“First [the Dodo] marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (`the exact shape doesn’t matter,’ it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no `One, two, three, and away,’ but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out `The race is over!’ and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, `But who has won?’ ~ Description of a Caucus Race from Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.
Brian Williams, anchor for the NBC Nightly News, announced yesterday the official race for the White House would begin in forty-three days with the Iowa Caucus.
It leaves one wondering where he has been for the last few years.
If memory serves correctly, the Caucus Race devised in Carroll’s book, “Alice in Wonderland” was a tortuous affair without official end, until everyone finally decided they’d had enough, and a winner was eventually chosen apparently at random.
While there are, no doubt, those who at least make pretense of understanding the American way of choosing their nation’s next leader, to those outside this inner political sanctum of doubtful knowledge the whole thing makes “Alice’s” Caucus Race appear remarkably logical by comparison. In fact, the tortuously meandering path of the US presidential election closely resembles this Wonderland jaunt.
The race was suggested as a way to dry-off a number of very wet creatures. Is their anything wetter than a US politician slavering over the White House and pawing at unwary voters?
The process certainly seems to drag on without end, and the final outcome appears to bear little relation to all that preceded it.
Primaries, secondaries, CBS polls, MSNBC polls, straw polls, debates for Republicans, debates for Democrats (for God’s sake don’t let them get together, there’ll be a bloodbath!), the spending of billions and billions of dollars, huge luxury buses hurtling round the country, thousands of hangers-on supporting their man (or woman), endless TV debates by pseudo-experts with as much idea of the political outcome as had Alice’s Dodo………..
And all for what? So once again a glitzy, pearl-teethed, dumbass can make a total mess of the world for another four years, or longer.
Check out the history and it’s obvious there has never, ever been a good president of the USA. Every one has cocked up the job one way or another. Sure, some have managed to do a bit better than others, but overall their credibility ratings have been decidedly lackluster, and frequently downright appalling. Even the one perhaps remembered with greatest fondness, Abraham Lincoln, could hardly be described as lily-white, given that in 1862 he ordered the largest mass execution – of 38 innocent Santee Dakota Sioux – in American history.
Lincoln also suspended Habeus Corpus and arrested thousands of US citizens, including journalists. There is also evidence he was a racist and hated blacks, despite being feted for abolishing slavery. Probably, he would be less well remembered had someone not assassinated him in 1865. America remembers its assassinated presidents with obliging affection. The far-from-perfect JFK is another fine example.
The US political system is probably one of the most flawed on the planet. It falls only slightly short of downright military dictatorship. Instead, it balances precariously between that and a rough pretense at democracy, with the latter conveniently cast aside whenever US policy requires a more direct approach, as amply demonstrated by the present incumbent.
Indeed, just as the birds and small creatures of the Caucus Race crept quietly away at the mention of Alice’s favorite cat, it would seem Lady Democracy is also slipping silently into the American political basement, as Congress cedes more and more of its power to one very dubious human being in the highest office on the planet.
How long, one wonders, before a newly-elected appears at the presidential inauguration dressed in the attire of the Queen of Hearts, while occasionally screaming, “Off with his HEAD!”
Filed under: Curiouser and curiouser