Idle Musings of the Hypothetical Citizen
The political season always brought cheer and light to the hypothetical citizen. He had heard himself laugh for the first time in a long time. And another great feeling moved in him, that he had experienced before. Politics was a losing proposition, a lesser activity, one engaged in by a criminal class only made honest by the need to compete among the nondescript people. "Criminals," he thought, "even when they get red in the face denying it."
His old friend Petrovich was very unhappy about the outcome. "The wrong people at the wrong time in the wrong world," he said in a lament. And then Petrovich looked at the citizen with fierce eyes. "And you know what? I have given them my throat!" And the wild looking Russian émigré threw his head back like a wolf surrendering to a superior wolf. "I give them my throat but not my heart," and he patted his chest emphatically. "In here, is the politics of the future. None of the bastards deserve it!"
Petrovich had taken the election hard but, after all, there would be others. And the hypothetical citizen always reminded himself that in a huge society like this one it was easy to find protection for ones views. A whole region could stand as a buffer against whatever insanity had gripped the rest of the nation.
"Petrovich, view politics with humor. Be suspicious of strongly held political views. Strip your own opinions bare and see what is on the otherside of them. Forget winners and losers. You will be a winner, you will be a loser. Be good about it. Develop a sense of the whole, a view toward the health of the culture, and celebrate it from time to time. Yes, the politics we suffer today is contemptible. They inspire no great thought, no great acts, no great legacy. They are a dull fingernail dragged across a two thousand mile blackboard." With that the two parted ways, the citizen surprised by how final and absolute his feelings were.
A man was standing on a foot bridge between two great buildings. "Your country," he was saying, "is a mass of raw information, altered by the editing process called politics. Your role is to spot in the vat of raw information, only that which is useful to the future. What other purpose does a nation have but to demonstrate to an unknown future maps of doing they can take up in themselves when the present is exhausted? Otherwise, it is only this," and he threw his hand derisively toward the buildings and streets cluttered with cars, foot traffic, sign posts, homeless people, noises, and reflections. "It eats itself alive, in the present. Do not celebrate it, do not criticize it; pass on."
The man disappeared down a ladder leading to the street below and the hypothetical citizen watched him move up the street.
© 2004 David Eide. All rights reserved.
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