In that sense, I fear, we are all living in that Godot-like state of suspended animation. We blithely bump along toward a momentous election and — in our usual state of denial — we naively assume that on Election Day, things will be pretty much as they are today. We yammer about Iowa or New Hampshire or debate Rudy’s three wives or Hillary’s asinine answer about immigrant driver’s licenses as if something vital were really at stake. But that’s a little like believing that when morning comes, the music on Bourbon Street will just keep pumping right along. Instead, the chairs will be stacked, and the floors, cigarette butts and patches of vomit will be swept by crews of minimum-wage, probably immigrant and certainly invisible workers.
What will we be talking about next November, in any case? How the new levees and floodgates didn’t hold through this coming summer’s hurricane season? How the Big One finally flattened L.A.? How those Marines I saw finally got “redeployed” but, alas, only to wind up in Iran? How no one imagined that Pakistan could fall so quickly to the fundamentalists? Or that the Dow would plummet to 10,000? Or, heaven forbid, how the residents of the Lower 9th are still living in hell?
In the meantime, we follow an election in which the two leading candidates seem to morph into each other every day. We wait for something, or someone, to come along to shift the paradigm, to push us into some new era of hopefulness, to engage us with each other, to challenge and to even ask us for something — in exchange for a government, a society that can give back so much of what we all need. But we might as well be waiting for Godot.