Thursday, October 28, 2004

Zen and the Art of Vote-Chumming

Those of us who are compelled to hash out positions in the Competition of Ideas look forward to the election cycle in a way not dissimilar to how a Red Sox fan awaits the playoffs – anxious, hopeful, praying to win, but ultimately expecting to have an ineffectual impact on its fated outcome.

And in this year where momentous world events are broiling, we hope for an elevated discussion of the nature of the social contract, the role of the state, our position in the world, and the Destiny of Man.

These remaining days of the campaign could have been occupied with lofty rhetoric, philosophical discourse, and Calls to Arms.

Instead we’ve got an orgy of vote-chumming. And Kerry’s gonna need a bigger boat.

Fishermen throw bait over the side (chumming) to attract schools of fish who then are more easily caught by the line.

Kerry has been shoveling out fish entrails to the masses, from tainted flu vaccines, the outsourcing of Tora Bora, Canadian drugs, Halliburton, Heating Oil prices, outing lesbian daughters, Halliburton, and now Bush’s failure to get Saddam’s (re-emergent) Weapons of Mass Destruction – hoping to hook a few more voters on cheap gruel.

But none of this amounts to a positive message of governance nor the basis on which to build a personal bond. “George W. Bush is incompetent, I’m not George W. Bush, vote for me.”

In one scene from the 70s blockbuster Jaws, Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) is shown at the back of Quint’s boat, casually chumming to attract the villainous shark and secure its demise.

After the massive fish surfaces, Brody dryly replies: “we’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

That churning outside Kerry's boat is an electorate waiting to surface on November 2.