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Kathleen Parker / Politics

The Fat Lady's Aria

WASHINGTON -- Four-year-old Abigael Evans spoke for millions when she sobbed, "I'm tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney."

Her mother, who posted a video on YouTube of her crying daughter, consoled her, saying, "The election will be over soon, OK?"

There, there, Abby. Bronco and Mitt are all done now. The ads can cease. Mormons can exhale. Pinocchio can take a vacation -- and the tides can do whatever the hell they want.

Call me a grouch, but I'm basically sick of everybody. One more mention of "the ground game," and I was going to shave David Axelrod's mustache. Give me a choice of company between the savviest political prognosticator and Jimbo at the bait shop, and I'll take a carton of those worms, please.

The morning after the worst presidential race in memory, we now know the true meaning of the peace that passeth all understanding.

No matter which man you preferred, there is something unsatisfactory about the end of this race. Victory isn't so much an uplifting story of hope or change but of survival. We The People weren't so much participants in a great democratic experiment as we were spectators at a blood sport where everyone got hurt, none so much as our nation, exhausted and battered by cynicism and snark.

Rather than elevating our spirits, this election diminished the currency of our aspirations. It was a campaign of "mosts": The most money ever spent, somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 billion. That's a lot of health insurance and a lot of hurricane recovery. The most negative ads and the most media coverage.

By the infusion of millions from self-promoting .01 percenters, democracy was mocked. As for statesmen, our children will have to conjure their likeness as they do monsters. Greatness is not much apparent. The respective campaigns insulted our intelligence by making false promises and telling half-truths. They manipulated us by preying on our fears, prejudices and anxieties. They made little girls cry.

And yet, both are good men. Decent, smart, gifted men. Good husbands and fathers. But our political system could suck the goodness out of a saint.

There was one brief, glimmering moment, a flicker of light in the darkest of hours, when Hurricane Sandy came ashore and showed what real tides, oblivious to man's vanities, can do. Pushing over houses like so many sand castles, the storm reminded us that the gods care little for politics.

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Copyright 2012 Washington Post Writers Group



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