As the political season comes into full form, it is hard not to find disillusionment, much like an ant, under every leaf and stone. It is also hard to stay engaged, but it is important to find a way in. Between the half-truths, lies and advertisements, I sometimes wish I were one of the ants who seem to have much better functioning societies than our supposed peak of Western civilization. Well, maybe not, maybe I just wish for some ant-like efficiency.
Ant ethics aside, where do we go, where is our in? I’m going to my photographs, like the one above, possibly a carpenter ant (not so good with the ant identification!). It is way less than a perfect shot, most obviously in the focus which misses the front-facing mandible and side of the head. And yet, it works for me on a different plane; the components fall together nicely: the diagonal lilt of the leaf, the spread antenna’s tip just resting on the leaf, and the abdomen and hind legs blurred softly into the background. So usually, I would say find the beauty, but politics defy most aesthetic notions of that virtue. Instead, truth stands in for beauty, and here is where it gets tricky because the former tends to “be” as subjective as the latter in the political realm. I recommend starting with non-partisan fact-checking sites. Take low doses of the mainstream media outlets like Fox News and CNN. Forsake talk radio. Listen closely to the rhetoric of the candidates so you can hear their deceptions. And maybe most importantly don’t put all your ants in one nest: the Presidency is of course a most important office, but the issues go beyond one office and one party; there are other pressure points for the democratic citizen to focus on so that s/he may affect the governance of our country.