Friday, May 7, 2010

the emotion of politics

Yesterday was another exhilarating day at the House of Representatives in Hartford, CT, bookending my experience since I first attended on opening day of session this year. And I have to say, the excitement level, dizzying pace of action, and pulse of this colorful alternate universe, were utterly palpable.

It's not surprising, given my personality, that what affected me most about the day was the emotion. There was the unexpected humor when session opened with superlatives being given out, such as "best dressed representative" and "best facial hair of a representative." There were the countless bittersweet moments as longstanding members took their final bows and voted on their final bills on their last day in session after decades in office. There was awe and admiration in moments of recognition, such as applauding the 99 year old man who has worked counting the ballots on every election of his working life...he will turn 100 next week (and still work the coming election).

Like anything else "human," yesterday was an experience of shared emotion. And although I was merely an observer in this strange world, I can liken it to watching a sports game: you don't have to be a lifetime fan or even watch the game from the beginning; you can simply find yourself sucked into the crowd by the contagious quality of the experience. You feel a vicarious sense of triumph, excitement, exhaustion, and feel part of something.

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