Friday, July 13, 2007

Political Theater of the Absurd

The tragic comedy in Washington is beginning to look like an Absurdist revival. George Bush is “Waiting for Godot” while Congress is doing “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”

Godot is Gen. Petraeus and, as in Beckett’s play, he is unlikely to appear, at least not in the sense the President is expecting. In September, when Petraeus comes on stage, the best Bush can hope for is an ambiguous soliloquy that, as the General has already indicated, measures progress in terms of years, even decades.

Meanwhile, Congress wrestles with a script of declarations, non-sequiturs, evasions and pauses that seek the certainty of withdrawal but only demonstrate the futility of language.

In a prolonged final act of bitter, chaotic conflict, the actors keep milling around the stage, striking poses and making their speeches but is anyone listening?

What’s left of the audience, even those who applauded the first act, is heading for the exits while the carnage continues offstage.

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