10/30/14 Blogless

Writing in my private journal, with fountain pen on paper, is definitely a low-tech, pleasurable experience. In my journal, I write about all the things I would not post here. You are likely mentioned in my journal, somewhere.

Lately, I have felt compelled to write in my journal and not for publication. I have noticed this tendency with every election cycle; thus a kind Providence has spared you one more source of needless irritation, and me the embarrassment of permalinked evidence of my own folly. You should thank me. I have spared our friendship needless pain and suffering.

I have been pretty quiet about the elections. Of course, I have my preferences about how things will turn out, but so do you…we all do. I have learned to take what the polls say with a big grain of salt, for pollsters have an irksome way of manipulating data to get it to show what they want it to show, hoping to influence us by voting for the winner. We all like the idea of having cast our votes for the winner. Things will be what they will be. The votes will be counted. Victory speeches have already been composed, and more than a few concession speeches, though these are not thought of again after their composition until their need becomes inevitable.

Politics is like sports. There are winners and losers. One is trying to win while another is actively trying to get them to lose, and doing their best job of it by any means available, some of them not so kind. It is the nature of competition.

Amoebas compete for survival. Plants compete for survival. Animals compete for survival. We all compete for survival. Some of us are more successful than others. Some of us fail early, even if we don’t fail often. It is a hard place to be among the living, for the living compete or soon will be among those formerly competing, their competition now over. It would be nice if this were not so, but we were banished from Eden a long time ago, its entrance guarded over by angels to keep us from that which we can no longer have. To some, this is a mere fantasy. To others, not so much. The lesson should not be lost on us either way.

My Ole Miss Rebels had a hard time last weekend in Death Valley. For the uninitiated, if there are any, this is how LSU’s football stadium is referred to by LSU fans and also by LSU opponents who have the misfortune of playing there. It is an intense place. The Rebels, having an excellent team fell victims to three things that I can see: Belief of their own press, belief of the press of their opponent, and a good and improving football team that was actively and rightfully trying to make their opponent lose. In that way, football games are much like political campaigns. At the end of the game, the points (and votes) are counted, and there is a winner. Winning today does not ensure winning tomorrow.

I am reminded of a time as a youngster that a playground fistfight artfully handled on one day turned sour upon its resumption the second. Today’s success does not guarantee tomorrow’s victory. I learned this the hard way and had a busted lip to prove it. Fortunately I still had all my teeth. The damage I had inflicted the day before on my opponent was still evident on his face. On the second day, we both were sporting evidence. Apparently he got some good coaching overnight, whereas I didn’t think I needed any. I believed my own press.

On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, the votes will have been counted. Victory speeches will be over, and a few concession speeches will have yet to be given. Photos will show cheering politicians holding their arms over their head in a victory gesture as if their team had just scored the winning touchdown in a hard-fought, gridiron struggle. Others will be shown with downcast glances, speaking in soft voices through the dejection of rejection. Their competition will have been concluded. Their struggle rewarded, or not, as the case may be.

There is some similarity with amoebas, except for the histrionics.
©2014 Mississippi Chris Sharp

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