, something that goes against the very fiber of our beings. But it is not often that a guy runs as a war hero and an anti-war hero at the same time, and it’s almost inevitable to get twisted into a pretzel trying to think your way through that conundrum. And we know that President Bush has a hard time with pretzels.
The Republican wives, at least, conducted themselves with becoming class throughout, but Mrs. Kerry and Mrs. Edwards provided a running sideshow of stunningly inappropriate comments. Mrs. Kerry told a reporter to shove it, said that four more years of Bush would be years of Hell, and then said that Laura Bush had never held a real job. She was right about one thing: she, not Laura, is a real piece of work. Mrs. Edwards managed to impugn Lynne Cheney’s love for her daughter after her husband had celebrated it, and topped all entries for over-the-top campaign remarks by saying that only if her side wins could she guarantee that there would be no riots. A real laugh riot, she.
And just when you thought that we could get no dottier or daffier, no loonier or moonier, no wackier or tackier, we get a campaign spot for Kerry from none other than Osama Bin Laden, speaking from his Ford Bronco wherein he continues to search for the real killers of Sept. 11. He explains that he is really a peace-loving guy — “Now look what you made me do” — and would like nothing better than to see America have a real leader, not a guy who reads a book about a goat to a girl in Florida. Thanks for the advice, Uncle Osama, but we’ll take our guy over your sweethearts who read a book about a girl to a goat in Tora Bora.
It’s so painful to have to part from our addiction. But we can’t allow our disease to control our lives. My abstinence must be the most important thing in my life. One day at a time. A day, another day, a week, a month, it all adds up.
Four more years.