In part,* this election reinforced the way in which people wish to fictionalize the world to fit their own beliefs. It represents a profound failure of the imagination. I say "failure" rather than "lack" because there are no bounds to an imagination that can still believe in a link between al Qaida and Saddam Hussein, that can believe we are "winning" the "war" on "terrorism," that can believe gay marriage could in any way hurt their own relationships, that can believe the current administration consists of a bunch of hardworkin', straight-talkin' men of the people...and the list goes on.
Of course, the current administration has fed off of and just plain fed this disconnect from reality. It has re-discovered and enhanced to the nth degree the idea of giving the people a fiction they can buy into and that in some ways, even if bred of fear, comforts them.
There are two essential elements to good fiction. A good imagination, and the ability to tie that imagination to some element of the real world in such a way that we care about the fiction we read as if it were part of the real world.
Politics today takes advantage of the fact that many of us in America apparently have what I would call deformed imaginations, in that they are not tied to the real world or real people in any meaningful way. In a sense, what is happening is that a bunch of bad writers are writing an ugly reality for this country, using the worst attributes of our imaginations to do so. A high capacity for belief, a high capacity for imagining, is not at issue. But the ability to dream well, to see beyond rhetoric and deception into the real world, where facts exist with cold, sharp edges...this ability has been dulled in some of us, for whatever reason. And as a result, the ability to reach toward some kind of truth has also been dulled.
(Evil Monkey: "So everybody who voted for Bush is an idiot?" Jeff: "No. But everybody who voted for Bush based on a bad fiction rather than reality is an idiot. Those who had the facts and voted for Bush anyway...at least they voted from knowledge rather than a deformed imagination.")
* Please note, I said "in part".