2010

10 March 2010: Romanoff Campaign for Senator

Romanoff’s campaign: where reality and unreality converge

There’s a reason writers such as myself ought not to read Garrison Keillor before writing a column.

I read Keillor for several reasons and a couple of times each time. His word flow is a lilt, poetic in the prosaic realm of written expression. The reader becomes so enamored s/he loses direction, adrift on an open wandering and wondering sea, and upon arriving at port and getting the point wonders, “How did I get here?”

It’s a marvel and joy because you know you’ve been suckered, hoodwinked and taken for a ride, but you love it, and say, “OK, this is good, and one more time because I want to understand why,” but often don’t. It requires a willingness to step out of time and move forth, to permit one’s self to enter a world of unbelievable or at least improbable possibility.

It’s the realm of magical realism into which I admit having had difficulty stepping. With Catholic-school education having worked its conditioning, it has taken decades to undo my artificially developed inner Jesuit.

The uplifting part of the unreal world of reality is the humor it brings. But if life were a mere belly-laugh, I would give hugs to tea baggers, kisses to Sarah Palin’s cheek and slaps on my knee each time Keith Olbermann details why once and twice and thrice again Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck is the world’s worst person.

Jesting, though, is not the intent of political discourse and action, even though comical and a source of delight for many. Keillor declares Al Franken took “a step down on the social scale” by entering the Senate because “writing comedy is hard work compared to harrumphing,” where an eye to the camera and the political take is ultimate reality.

“It takes brains and elegance and courage to make people laugh,” Keillor avers.

But there’s sophisticated humor and perverse. With the U.S. Senate devolving into the latter, complete with buffoons wanting to be taken seriously, one wonders why an intellect, a nice guy, a good guy, an elegant one who genuinely believes in the goodness of people and puts into practice the edicts the Son of God of Christians proclaimed are the way to truth and life, would want to enter a chamber of buffoonery.

The dour Senate Republican leader from Kentucky, along with his cold-hearted partner, and the disconnected one from Wyoming, who believes everyone enjoys privilege as he, and the other from Arizona, having lost the big prize and now facing the loss of his seat because he is deemed not conservative enough, are among the current faces of a movement that once drummed out John Birchers but now has become them. If you love irony, this is a bountiful treasure trove. Join me for a cup of tea, John? After all, you are the victor.

One wonders why Andrew Romanoff wants to enter that realm, but he reminds us that gaining power is not about keeping it but using it to make a better world, a reality in which a senator actually represents flesh-and-blood human beings and not fleshless-and-bloodless corporations that according to five Supreme grand inquisitors are flesh and blood. Dare we imagine?

Should he have run for governor? Is his pursuit a quixotic undertaking in the face of long odds?

While his reputation for working across the aisle is renown, Romanoff’s heretofore runs for office took place in a safe district with nominal opposition. So the question looms: Can he win in November against a Republican/Independence Institute campaign of shock and awe? Dick Wadhams, Republican Party state chair, is not known to make nice but is hardly invincible, having lost in Virginia with George Allen of “macaca” fame.

In the face of no, not from the Party of No, but his own, Andrew Romanoff is undaunted. One Native American spiritualist says, “Fear is the hole in the heart that allows evil spirits to enter,” and the root of courage, the opposite of fear, is the Latin “cor,” meaning heart. Courageous or bitter? Clear-eyed visionary or resident in an illusory world?

In the Wonderland of America, the white knights are talking backwards and the Red Queen is champing at the bit to order heads doffed. It’s a strange, strange world we live in, and though it’s all very interesting the way Master Jack describes it, the Wee Folk of Clear Creek like to see whether other people agree and then to see it through their own eyes.

Consorting while sharing pizza at Beau Jo’s might be a discourse in magical reality that only Garrison Keillor is capable of capturing; for Wee Folk in search of the pot of gold and for Andrew Romanoff, that is where reality and unreality magically converge.

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