One left-leaning Reid isn’t running
Nevada voters face a Senate choice so bleak this year that it makes you want to repeal Jean Paul Sartre’s informal law of existentialism.
Choosing between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle is like choosing between having a root canal or getting the offending tooth yanked. All in all, I’d rather be in a dentist’s chair than a voting booth the first Tuesday in November. Or I’d like to write in this conservative’s progressive choice, my friend Robert Leonard Reid. More on him later.
Meanwhile, please recall existentialism is a downer philosophy that J.P. Sartre said means making choices can’t be avoided. This was Sartre’s inviolable law: Indecision is just as much a choice as is decision. Not to choose is to choose.
Sartre was correct about choice, despite being incorrect in branding life meaningless. In existentialism, “existence precedes essence” is a philosophical foundation—but, in my view, it is just first among equals.
Existence precedes essence, but doesn’t negate it.
There is a reason for existence, and that’s the essence of what you can’t see behind existence. It’s why all choices count—even the choice not to choose. So we should discount the appealing but troubling copout of “none of these candidates,” which longtime Nevadans tell me is the Silver State substitute for write-ins. Aaargh!
There are third party candidates, but my favorite for that role is too busy with his own writing and musical career to jumble his life by stumbling into the political maelstrom. I speak of the aforementioned friend, Carson City’s Robert Leonard Reid (no relation to Harry that I can discern).
Bob Reid is a bleeding heart booster of an ecological approach to existence, something captured with aplomb in his latest book: Arctic Circle: Birth and Rebirth in the Land of the Caribou. In it he recounts an Arctic trip to watch caribou migrate.
And he quotes the great naturalist Wendell Berry. For me, it made a pertinent point regarding current politics both nationally and in Nevada.
“In his poem ‘The Peace of Wild Things,’” writes Reid, “Wendell Berry offers as an antidote to the dissonance of daily life the ‘still water’ of the natural world:
‘When despair for the world grows in me/ and I wake in the night at the least sound/ in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,/ I go and lie down where the wood drake/ rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds./ I come into the peace of wild things … ’
“Nature has the capacity to heal the frazzled soul, Berry reminds us, bringing with it freedom and ‘the grace of the world,’” Bob Reid concluded.
Bob Reid also wrote the musical revue “I Say Nevada!” that was presented in Carson City in 2008. An updated “bailout version” is scheduled for this autumn. In it, songs make sardonic humor romp. In one, Harry Reid is satirized for the heartthrob he is (NOT).
Here’s hoping Sharron Angle also gets a send up in the update. While Harry’s obvious shortcomings as a heartthrob are revisited, perhaps Sharron’s special relationship with God and veneration of the Constitution (alternative lifestyle folks, however, need not apply) could be pilloried.
Given Harry’s continual overspending and Sharron’s pipeline to heaven-sent missions, I’m more befuddled than usual with my task of choosing between the lesser of two existential angst producers.
And I still want to write in R.L. Reid.