"The government dole will rot your soul"

Just 46 more states, two conventions and nine more months till we get to go into the voting booths and mark the hanging chads -- or whatever technological wizardry awaits us in this next election. I still remember, with disconcerting fondness, a report many years ago of a voting machine in Chicago that managed to fall out of a window on election day. For that matter, having lived in Chicago for a while in the late 1970s, I occasionally wonder if, with no effort on my part, I have continued voting there ever since.

Anyway, while I have enormous respect for the democratic process, right now this campaign year looks interminable. Take your comfort where you find it.

In that spirit, I'm going to take a break tonight from the debates about the debates, the perfidies of multilateral institutions and the horrors of assorted tyrants who do indeed have designs on our general well-being. This is a note about music. A few months ago, my husband came across the music of Stan Rogers, a Canadian folk singer. Rogers died young, in 1983, in an airplane fire. But during his short span, he  wrote some terrific songs, most of them about the sea-faring life. All by himself, he's a reason to pay more attention to Canada (which has been looking better and better lately).

Stan Rogers  wrote a song -- OK, there's no getting away from politics -- which, if you feel a certain affinity for ideas about individual rights and responsibilities, is immensely cheering. The lyrics include the phrase above, "The government dole will rot your soul," and the toe-tapping line "I like being free and that makes me an idiot I suppose." The title is "The Idiot." It's a treat -- two minutes and 53 seconds well spent.