Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Idealist meets The Realist

Alina Simone--"Make Your Own Beautiful Machine" (mp3)

The idealist supports a political candidate because of the values that candidate preaches during the campaign.

The realist favors the candidate who seems like the best man or woman for the job, or maybe even the least bad, the one that he thinks will do the least damage.

The idealist sees the candidate that he wants to see, often ignoring clues that the candidate may actually not be that person.

The realist shrugs his shoulders in the knowledge that candidates will often adopt positions and say things and make promises in order to get elected.

When their candidate leads in the polls, the idealist sees that as a unifying mandate, a country coming together for a common cause to make their country better. The realist wonders what deals have been made with which constituencies and interest group to build such a base of support.

When their candidate wins the election, the realist becomes the idealist, at least briefly; the idealist becomes the zealot.

The idealist has dreams of amazing, principled people filling his candidate's cabinet or staff.

The realist watches as people important to the campaign are rewarded for their service with cabinet positions.

The idealist swoons at the speeches.

The realist is indifferent to the rhetoric.

The idealist is shaken by the changes in legislation from what he knows his leader values.

The realist acknowledges the art of the compromise.

The idealist turns bitter when the person he helped to elect either does not fulfill a campaign promise or even takes a counter position.

The realist reverts back to his cynical, perhaps jaundiced, view of politics.

The idealist sees his leader getting weaker.

The realist thinks that his leader was never particularly strong.

The idealist starts using labels that portray the leader in a negative light, branding him with the name of the other party, or comparing him to a previous failed leader, or worse.

The realist notes that the pressures of the next election all too soon.

The idealist withdraws his support.

The realist visualizes what will have to happen for the leader to get re-elected.

The idealist visualizes what should have happened, all of the wrong decisions and capitulations. The idealist becomes the realist.

The realist holds onto some, tenuous hope that enough good can still happen to outweigh the bad.

The idealist hears of a new candidate, someone who can really change the way things are. He begins to get excited, sees a new direction for his country, and hope for his children's future.

In a comfortable chair, the realist settles in with his books of Emerson and Thoreau, those idealists, reads until sleepy, then, armed with the reminder that only what is local matters, heads off to bed.


goofytakemyhand said...

Is this somewhat plagiarized from a 2000 Andy Rooney syndicated newspaper column? I remember a very similar assignment junior year.

Bob said...

I don't think so, Jay. Plagiarized? I made it up.