Fall is a noun that balances the foreboding, warning metallic bite of winter with the seasonal promise of autumn and its grand projects, freshly minted lists of goals and projects, and its exquisite and fleeting beauty. This year it is also election season, alternately bleak and funny, crisp like a new white shirt worn with a red power-tie, and ragged as the tears ripped across the conscience of the voting public.
The public: a term used to lump together everyone from anonymous YouTube ranters to the Hell’s Angels, MIT mathematicians, soccer moms and dairy farmers. Everyone. Them. Those people who may or may not vote for Mitt Romney and his pull yourself up by the bootstraps and pray for success America, or for Barack Obama and his give a lot to re-introduce civility – not to say civilization – to the culture, cosmopolitan America.
Fall is a verb, containing only four quickly pronounced letters, forgettable sounds that we hasten to forget, because the word they form connote so many potentially devastating events. Except when used in the sense of that delirious forgetfulness that comes with falling in love: infatuation. A falling away of sense, of care and of time. This kind of falling narrows the focus, stops time and accelerates the heart, and feels like ecstasy, or a close brush with death.
This fall, which vision will produce the infatuation with a successful democracy, the narrowing of focus, the even-keeled public effort needed to bring the bleak and wintry economy to heel? Who will we, the public, fall in love with – and who will love us best?