“When the truth is found
to be lies
and all the joy
within you dies
Don’t you want somebody to love?
Don’t you need somebody to love?
You better find somebody to love.”
Driving from Clifton Springs back to Geneva on one of the few sunny days we have enjoyed since about 2003, I touched a button on the car console. It was the button that mysteriously sends a silent signal announcing to the little people living inside the console that I have grown weary of listening to the news and now I want whatever is on the playlist.
In the blink of an eye Grace Slick’s voice jumped out of the speakers and transformed the moment. That alluring wail and ghostly vibrato traveled at warp-speed from 1966 when war-lies filled the air, to the fustiness of 2019 polluted by 10,000 official White House lies.
As soon as that hallowed voice crooned from the speaker, it hit me that this was the perfect soundtrack for the Mueller Report. No, wait! One of the Democrat candidates should grab onto it for her or his campaign.
Don’t you want somebody to love? (Me, Beto).
Don’t you need somebody to love? (Like me, Kamala).
You better find somebody to love. (Why, Mayor Pete, of course).
Nobody loved Tricky Dick, did they? Or LBJ? No way that Bush the Elder was elected by passion. Mr. Gore and Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote but surely not because they filled a craving for somebody to love. The dark amorous of sticking it to ‘The Man’ must be behind the minority election of the Trumpster, or that twisted kind of love of the abused for an abuser.
The collapse of boundaries between leadership and celebrity makes a mess of everything. The obsession with crowd size and generating excitement is destroying the process of electing a president. We forget that the tidal wave of hope that washed Obama to shore had a unique context: the massive economic recession sparked by widespread corruption amid big business, which followed on the heels of 9/11 and a revenge-war manipulated by deception.
There was great national desperation then, a desire to hope big and heal the pus-filled divisions in the American soul that we thought could not get worse. If an African-American could actually get elected, that would be a real sign of hope, wouldn’t it? It didn’t hurt that he was a young man raised up from poverty, with vision in his eyes and gilded insights sparkling his rhetoric. Looking back, he was made for part and for the moment.
For many, the promise of his potential was not met. We could debate the reasons for that, but following the long eight years of Bushdom with the deflated hope of Obama made for a grisly election in 2016. Now we know that Russians were adding fuel to the fire, but in the end, they were only fanning the embers of rage, impotence, and resentments already within us. Now, good God, after four years of no vision, no hope, no compassion, and no truth the campaign ahead is a tinderbox.
I do not want somebody to love. I want a leader with wisdom and compassion, and the ability to bring people together. I could care less whether I like him or her, though I do want to be able to respect their character.