Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Presidential Primary - Act III

The only way I can look at the Democratic party's primary season is as a full three act modern-ancient drama.

The set is a simple semi circle, bordered by white marble columns -- at once both an ancient Greek theatre and Washington, DC. In between each column, digital screen hang with ever-changing images pulled from broadcast and cable news, Huff Post, Daily Kos, Pho's Akron Pages and so on. The actors all wear masks and walk on high platform shoes.

In Act I, we met a lot of characters who spouted lots of monologues, pleaded for donations and periodically met up on a platform to out wit, out play and out last each other. By the end of the first act, we were down to three players and everybody knew John Edwards was the odd person out.

Act II became the battle of the two remaining titans. Senator Clinton seemed a sure bet until the primary season got under way. A new character appeared on the scene -- the Voters, a kind of Greek chorus that was split into two equal and opposing forces. Senator Obama's rise in status grew as he won caucus after caucus and surprised the complacent Clinton campaign with the appeal of the "fresh message of hope." As Senator Clinton's fortunes diminished, the two choruses harangued each other with taunts and threats. Various characters appealed to the gods above, the so-called Super Delegates to come down from the heavens and bring an end to the story.

Act III is now upon us. Senator Obama's message of hope isn't so fresh now, nor is Senator Clinton's husband, who should really be given a role in the satyr plays that go on in between acts rather than be allowed to continually and badly upstage his wife's message.

The Voters have been polled, sliced and diced and divided into categories that are supposed to fall in line on one side or the other. Bitter white older women vs young educated men along with racial and economic divisions. Therefore, the chorus members have changed masks, donning new ones that represent the various voter demographics for this final act. Emotions run high, as each chorus threatens to leave the stage and not participate in the democratic voting process should the opposing candidate win.

I can't predict the outcome of this final act. I have an ending in mind but whether the actors in this drama will choose it is not at all clear. I'm still rooting for a resolution that doesn't lead to tragedy in the fall. For remember, Greek plays most often were presented in trilogy format. (You can bet those ancient play-goers took along something soft to place on the hard stone seats at the amphitheatre.) So after the Primary play, we will be faced with the General Election play, to be followed by The First Four Years of a new regime.

No comments: