Mass Lonelyhearts

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People who vote sometimes seem to be a political version of my old friend K’s love life. An otherwise intelligent woman, K fell in love with all the caution of a rock sinking into deep water. She gave her heart and trust to this man . . . then to the next man, then . . .

Of course, every man on the impressively long list of “true loves” betrayed her, lied to her, and left her embittered — yet oddly able to render exactly the same love and trust again. In serial gabfests, she cried to me about being jerked around by men, like a puppet on a string. I kept arguing that the way to stop being jerked around was to let go of the other end —  don’t grab another rope the instant it is dangled. Better yet, give a totally different type of man a chance. Stop running after “players” and try looking for substance over flash. My efforts were to no avail.

So with those who vote. They keep grabbing onto the political rope — that is, onto the sweet promises of this candidate, then the next. Embittered and betrayed by yesterday’s politician, they find it instantly possible to put on straw hats and petition and campaign for today’s version . . . whether he’s named Scott Brown or Ron Paul. “This one is different!” the political junkies protest indignantly — just as K used to do. And just as she did, they brook no criticism of their true love de jour until, of course, it becomes abundantly clear which end of the string they are on.

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