I’m having nightmares about the polling booth. My greatest fear? Choosing a candidateby Edward Docx / April 25, 2010 / Leave a comment
Published in May 2010 issue of Prospect Magazine
I am suffering from a terrible condition: acute pre-election stress trauma, or Pest. Where once I floated, now I sink. The only other documented cases occurred in 1974, my psychoanalyst tells me, when parliament was last hung. In those days, it was called ballot anxiety disorder: Bad.
“Tell me about your mother,” my psychoanalyst murmurs. I try to breathe. “My mother was very strict, doctor. She said that whatever happens I must always vote. She said that it is the one absolute duty in a democracy. She said millions died for this. She said those who do not vote must live in exile or silence.”
“And how does that make you feel, Ed?” he asks. “I feel a tremendous sense of my own importance.” “Go on.” “Everything—the whole election—it’s all about me.” He makes a steeple with his fingers. “How so?”
“Come on, doctor, isn’t it obvious? Because I’m the one that they’re all talking to—it’s me, me, me.” I raise myself from the mauve Persian rug. “I am the only constituency that matters. I am the floating voter. I am the key marginal. I am the undecided. I am the swing. In these hands… the fate of the nation.”