As I find myself barely able to function this weekend, I did manage to go for a bike ride, walk the dogs, and catch up on a few Netflix projects (finishing off John Adams, "The Savages", the rest of Season 11 of The Simpsons). What is this I'm feeling? Yes, it's clouded with Prop 8 grief. But it isn't euphoria. I haven't felt that since O-Day. It isn't redemption: I don't expect that from politics. I realize what I'm feeling is relief.
What I wrote last Monday was not meant casually. Knowing that the Bush-Cheney-Addington axis will be forced out of power is an immense, slackening relief. I've felt compelled by politics these past few years in ways I don't like or enjoy. With men and women finally back in power I can trust to act reasonably and ethically and within the rule of law, I feel less hesitation in getting on with life. A reader makes the point as well as I can:
One, mildly Oakeshottian, point I don't think is being made enough: one of the pleasures of the week is that it holds out the promise of not having to be obsessed with politics. It is unnatural, it seems to me, to have to care passionately every day about the workings of the central government: only in totalitarian societies, where a knock on the door may come at any time, or in authoritarian ones, where each sneeze of the King has to be analyzed for its potential consequence, does there exist a need to keep the government of the country forever in the forefront of your mind.
One of the blessings of liberal democracy, in theory, is that we delegate the common fate to the most able , intelligent and motivated people among us, and, though we keep an eye on them and make them subject to recall and revision, we can cede our trust to them to do a more or less decent and able job most of the time. We trust them. For the first time in years, we can say now: the government is in the hands of skillful people with a sense of the real; we can live the live sin front of our eyes without worrying that some horror is happening behind our backs. It would be a mistake, I think, for us all to carry on past the election and into the New Year with the same level of obsessive attention that this year, and the years before, have forced on us. Good government gives us back our lives.
Another word for this is freedom. And as the constitution is quietly restored, and torture finally relinquished, it grows.