Defeat

Some mornings, when the light grows and I set myself to grow still, I imagine that I am debating George Bush.  I’ve fallen into this daydream for years now: it digs at something, I believe.  So the moderator asks Bush to name the political philosopher or thinker he most identifies with.  Bush answers, “Christ, because he changed my heart.”

My place is to lose the election, to have historians view the best version of my answer – halting, unduly complicated, vaguely insincere – as the election’s turning point, and not even that, because I was losing before George Bush said Christ.

Stevenson could not win, Carter could not govern, and Lincoln, you know, governed, but only over civil war.

During long, two-term moonlit nights, we remember the reach of sunset, its sweet, spectacular defeat, its fire framed in an arched corridor where we shovel our dark ideals and reflect, demiurgical and orange-faced, an incarnate sun, a clear fabrication, a foundry of Fathers.

 



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