On countless occasions, I have seen people showing their disgust about politics. "All are of the same breed", they say about politicians. Politics is an ugly word for them, being "the domain of corporate sleazeballs, greedy officials and lazy bureaucrats". What I have noticed is that the very same people have their own political prejudices, unreasonable loyalties, and more often than not, they do support greedy officials and lazy bureaucrats. Those who are openly 'political' are willing to discuss and debate on what they think, whereas these 'apolitical cynics' fanatically cling to their beliefs.
A few months back, I overheard a conversation between two co-passengers in a city bus. One was a political guy, in his fifties, slightly disabled with his underarm crutches, who looked as though he had infinite time with him. The apolitical one sitting opposite to him was also in his fifties, broad forehead, aquiline nose, penetrating gaze, the very soul of rectitude and goodness (too much of Llosa there!). The political one badly wanted to start a conversation. He asked the apolitical one: "So what's up with elections?". The apolitical one replied: "I do not understand them. Better not to pay any attention." The political guy went ahead, ignoring this show of disinterest, and mentioned Kerry's name at some point. This apparently provoked the apolitical guy.
"Pigs will fly", quipped he, "if Kerry generates the millions of jobs he promises now." According to him, Kerry is "wrong on taxes, wrong on defense". (He uttered the words as though he had patented those.) "And look, this is a guy who said he voted for that bill before voting against it". (What an effect these TV ads have! I'm happy that the Supreme Court of India banned election ads on the cable.) In the same breath, he continued: "They want to repeat Mogadishu in Fallujah. This time it just will not work." I was struck by the sheer power of his logic. In order to win the elections, Kerry instigated the Fallujah "insurgents"!
The political guy, it turned out, was not with Bush nor with Kerry. He wanted things to improve in his country, and he thinks everybody should take an interest in political matters. More importantly, he thought Bush and Kerry are two sides of the same coin. I guess that was wisdom on his part.