Jealousy and fatalism

I've been reading War and Peace for what seems like an eternity. One of the things I've noticed (because it'd be impossible not to) is Tolstoy's insistence that "great men" of history haven't really controlled the course of history. He says it's the collective spirit of many that controls things. And while I think he may go a little overboard with his historic fatalism, it's interesting to view this year's presidential election in such a light. The more I think about it, the less power I think the president has. We can all blame Bush for the war in Iraq, sure. That's the exception. But this current financial crisis wasn't his doing. It was the collective will of Wall Street execs, legislators, and homeowners that did it.

Likewise, how much difference (apart from declaring another unilateral war on Iran) could the next president make? Aren't we, the collective masses, the real holders of power? Shouldn't we affect the zeitgeist to some degree? I think so. So while Obama is sliding away from his policy of change, while I don't trust McCain now that he's so obviously in the neocons' pocket, while Palin is leading by several lengths in the People Who Should Never Have Power Derby, I don't think the world will fall apart on November 5th. It's a nice feeling.

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