It seems all too sobering that 2008 — a year enshrined by the intermingling of politics and hope — would close out with such an image.
In form, the situation is routine. A governor announcing a Senate replacement. In one character, however, we see the proud face of a politician unconcerned with deliverance to a higher plane upon the wings of the devil. In the other, we see a politician starring in his own mental breakdown, his grandiose delusional state peeling back any pretense that the difference between political acts and moral or ethical ones grow much more ambiguous behind the screen of self-consciousness.
As someone who lives, breathes and sees politics everywhere, I’m thoroughly grateful to have survived the horribly painful and disastrous “W” era. And, indeed, I am profoundly hopeful for a sea change in the way America, and American politics, does business. At the same time, however, because politics is an art governed by human beings, I also enter 2009 with my larger illusions in check.
Thank you so much for sharing this space and this mission with me over the past year. I wish all of you a New Year filled with joy, strength and growth.
(image: Amanda Rivkin for The New York Times. Chicago, IL. December 30, 2008. caption: Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, right, named Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate.)