Wait: Even in politics, 2010 was the year of zombies?
Sure, the hot new wonky tome "Zombie Economics" tells how "dead" economic theories walk among us to shape our paychecks, and sure, zombies lumber out of our TVs almost no matter what channel we click to, and sure, my fellow fantasy prose-slingers are flinging new novels about the undead at the dust of Stephen King and George Romero, but zombies as a metaphor for 2010's politics?
Vampires are a great political metaphor! Bloodsuckers. Say no more.
Not President Obama
, who rode into the post-election zombie -- I mean, "lame duck" -- Congress with hordes of RIPS (Ratified Important Political Speakers) proclaiming his shellacking, only to have him then ride out for Hawaii with a couple new notches carved on his gun and a gotchya grin.
Not Sarah Palin
, by golly, who's still gotchya wonderin' what the heck kind of creature she is as her cash registers ring and her poll numbers exist.
Not members of Congress who -- except for a few survivors -- either got re-elected in An Election That Meant Something Profound
or lost that job only to be miraculously reborn as escorts servicing our corridors of power for whoever has the right kind of dollars.
Are "they" -- us?
You can see where that scary idea comes from: We're all slouching through this gray December
with our hands thrust into our pockets, headed over the horizon called 2011, shuffling past 2010's stack of days. Or daze.
We walked through Wall Street's rubble
and what's been made afterward with wheelbarrows full of taxpayers dollars and the assurance that we had no other choice, the promise that things will get better, that the bulls & bears "on the street" and in the banks will play nice, will play fair, won't savage us -- again.
All those punched-out promises we walk past.
Been there, done that, adios 2010.
That year, we walked past the news of who died, whether it was someone we knew since second grade but they didn't merit even a single line of an obituary on some newspaper page blowing down the street, or whether they were some headline star of whom we could say, "Hey, I know who that is!" People like Lena Horne, Tony Curtis, Lynn Redgrave, J.D. Salinger, Lucille Clifton, Alex Chilton, or Dennis Hopper, the madman of movies that most American baby boomers define themselves against, from "Rebel Without a Cause" to "Giant" to "Easy Rider" to "Apocalypse Now" to "Hoosiers" to (gulp) "Blue Velvet."
And still we walked on through 2010.
But in 2011 we'll walk on -- with open eyes and scared hearts, because we are not zombies.
We refuse to be just the undead that some in politics wish we were. We refuse. We are the alive.
We're not a slouching horde. We may not agree on why or how we're doing, but what we all want is a better life. If we look around and really see this movie we're in, we'll know we're all in it together, and wherever we're going, we're the ones who've gotta get us there. And we know on that scrap of a newspaper blowing down a nowhere street, what's written on the other side of the obituaries page are the birth notices of children named Maria and grandchildren named Desmond.
Promises still light our eyes. Because we know some promises are kept. We know that our hands create politics' promises. And we know there is nothing more wondrously powerful than our own promise to be true.