Back to the Future

Picture it. Fall, 1994. An early November evening. Tuesday, to be exact.

I was a grad student in my first semester taking a class in Latin American Contemporary Fiction. We met one night a week, first for three hours in the classroom proper with our professor and then took the action and our pontifications to the campus watering hole afterwards, where beer was consumed and philosophical snark was dispensed.

That particular evening, along with our beer and opinions, the single television in the joint, mounted high on the wall, carried midterm election results. Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert brought the news of a huge, cross-country Republican win, which the GOP dubbed the "Republican Revolution."

We grad students watched the results with an interested yet somehow detached eye. We laughingly referred to the star of the evening, Newt Gingrich, as Axolotl Gingrich, after the Latin American amphibian featured in a surreal short story (by Julio Cortázar) we had just finished reading. The witty semi-urbane-ness of our naive, slightly arrogant educated selves helped to mask our concern and uncertainty, as most of us fell more than left of center with our politics. In those days, such things could be assuaged with some banter and booze. Which is what we deployed.

A midterm election going the way of the party other than the one in the White House. A first term President who spent substantial time his first two years in office working on a health care plan. The country at a crossroads.

Sound familiar?

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

And so we carry on, Americans. Each of us trying to do our part for what we believe is the correct path for our country. It's what we do best.

Sometimes you eat the bear. And sometimes the bear eats you.

Forward ho.

1 comment:

bronsont said...

I liken the American Political Arena to two things, first a grandfather clock. The pendulum is constantly swinging back and forth in reaction to the forces of gravity working on it.

Secondly, the Coliseum in Rome, and to borrow a phrase from your eloquent post, some times the Lion eats the Gladiator and some times the Gladiator eats the lion :)