The depressed girlfriend who’s been repeatedly dumped and keeps answering her ex’s calls. The Bravos de Margarita fan who shows up to the stadium at the start of every season knowing full well that the playoffs are a far-off pipe dream. The opposition voter who decides, once again, to embark on an emotionally draining rollercoaster of hope and disappointment involved in taking on an autocratic regime in a deeply unfair election. Why do we fall for it again and again?
Someone once said that the definition of crazy is doing something over and over while expecting different results. Rationality dictates that when approaching any decision, one must identify the options, weigh out the pros and cons, and proceed with the one that best assures desired outcome.
Every time elections roll around in Venezuela, and I´m reminded of what I promised myself I would never do again (become a crazy person). Time and again I’m faced with the choice: Do I care? Do I want to care? Can I get away with not caring even though I know caring will affect my mental health? Can I please not care just this once?
But, deep down, I know the answer is no. I cared when Rosales ran, I cared when the constitution was amended, I REALLY cared this past October 7th. In the end, I always care.
This time around, anticipating elections under what already promised to be absurdly unfair conditions, I was determined to not let myself care. Other than voting, my plans were to remain rational, distant, and limit myself to cold analysis while I keep living my life. And the government’s wildly successful use of Chavez’s death in the media as a means to exterminate whatever shred of self-worth I had as an opposition voter…well, lets just say the word resignation is an understatement.
Two days ago I was grumbling about how I’m positive Maduro would win more votes than Chávez did. Just this morning, I was speaking to someone you may all know about how it would be unacceptable to become a cheerleader commentator during this campaign. Not me. Not this time. Ni de vaina.
And then Capriles spoke on TV. And made it a moral imperative to care. He laid out a case so powerful, so basic, so visceral, that it rendered it impossible for anyone who watched not to commit: Tenemos que luchar. We’ve gotta fight.
Maybe I’m just impressionable, but it really is a testament to Capriles’s leadership skills that he was able to switch off all the rational calculations I’d been making in a flash, and just when our country needs a dose of healthy, hopeful optimism.
And so, once more, I go to bed tonight knowing tomorrow I’ll wake up a crazy person again. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Its probably the sanest thing I can do.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.