It's funny how all the pundits are talking now about the unsuspected role of religion in the election, because I've been reflecting on the election as religious experience. By which I may mean nothing more than the reverence and loss of ego I experienced by participating in a mass movement for a better world, something much bigger than me. For the first time in a public way I felt myself ecstatically disappearing the way "I" do when I'm writing a poem. And I felt such warmth and fraternity for all my fellow volunteers and the devoted Democrats I met going door to door in these little Pennsylvania towns—discovering something like my own heart beating in old folks and Vietnam veterans and Teamsters. Writing for me is also a dream of such unity: when I'm writing well, when I've truly forgotten the petty desires and vanities of my everyday self, then I'm making contact with something that unites me to my fellow creatures. Call it, simply, a faith that something I'm feeling or thinking has been/will be felt or thought by others. No poem is so difficult or obscure that it's incapable of making contact, as long as it was made from a moment of obliterated intent. To believe that through writing you might move yourself is to believe in the deepest communication; it's the total opposite of solipsism.the other side doesn't have a monopoly on fervor.
So I'm sad and depressed and angry, but also energized, more engaged: a player, a participant.
Friday, November 05, 2004
josh on religion and the election: