A Mad New World?

A Mad New World?

I’m sitting here in a coffee shop.  In Vienna. Austria.  Surrounded by a language I, mostly, don’t understand. But today, my international eavesdropping skills at their finest, the harsh German “C” that still sounds — to me–  like a fur ball coming up the back of your throat, is replaced often by words like “America,” “Obama”, “Romney” and……”Facebook.” (what?!)


Everyone from the four teenagers tattooing their friend’s arm, to the Austrian-style Jack Kerouac throw-back in the corner is talking about the U.S. presidential elections.


Yes, it’s the eve of the U.S. elections. And the world is seemingly waiting with baited breath for the outcome.


As Kerouac said himself, “The only people for me are the mad ones, mad to talk, mad to live, mad to be saved…”    You know the quote. I think it’s a pretty applicable quote right now, summing up the campaign. If Kerouac was alive today, my guess is he would have been in love with the mad state of America.  Because from here, people seem pretty mad.  Mad mad. Crazy mad. TYPEALLINCAPS, Mispeled, overpunctuated, SHARE THIS IF YOU LOVE FREEDOM MAD !!!  Suffice it to say, it seems to be an all-around madness.   Ironic isn’t it given Kerouac’s antagonistic attitude toward politics?  But, until I made that connection with Kerouac, I didn’t think there was any redeeming quality in the madness that has become America’s state of politics the last several years.


Maybe there is?


Maybe, tomorrow, when someone has been elected President (and after a reasonable period of time for the “other side” to blow up Facebook with their angry posts or make good on threats to move to Canada) maybe it’s possible for us to come together? Can an ALLCAPSNOSPACE mad evolve into an I’m still passionate, but reasonably civil and spell checked mad? It is America, after all.  Anything is possible, right? That is what we’ve been taught to believe.


Excepting excessive caps writers of course – those people will break the back of any nation – I would like to think, hope, wish, the rest of us may have a chance of coming together in all of our mad, crazy, goodness.


Mad to live, mad to be saved, mad to talk. Mad enough to change?


Then again Kerouac, poetic as he was, also was a drunkard. Maybe I need to get drunk to see the light. To embrace or at least not be bothered by the mad? To find the poetic justice and the real seed of truth?  Seems a bit simplistic.  But, it would make the road trip to recovery so much more tolerable. Whoever wins tonight, the country is in for a bit of a hangover anyway.


Drink or not. I do hope we’re mad enough to change (?)


Good night, America.


Patty McDonough Kennedy is an entrepreneur, consultant and speaker. She has lived and worked in a number of countries and helps organizations better connect with key stakeholders to improve awareness, engagement and sales.  She is a TEDx speaker and profiled in Entrepreneur, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. Contact her at pkennedy@kennedyspencer.net