Walked over to vote in the primary today. Was confronted with two sheets of paper of different colors at the check-in desk, one with a long list of Republican presidential candidates, the other with three names of Democratic candidates. Lady at the table asked me which color paper, i.e. which ballot, I wanted embedded onto my card.
It was then, I would say really for the first time, staring at those names, choosing between those sheets of paper, that the surreal, stark, train wreck fascination, national humiliation of this election year slapped me in the face. In those few seconds, more than ever, my heart sank and my stomach flipped in response to my eyes scanning the available options.
I am not a political person, in the way we all know ramped-up political people. Screeds on social media get the screeder unfollowed. I know where I fall on most issues important to the country. But I’ve never mustered the strident fire to overcome the general sense of cynicism, knee-capping and inevitability that flavors American politics, hell, all politics.
But now, chagrin is my overwhelming emotion of the day. It floats above the questions that have circulated for months, but that drop like Wile E. Coyote’s anvil upon a dispirited heart in the unforgiving light of day: what the hell is happening here? Why? And what will become of us?