Dylan Cormack

Stuck now in early October, the winds cooling themselves and slowing while still in the afternoon, without waiting for dark. The leaves are dancing wildly in raging colors to compensate but it’s barely enough to sail on. Oktoberfest is over, the harvest is finished and the winter looms on the edge of the horizon, like night.

Meanwhile, somewhere between Wisconsin and Ohio, a failing campaign inexplicably prods on with all of the expected twists and turns, all of the pestilent rhetoric that we’ve heard so many goddamn times before that one wonders why we bother covering it in the first place.

Indeed. It’s the October wall, the second wall for me just this year. I remember when I hit it for the first time in 2004 after the swift boat thing. I hit it with less steam than I did this year, but that’s also because I wasn’t writing as much then. It happens much like an out-of-control binge. You usually don’t plan on it, you enjoy it while it lasts but then it takes over and ruins your weekend, and in the end you find yourself uttering very familiar words like “no more of that” or “never again.”

It’s not just a matter of quantity, of course, but of RATE. You’ve got to keep the stream steady, more like an IV drip than shotgunning a beer. Politics is a toxin just like any other substance that alters your body chemistry and this is well-known in the press circles. You’ve got to take it easy. Calm down. Pay attention to the heart rate. And the word count. Don’t over do it. Keep it steady.

Focus on one topic at a time.

That’s the trick, of course. And my situation for the last few weeks wasn’t helping ANYTHING. Seriously. Caught in a maelstrom of worldly proportions that fails all description other than my itinerary, I made my way from city to city…

New York…










…it went on. You start losing your bearings.

“Doesn’t the jet lag affect you?” my flatmate asked me.

Please. My body has been so torn and twisted from 4 years of this shit – pulled from one timezone to another, crossing 8 of them in a single bound, yanked from that one to this one, going from the tropics to the arctic, from 3 degrees Celsius to 35 in a few hours – that it can’t even FIND itself on a map, let alone be oriented enough to know to be jet lagged.

Besides, I get a shit load of miles from all this.

I stopped in each place briefly enough for a load of laundry and a nap. But when you’re stuck in hotel rooms at odd hours, in a place where you can’t buy liquor, beer or wine outside a restaurant (or at all, in Riyadh), and it’s negative 5 degrees outside with no snow yet, where the sun starts setting at 2 in the afternoon and doesn’t actually set until 6… well, in a place like that, you read a lot.

And then you write a lot.

So I got a little carried away, and I went in too deep. I sucked too much marrow and when it slipped over the edge I choked on the bone, I guess.

There are some that refer to this feeling as a kind of Campaign Bloat, of there being too much in your system and you can’t take any more. Normally the reporting and the discussing and the writing are an outlet for the poison to flow through you, stimulating this nerve or that gland but in the end, being processed and expelled just like every other foreign substance. But when one starts to realize that the campaign is utterly meaningless and that you have neither sympathy for the two grabby little maggots nor the patience to pretend otherwise, you lose your will to expel, to express, and a buildup occurs. Things slow down and you don’t even realize that no matter what kind of reverend shows up on the scene, no matter what old terrorist contact your candidate had, no matter what policy disagreements exist in either camp… nothing will affect the polls from here on out except the slow rot and wear that time exerts on numbers in a system such as presidential politics.

People will forget about the sparks and remember the embers. People will forget the facts and remember the feelings, the angst, the confusion, the fear, the uncertainty… and they will vote accordingly. There won’t be speculation about dials, and colored lines on stupid charts on CNN. There won’t be visions of Karl Rove discussing what was true and what was untrue. There will only be a vague notion of what they might have seen on cable TV and how it made them feel, either at that moment or over a series of many more or less identical ones.

…and in places like Wisconsin and Ohio, and Florida and Nevada and New Hampshire and Missouri, those morons unclear enough on the state of things to still lack a position by now will decide the future of this country.

That’s a sad commentary in and of itself.

Some people, those that get very SERIOUSLY into the game even show physical symptoms of Campaign Bloat. Take a long look, not at people like Wolf Blitzer or anyone in the White House Press Corps that’s over 50. They know better and they have other means of digesting their internal rot.

But look to the younger reporters, those with a glint of hope in their eyes, a twinkle of energy in their words that says this election still means something to them and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Bloggers probably exhibit these traits more than journalists but you don’t get to see many of them very easily, so don’t bother trying.

But if you do you’ll see what the breakdown of an unstimulated adrenal gland can do to a person. Blood-shot eyes are the first signs as the flesh swells and the blinking reflex is suppressed. An abundance of drink and lack of nutritious sustenance suddenly retained by the body causes swollen bellies, drooping skin on the arms and hair that is far greasier than it should be. As the brain fills with terrible things the mouth is constrained and you see people chewing their tongues raw in an effort to THINK about something meaningful and righteous to say. But it probably won’t come until it’s too late.

Like I said though, it’s not EVERYONE who show physical signs, just those on the front lines, those that do this during DAYLIGHT hours as well. Here at the top of the world, I don’t have many of those these days.

Yes. And who knows? I might stumble my way out of this rut. Wash my hands of the weirdness, so to speak and get back to THE ISSUES. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, as I started saying, somewhere between Wisconsin and Ohio two desperate leaves from the old tree we know so well are starting to see things in a very different color. Their numbers from Gallup are starting to sound optimistic and it seems that even they know that the point spread is much higher than we’re being led to believe. We’ll only know on November 4th, of course.

Let’s hope we all make it till then.

https://facebook.com/dylan.cormack.1 Dylan Cormack

Dylan is our political correspondent, bold and fiery as his fuse is short. He is a well-read, on-location kind of writer and is no stranger to travel. Intimately familiar with many distant and dark corners of the Earth, Dylan brings a new kind of blood to his vicious style of journalism. He sends us his words, notes and effusive rants of observation, commentary and occasional judgement.

The Site

"It's a fresh look, based on Google's material design. The design is responsive... see? It adjusts to your mobile or tablet device, so th...… Continue reading

Of smiles and roars