I just figured out why I don't post about politics and politicians directly (though, of course, the personal is political....). It's because I grew up in the lap of the US government, surrounded by politics and politicians and nothing they do, no matter how dishonest, two-faced, self-serving, or powerhungry, surprises me. Functioning as part of a large organization of almost any sort - but especially one that gnaws and fights over the bones of power - depersonalizes and dehumanizes. It's not complete, but it's enough. I once listened to my own father talk to a reporter for fifteen minutes without saying anything. It was stunning and almost admirable to watch him seeming so friendly and forthright, while being so entirely evasive. Many of my friends fathers were spies who had lied successfully and endlessly to their families till congress outed them. Then suddenly it all crumbled and my shell-shocked friends were unmoored, adrift in a sea of lies. Just doing my job, dear.
So when the husband rants about George Bush, Dick Cheney, Larry Craig, I just give him my Diplomatic-corps-bred world-weary sigh, and ask, "Really? You're surprised by this?" Me, short of murder or genocide, I'm never surprised by anything the powerful or the power seekers do. Disgusted, yes, surprised, no.
Oddly enough, or maybe it's just what I do to maintain my sanity, I'm entirely optimistic to the point of being Pollyanna-ish, about individuals. I really do believe that each of us always has the capacity for change, for goodness, that it's never to late, or at the very least, that trying is better than the alternative. And somewhere in me I hope that if each of us is as true and brave and kind as we can be, if each of us takes our little inch of the world and, within it, fights against racism, homophobia, lying, greed - all those soul-deforming behaviors - then our inches will meet and our transformations will become social change. Oh dear, I've exposed the soft spot in my armour. Be kind.
Ok. What the hell. Since I'm exposing my ill-advised lapses in cynicism, I'll let it all hang out. There is one living human in a position of power that, I hope, is as good and he appears to be. The Dali Lama. I will be so bummed if Kitty Kelly writes a tell-all book about how he parties with hookers, does drugs, doesn't wear underpants, and needs to go to celebrity rehab.
But then, I guess, I'd just have to pick myself up, dust myself off, and weed on my own little garden again.