I had a (lower case) epiphany.
This is neither the user friendly GNOME web browser nor the Christian feast. It is not a revelatory manifestation of a divine being. It is, however, a sudden intuitive realization that gave me a little flash of political reality.
I’ve been reading Maslow today because I’ve been thinking Big Thoughts. The readings reminded me that our political candidates always, always, always promise to provide health and well-being to every living American; to secure our borders and stamp out crime; to bring the Financial markets back under control when they are not or boost them even more when they are; and to improve the safety net we expect from our gummint against illness and accidents and the impact of hurricanes. The promissory order depends on their polls.
We are affluent and relatively safe. Most of our physiological and safety needs are met. So why would a political candidate promise us this stuff?
- It is safe to promise what we mostly have
- They figure to motivate us to choose them because they can scare us into thinking we aren’t fed and housed and safe.
- They aren’t smart enough to promise what we really want.
What do we really want? Really?
I already have a chicken in my pot. In fact I have more than one. The army got it right; I want to “be the best that I can be.”
John F. Kennedy didn’t electrify two generations of Americans because he delivered universal health care. After all, he promised the Moon but didn’t actually accomplish much here on Earth. He electrified two generations of Americans because he showed us Camelot.
Can John McCain deliver that passion? Can Barack Obama?
If that wasn’t clear enough, my friend Bob reminds me that the election year question I asked is this: what do we voters really want? What new goal will captivate two generations or three? Have we settled for smaller and fancier widgets and lost our passion for inventioneering on a grand scale?
We make grand choices when we have great passion.
And vice versa.