Many years ago I was dating someone with whom I did not see eye to eye on the topic of movies. Her taste in that area, to be blunt, was very bad. She favored the
chick flick romantic comedy aimed primarily at a female audience. After about a dozen terrible movies over the course of a year I was fairly upset. I felt like the choice of movies in relationships is a joint responsibility and the opposing party was letting down its end of the bargain. I decided it was time to send a message. "Look," I said, "I think it's only fair that I get to pick a movie for once."
With all the subtlety of an Oliver Stone film, I decided to make my point by picking the worst, most obviously ridiculous movie in theaters at the time. Which explains why I found myself in a theater watching Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor. The point was made but I was not happy.
The problem was twofold. First, in my spiteful effort to make a point I gave Michael Bay $20 and indirectly encouraged him to continue making movies. I am not proud of that. Second, and more importantly, it's not as though I administered this punishment from a safe distance. I had to sit in that theater too. About 90 seconds into the movie my mood shifted rapidly from "Ha ha! Revenge is mine!" to "OK, now I have to sit through Pearl Harbor." It's like four fucking hours long.
Revenge is never as rewarding as we expect it to be. We do something out of anger and more often than not we end up punishing ourselves in the long run. This anecdote has been stuck in my head for the past few months as the results of the anger-driven 2010 elections have played out.
I understand exactly why voters would vote for people like Paul LePage, John Kasich, Scott Walker, and so on to run their states. I understand why they would send Mark Kirk and Ron Johnson to the Senate. It makes a very clear statement: "Screw you, Democrats. We're mad at you and we'll vote for just about anyone else to send a message." There is little doubt that this strategy works – losing 55 House seats, several Governors' mansions, and six Senators is enough to make any political party snap to attention.
The problem is, it took about 30 seconds to make the point. And now they have to live with these ass clowns for four more years.
Scott Walker might not last much longer than a year. Paul "What Maine really needs is lax child labor laws, or perhaps none" LePage. Ohioans, who spent the 00s wildly swinging back and forth between the GOP and Democrats, have enjoyed just three months into Kasichnomics yet it feels like three years. In LePage's defense, though, he has created employment opportunities for unskilled workers. By hiring his daughter as a $41,000 clerical worker.
I don't live in a state with tendencies toward either liberalism or introspection, but I have to imagine that there are some Wisconsinites, Ohioans, Mainers, and so on who are feeling a bit of buyer's remorse at the moment. Of course there are thousands of voters who are perfectly happy with the decision they made and the way their new elected officials have performed. At the same time, I imagine there are quite a few who voted angry and are just now figuring out what they've gotten themselves into. Too bad they're stuck in the theater for a couple more years.