When Fiction Meets Politics

“In the first act, “Fun and Games,” Martha and George try to fight and humiliate each other in new, inventive ways. As they peel away each other’s pretenses and self-respect, George and Martha use Honey and Nick as pawns, transforming their guests into an audience to witness humiliation, into levers for creating jealousy, and into a means for expressing their own sides of their mutual story. In the second act, “Walpurgisnacht,” these games get even nastier. The evening turns into a nightmare. George and Martha even attack Honey and Nick, attempting to force them to reveal their dirty secrets and true selves. Finally, in the last act, “The Exorcism,” everyone’s secrets have been revealed and purged. Honey and Nick go home, leaving Martha and George to try to rebuild their shattered marriage.”

– Sparknotes, summary, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee

To make a political comparison: 

In this year’s national election drama, the Democratic and Republican parties and their candidates have fought and humiliated each other and exposed each other’s pretenses in new and inventive ways. We, their audience, we voters, have witnessed their humiliation – and jealousies exposed as they expressed their own sides to us. The campaign season has been nasty and become a nightmare as we citizens, political pawns, got caught up in the partisanism, reveled in the dirty secrets, and our true selves were revealed. In seven days, after the election is over next Tuesday, we will move on to living our daily lives, trying to rebuild – hopefully not shattered –  relationships.

Maybe this election and all it’s ugliness – the worst, perhaps, in 150 years – will hopefully prove to be cathartic, a purgative, cleansing our national electorial process of base emotions and we can again begin to behave as the rational, polite adults we are capable of being.

But who am I kidding!

– Bill


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