Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Never Too Late

I was thinking yesterday about a "Saturday Night Live" sketch from 1991 or '92. It was about a presidential primary debate, and the joke was that the ultimate outcome of the election was a foregone conclusion, so none of the primary candidates actually wanted to be nominated and incur the fate of facing certain defeat in the general election. It was a very funny sketch, even if one isn't familiar with the people involved.

The merits of the sketch aside, it now mainly serves as a historical curiosity, since it is predicated on beliefs that since proved incorrect. Those primary candidates needn't have been afraid after all, as George H.W. Bush ultimately proved vulnerable and in fact was defeated by Bill Clinton. The week of the show in which the sketch was presented, however, no one could have know that would happen. Bush looked very popular.

It was still very early in that election, but not as early as we are in the one to come. It's 2014, and we're already talking about the presidential election of 2016 when we haven't even had the midterm of this year yet. We talk about likely aspirants like Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush as if things will be frozen in place for the next two years. It's extremely possible that none of the names we bandy about today will be there then.

More than a lesson about national politics, this is a lesson about life. We are so anxious to jump to the destination that we forget how much there is in the journey not just to enjoy, but to affect the destination that we will reach in the end. While it may be true as they say that it's later than you think, it's also true that "too late" comes much later still. Only when they finish counting the ballots and name one person the president is it too late for anything else to happen, and that principle is true about so much else.

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