Inspection- Moments

Barack supporters have a lot to be thankful for. Do they realize that?

These are special times: being in the presence of an inspiring leader so close to plucking the largest fruit in the political orchard: the presidency. I know friends who participated in the anti-Vietnam movement felt similar. Many think there will be even more magic once the nation is united after he wins. Oh, if only that were true. Such moments are rare and brief at best. The closest we ever came in my lifetime was the first year or so when JFK was president and, take it from me, it doesn’t even approach the intensity Barack supporters feel now; or what they will feel not too long after he wins.

What is to be is never as good as what we imagine.

I’ve never felt this “magic” that Barack seems to bring to others. I don’t regret it, but I do understand it. It’s a lot like love, or being on stage, or what Conservatives felt when Barry ran and then when Buckley gathered broken Goldwater supporters together under the warm embrace of The National Review. Movements, no matter what political orbit they take, do have that in common. I’m sure Hitler, Roosevelt and Churchill supporters also felt this way in the early years: before it all helped to create a “perfect storm:” WWII.

Yes: what is to be is never as good as what we imagine.

This is not just a political phenomenon…

Acting has a magical element to it where, unlike some past campaign, or lost love, one can almost relive gone moments. I know Mohawk Valley Community College called many of us fellow “drama ‘queens'” back a few years ago to honor the anniversary of the Drama Department by doing a reader’s theater production. In a similar fashion, in the musical: Sunset Boulevard, Norma gets called back to the film stage after her career melted away and relived that career for a brief moment…

“I don’t know why I’m frightened
I know my way around here
The cardboard trees, the painted seas, the sound here…
Yes, a world to rediscover
But I ‘m not in any hurry
And I need a moment”

“The whispered conversations in overcrowded hallways
The atmosphere as thrilling here as always
Feel the early morning madness
Feel the magic in the making
Why, everything’s as if we never said goodbye”

As If We Never Said Goodbye, from Sunset Boulevard

We tried to make our own reliving of who we had been into an annual event. And much like the “anniversary over; let’s move on” response to our requests, Norma found out they had just wanted to use her antique car for the production. Providing one huge neon light warning for all those special moments whether you be in love, actor or activist: everything ends. Post election day things will change no matter who lives in the White House. People will split and become disenchanted. Barack’s star will shine less brightly and what seemed pure will seem soiled from time to time. This is how life is: political, religious, romance…

David Wilcox has a great monologue he does before one of his songs. He says that love is like being on a carousel. I imagine it could apply to any special moment occupied by more than one person. Together you reach the top. You can see so far; everything is clear and… just then… during that most magical of moments… your partner climbs out into mid-air: leaving you dangling there asking; “How can you do that? Why would you do that?”

How? Not sure.

Why? Because it’s some crazed law that Mother Nature, God, Satan or, my personal favorite: gremlins, have weaved into the very fabric of the Universe.

“Preserve your memories: they’re all that’s left you.”

-Paul Simon “Friends”

“Just across the sea on this world so round
the sun’s shining hot right now.
And even though the winter still surrounds this town
I can still feel that sun somehow.
When I know that my sun will shine just as sure as this world can spin,
I can hold on fine, cause it almost time, for that sun to come ’round again.”

David Wilcox, from his song: It’s Almost Time

Don’t despair, the carousel will turn again. No two rides are the same but…

…maybe that’s the point. They wouldn’t be special; so treasured, if they were.


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over thirty years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.