Nobody says once and for all anymore. Appropriate. Of course there never was a once and for all, but it seemed that way, once. Or it seems now that it must have seemed that way. The sands in the hour glass, when there actually still WERE hourglasses, used to run through a little narrow place, that slowed the sand down, so Dorothy had some time to think about her dire situation when the wicked witch thumped the terrifying apparatus on the table in front of her. Is my train of thought starting to wander already? Yes, and I’m just getting started. Stay with me here. Now the hourglass is shaped like a family-size can of tomato paste, and we are inside of it and the wind is picking up and now we’re in a howling sandstorm of contingency and change and our feet are mired in the tomato paste. People are unsettled by it all.
This is why fundamentalism is having a bit of a renaissance, or I should say a bit of a medieval. Not only can we not figure out which one of the couchful of remotes changes the TV channel, but the show that’s stuck on the screen has two men who want to get married. Find an ancient book that makes all this go away! Bring back that old-time certainty just the way it used to be! But the smartest thing I’ve read recently is that ALL of the current incarnations of fundamentalism are in fact recreating a version of religious practice THAT NEVER WAS ACTUALLY DONE THAT WAY! It’s all a bad-museum-version of verisimilitude like a display featuring a female manikin (the only one they could find on short notice) dressed up as Abraham Lincoln with a beard pasted on, saving the Union with a dollar-store magic wand.
And so with our election. Yes we face a clear choice, but people are making a mistake to think this is going to settle everything for good. The GOP wants to bring back 1958, but in a version that not even Theodore Cleaver would recognize. The ‘America’ that is slipping away! A unionized America without unions and a high-rate tax code with low rates, or some such. Even if Romney COULD bring it all back, it wouldn’t be once and for all. It would endure about as long as one of his positions.