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I'm an NYC-based director, and this is an outlet for my various musings about theater and about the city of New York. Sometimes the subjects run together, sometimes they are entirely separate, but between the two they comprise the most fitful, most intense, most trying love affair of my few years. They fill my head, my heart, my mouth every hour of every day; they could fill a book.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The view of Washington from my Harlem walk-up.

Let me begin by saying I'm not the most politically knowledgeable person. I do try, but for the most part, what happens in those fancy-lookin' buildings with domes on top elludes me. It's all about the details in politics, and I'm much more comfortable with the big ideas. But it was a pretty big week in politics, and what with the elections yesterday, and then some tiny little gathering down in DC over the weekend, I feel it would be remiss of me not to say something about it.

I don't have much to say about the election. First, let me say I'm one of the few liberal-minded young people in the country who hasn't been disappointed by Obama, largely because I was possibly the only liberal-minded young person whose expectations for him weren't that high back in 2008.

Oh, not that I have anything against the man. I love his politics and his passion. But here's the thing. Well, really it's two things. The first is, I think there were all these Obamaphiles who had this idea that the President was going to take office and immediately get out his Magic Hope and Change Wand and with a single wave effect world peace and feed all the nation's hungry. But our government is a system, and sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes it's a bad thing. I think it's mostly a good thing. But a system means a lot of bargaining, a lot of beaurocracy, and a lot of compromise.

The other thing is this: on the night of the 2008 election, when Obama gave his victory speech, I've never seen a politician, celebrity or any other public figure look so visibly tired. It was uncanny. You could just tell that wanted it. So. Badly. And this man, he's SO intelligent, SO articulate, and so so charismatic. And that level of intelligence and charisma, coupled with the intense ambition I saw that night and throughout his campaign, well, it just puts me on edge a little. I'm not saying that Obama is secretly a bad man with hidden, ulterior motives. Let me be clear. I am not saying that in any way, at all. Like I said, I love his politics and his passion. I'm just saying it makes me a little... wary.

So, all this is to say that I'm not surprised by the disappointment in Obama and the democrats that was clearly voiced at the polls yesterday. And I'm not that troubled either. I have my own political ideas, but even more than I love them, I love the populace at work. We align ourselves behind an ideal or a platform in the hopes of something better than what we have, we're eventually disappointed or disillusioned, and then we throw ourselves behind a different, more promising platform. Back and forth, like an infinite pendulum.

I do, however, have a little to say about the Rally to Restore Sanity that happened this weekend. I don't know what the ultimate numbers were for the turnout at the rally, nor how it measures up, in relative terms, to other past rallies but I will say that in terms of talk and anticipation, this was the biggest thing to happen in DC in quite a while, at least from my vantage point.

And this troubles me. I read a little about the event itself over at Parabasis as well as an article about Stewart's final speech in The New York Times. As far as I can tell, the event was, from the organizer's standpoint, ostensibly apolitical, neither for or against anything other than the vague and unspecific idea of sanity. Ralliers carried signs that ran the political and social gamut. Some relevant, some inappropriate, and some simply pointless.

I find it interesting, and a little bit frustrating that this massive, unifying event, one of the most massive in recent memory, was centered upon, well, nothing. Is this going to be the legacy of our generation? Like generations before us, we're in arms about something... we just can't figure out what it is. And so we let the lines between reality and entertainment blur, and turn to the one thing that does have the power to unify us on common ground: television. I think we can do better.

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