“I don’t see any vision,” Bernard said over the top of his newspaper.
“What?” I asked.
“No vision,” Bernard repeated obstinately. “I can’t see it.”
“Bernard,” I sighed, “you’re not making any sense. Eat your bagel. It'll raise your blood sugar.”
“These candidates,” Bernard says, thrusting his bony finger at the paper. “These presidential candidates don’t offer me a vision of anything. They’re all auditioning to be repairmen.”
“They have visions,” I told him. “The Republicans want a world with only reasonable and peaceful Muslims.”
“Ha!” exploded Bernard. “They think that they’re the only people on this planet entitled to violence? The only ones who can thumb their nose at science? Those Republicans!” he snorted. “They’re all monopolists at heart.”
“But it’s a vision,” I persisted.
“It’s not a vision. It’s a fix. They want the world the way they thought it was in the 70’s or 80’s, back when they had hair. They’re reactionary, not visionary.”
“What about the Democrats?” I said. “They want out of Iraq and they want universal healthcare.”
“Out of Iraq,” he said contemptuously. “That’s not a vision. They’re just fixing something that's broken. It’s a repair job.”
“Okay,” I said, now completely distracted from my scone, “but you have to admit that universal health care is visionary.”
“It’s not a vision if you tell your wife she should look more like your neighbor. That’s just imitation. They’re looking at every other developed nation and saying, ‘Why can’t we be like that?’ They’re not creating anything. They’re just trying to fix things, add what's missing.”
“So do you think that Bush has a vision?”
“Sure,” said Bernard as he sipped his coffee. “Bush’s vision for Iraq is that it’ll someday be a democracy, like Switzerland but without skiing.”
“Don’t be a schmuck! Bush has hallucinations – not vision,” Bernard said. “Vision is painting a picture of a new possibility. Who’s doing that?”
“Like an education system that creates human beings and not test takers! Like an economy that works with our environment like mulch works with your garden. Like every government selling off its defense equipment and consolidating the bombs and tanks into a central, global rental facility. Like a government that is its own profit center – a government that is financed without taxing income or investments. Like me dancing with this bad hip.”
“That would be a vision alright,” I said, returning to my scone, trying to find my place on the comics page.