You really don't have to make a decision right now

You really don't have to make a decision right now

Libraries—at least here in sunny an notoriouisly blue California—are hotbeds of liberalism. We hold drag queen storytime and no one bats an eyelash.

Needless to say, within broad parameters, political discussions among staff are nowhere near the right end of the scale.

One of my assistants asked me the other day about the Democratic primary, and if I’d made up my mind yet. I told him that while I had an early favorite—Senator Kamala Harris—I was wedded to no one, considering that there hadn’t even been debates where we could see their mettle. We’re still in the bottom of the 1st inning, and they’re just getting their game legs. And, of course, we’re all awaiting, as if for a revelation, for Joe Biden’s entry into the race. (Or not. This Hamlet act is not becoming to a septuagenarian.)

The political maelstrom is just starting to interest those people who are not political obsessives like we are. And what I would tell them is this: Do your research, follow their appearances, read/listen to their stump speeches, weigh their policy proposals. But, remember, it’s only April 16, 2019. As Mr. Boykin’s tweet so aptly describes, every candidate has had a burst of squee so far, and has faded. Even “front-runner” Bernie Sanders is feeling a significant letdown. 2020 won’t be 2016, with a putative favorite who did, indeed, go on to win the nomination. (And the general election, or at least she would have in every developed democracy save our own.)

This isn’t an exam you have to cram for the following morning. This is a dissertation you have over a year to write. Do your research. Craft your ideas. Think deeply about the issues and personalities. But for God’s sake, don’t obsess over it.

With the (t)error which occupies the Oval Office, those of us who think of little else but our current political situation want to fast-forward to the DNC convention. This is a mistake. The man or woman who wins the nomination to take on Donald Trump must be battle tested. He or she must have gone through a vigorous vetting, and shown that he or she can take the slings and arrows and hurl them back with devastating effect. They cannot have a thin skin, or a prickly personality. They’re going to go against a creature who deals in nothing but insults, and must be able to absorb them and turn them back on him. That person will not be decided in April of 2019 by polling, but only in the heat of struggle.

Those of us on this blog and in the politically-minded social media sphere would do well to step back and follow the examples of our less engaged fellow-citizens. Relax. The Republic’s fate won’t be decided today, and it most definitely won’t be decided on Twitter. Don’t drag yourself into pointless confrontations on comment threads. Keep yourself fresh, so that when you do decide on a candidate, you can argue his or her case without months of stress underpinning your choice.

In other words, follow Mr. Boykin’s advice: Chill.



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