A famous writer of horror novels was supposedly asked; “You’re such a good writer, why do you write horror novels?” He supposedly answered; “Why do you think I have a choice?”
We watch people do stupid or wicked or evil things and wonder why they choose to do such things. Why do we assume they could choose to do anything else? Have we considered their options? Maybe their other choices are worse.
Let’s consider a hypothetical example.
Suppose a political party was faced with extinction. Their demographic was generally older and getting still older, generally white, and generally male. Their country was becoming increasingly younger and increasingly diverse; racially and sexually. The political power of their numbers was fading with no real prospect of preventing the eventual loss of monopoly of control. What are their choices?
- Change the party to enlarge the membership.
- They could reach out to women; leave women’s health decisions in the control of the women involved, pay equally for equal work…
- They could reach out to non-white people; support immigration reform, equalize access to medical services and equalize educational opportunities…
- They could reach out to the LGBTQ population; end discrimination, stop talking about bathrooms…
It might work. It might gain voters. It might renew the party. It might.
But it would be a lot of work and it would take time and it would change the party.
The current membership of the party might not have the time or energy…or incentive to change the party. What’s in it for them?
But at this stage of maturing life, maybe long-range survival of party…or even country… isn’t as pressing an issue as clinging to the “bird-in-hand” for just a few more years. It’s good to be a senator. It’s good to be a majority leader. The offices are nice. The perks are killer. The stock tips are most highly useful. The dinners in Moscow on July 4th are real nice clambakes. Limos are nice. Insurance is great – better’n ObamaCare – hell, better’n Medicare – and a whole bunch better’n nothin’ at all. Pay’s good. Lots of time off. Hate to give it up.
Is there another choice?
- Change the election rules. Suppress the vote.
- Reduce the number of voting machines and locations.
- Restrict absentee voting.
- Reduce early voting.
- Gerrymander voting districts to protect party members.
- Launch an insurrection and kill a few people.
One can’t make good choices when every available choice is bad.
It’s not wickedness.
It’s just all that remains.
And one must choose.