Living in Society

Winding Trail Home

Walking on the Lake Macbride Trail Jan. 14, 2020.

My life in politics is winding down as I turn to long delayed tasks and projects. When I returned to politics at the end of George W. Bush’s first term, I devoted time to everything political. I won an award as an activist. Hopeful candidates continue to see, in the database that tracks such things, I donated sizable amounts to congressional candidates. None of that time and money remains for politics as I stride down the inevitable path toward life’s end. There is too much else to do.

We Iowa Democrats were beaten hard during the last few general elections. While 2010 didn’t kill us, the return of Terry Branstad as governor that year was the beginning of the end. 2022 was the end with Republicans taking all but one statewide office, all four seats in the Congress and increasing their already large majorities in the state legislature. I support what Rita Hart, Zach Wahls and Jennifer Konfrst are doing to resuscitate the Democratic body politic, yet time and money are things of which I have little extra to spare. Basic living has to come first.

Unless we nominate a corrupt, lazy bastard, I expect to vote Democratic.

A generic life expectancy table says I have plus or minus 13 more years to live. It seems like a lot of time, yet if I engage in political campaigns, the days, months, and years will fly by like songbirds migrating back to Iowa in spring.

What is all this stuff that needs doing? I don’t know… we made a list. The bigger problem is thrill is gone from politics. When you get beat down three elections in a row, it is time let go of it so the next generation can make the world they envision. William Butler Yeats summed up where we are in a 1920 verse that continues to resonate:

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?