A plague on both your houses! I am sped.
Is he gone and hath nothing?
(Mercutio to Romeo in Romeo and Juliet Act 3. Sc. 1)
Mercutio’s curse of frustration and anguish, as he confronts his imminent death, is in some senses echoed by many across the globe as they confront seemingly unpalatable and opposing choices. Does one, on the one hand, follow the popularist and often vulgar authoritarian? Or on the other hand, does one prefer the candidate that emerges from a small group of venal, self-serving and dynastic democrats? For many, this ‘choice of houses’—you are either for me or against me—forces them to take an extreme position that seems both uncomfortable and deeply dissatisfying. It requires an almost impossible navigation of confused narratives, buttressed with dubious opinionation and apparent validation through news stories that are centred in completely different senses of reality. From time to time these contests come to a head in what we call democracy. The consequence is that one or the other set of ‘house’ narratives and personalities prevails, leaving many of those involved in the process contemplating a present-future that is ill at ease with their souls.
For more on this article see attached pdf