The ironic thing (Eggers fans take note) about Election Hysteria is that it's all for naught. The differences between the two candidates are negligible. (They even attended the same elite university.) They're both wealthy guys part of the Establishment, belonging to parties more similar than different (part of the same clubby DC world) and will follow the advised establishment course. The ability of any President to direct the will of the giant bureaucratic machine he's a front-man prop for is limited.
But people are led to believe by their radios and video screens that this is the most momentous event in history. They all believe it-- they can't all be wrong! (The behavior of crowds by LeBon.) The Repubs and Dems as they stampede over the cliff of hysteria together on this point are the same.
Everyone is undergoing nightmare scenarios. Sean Hannity broadcasts behind sandbags, wearing an army helmet, shouting frantically into the mic as through a megaphone. Caryn James sits trapped in her NY TIMES cubicle imagining streets filled with Bush storm troopers, while down the hall Paul Krugman shouts at the top of his lungs, "We're all going to die. We're all going to die!" like a passenger in the original "Airport." Philip Roth trashes Lindbergh. . . . Saddest of all is Nicholson Baker staring for hours on end at Bush poster with target on it while scribbling furiously. Get this man a straitjacket. Bush-- an ordinary greedy corrupt Texas pol-- has become more evil and capable than Hitler. His opponent, an ordinary American goof, has become a traitorous Communist.
While the technology we buy and laud (including what we're on here) eviscerates our privacy, the Frightened Ones worry they won't be able to check out a library book. But political writing is everywhere. One can't walk into a chain store without running into stacks of it, 99% garbage whatever the point-of-view. Even Nicholson Baker's hysterical tome is prominently sold. (I guess we haven't become a police state yet!)
The real conspiracy we're seeing is by book chains and publishing conglomerates to keep the populace as keyed-up wide-eyed and paranoid as coke-snorting rats-- and themselves in business in the process.
The day after the election will be a quiet aftermath. The confetti and insanity will drop. The stacks of books of desperate nonsense will find no more buyers-- they'll be carted away from the WalMart-like chains by the truckload, or put on sale at 90% off.
Hannity will discard his army helmet and come out of his bunker. (Ratings will drop.) The "journalists" at the TIMES will do also, leaving their building surprised to see New York not filled with black helicopters and army trucks; blinking as they experience the light of day for the first time in months.