A swampy malaise is settling over me -- I'm depressed and ill-tempered, uncomfortable in silence. I know that all of this is the direct result of Barack Obama taking office.
We sat in an office together, or stood in a kitchen together, drinking, or sharing dinner, agreeing, "Bush is an idiot." Or one-upping: "He's an illiterate cowboy." "...and a war-criminal." We clinked glasses and agreed, with a spark of hope in our eyes. I was convinced America could do better; you were convined the Democrats could win again. We agreed and enjoyed an unsparing round of criticism directed at President Bush.
Then you must feel wonderful, now. Your wildest political dreams perfectly satisfied. I am trying to stay agreeable--after all, I don't want to ruin dinner. I'm still clinking glasses, but after dinner I am likely to bite my tongue a little, suspicious that you've traded in a perfectly good set of critical eyes for a pair of slinky-goggles with spiraling irises.
It would be an exaggeration--and in poor taste--to say that I'm "haunted" by the notion that America can still do better. The experience of this malaise is not so intellectually neat. After the dinner party, I find myself wondering how long you supported Bush after his first inauguration... almost 80% of you can boast "for some time," at least. And I think I can match that; I think I can hold this malaise in its potential-energy phase, unspoken and so unnamed. Maybe there's nothing there at all--
But I have asked, in good faith, how I will recognize injustice or error or shortcoming, and tonight I know: when this unnamed potential springs kinetic, and when I am able to give it a name...
A mild yoke, it is, indeed.