Monday, November 5, 2012

The Day After Tomorrow

Whatever happens tomorrow, I’m not going to be happy.  This election cycle seems even more rancorous than the last three (Bush-Gore 2000, Bush-Kerry 2004, and Obama-McCain 2008), and if we were still not a little fragile from the events of 9/11, I think either of the 2004 or the 2008 elections could have created permanent rifts in the country.  Who knows…maybe they have.

So here we are, less than twelve hours until the polls open.  Early voting, of course, has already begun, but the real deal starts tomorrow.  And when the dust settles tomorrow night—if we’re not faced with some sort of Florida 2000 scenario, I’m dreading what lies in front of us, regardless of who wins.
Because we’ll all lose.
If Barack Obama gets re-elected, a great deal of the country, which seems to already hate him, will smugly be thanking liberals for four more years of socialism.  And a great deal of the country will be smugly dismissing conservatives with the election as proof that we don’t want mean, rich white guys as the ruling class anymore.  Of course, there will be a large contingent of people who will have again elected what they perceive as the lesser of two evils—people who will be uneasy having chosen someone who didn’t live up to the promise of four years ago over someone who seems to not care about the half of the country that isn’t going to vote for him.  The devil you know, you know?
And if Mitt Romney gets elected, a great deal of the country will smugly be dismissing everyone who ever even considered voting for Obama as a socialist liberal, unpatriotic and deserving of banishment to the fringes while the adults go back to work, while a great deal of the country will be smugly thanking Rush and Ann and FOX for leading us back to Karl Rove-style douchebaggery.  Of course, there will be a large contingent of people who will have again elected what they perceive as the lesser of two evils—people who will be uneasy having chosen a guy with a weird religion they know nothing about, who flip-flops a lot (but at least is a Republican) over someone who, while under his administration, things got a little better but not as much as he had promised.  This guy has to do better than the last guy, right?
Doesn’t Wednesday sound like fun?
As for me, about twelve hours until the polls open, I’m still undecided.  And by that, I mean I’m undecided about whether I’m even going to vote—for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I live in Illinois, and my vote won’t matter because of the Electoral College.  Obama will win Illinois whether I vote for him or Romney, so what’s one more vote more or less for either guy here?  Second, I’ve sort of come up with a theory—and if everyone subscribed to it, it could lead to real change.  That theory is, if no one votes, neither of the lesser of two evils can take office.  George Carlin had a great observation in one of his acts—and I’m paraphrasing here:  'If you vote, and you elect incompetent, dishonest people and they get into office and screw everything up, YOU caused the problem, YOU voted them in.  I, who stayed home on election day, had NOTHING to do with the mess YOU created.'
Amen, brother. 
I voted for Barack Obama four years ago, and I think he’s done lots of good things.  But while his supporters look at his specific accomplishments, I look at the overall tone of his body of work, and I don’t like how he’s done some of it.  Remember, four years ago, he campaigned on Hope and Change.  I took that to mean a new attitude in America after the divisiveness of the Bush years—a breath of fresh air; a genuine effort to work together with different points of view and come to a consensus on what’s best for America, not just for a political party.   Mission Not Accomplished.  He rammed through health care reform on party lines, he continually blamed his predecessor for the state of things, and he has demonized those fortunate enough to earn a good living.  Sound like Change?  Not so much.
If Barack Obama gets re-elected, I’m afraid of what the next four years will bring.  I think he will view a re-election as a mandate to continue the same kind of divisive campaign against the rich that got him re-elected.  It will be four more years of class warfare.  I’m not going to call it socialism like those on the right will, but class warfare is what it is.  I mean, yeah, generally, I think rich people try to get out of paying taxes and that they’ll screw anyone to hoard an extra dollar, but that’s America.  That’s their right as capitalists.  But how is class warfare a good thing?  How is making them seem like villains going to move the country forward?  It doesn’t solve the fundamental problem that we spend more than we take in—a problem that, despite what the right would have you believe, is NOT limited to Democratic administrations.  Plus, Republicans hate Obama so much, in a second term they will vindictively block anything he wants to do even if it means the country suffers for it, thereby guaranteeing a Republican president in 2016. 
But if Mitt Romney gets elected, I’m equally afraid of what the next four years will bring.  He might improve the economy and create jobs, though I think a president’s influence on the economy doesn’t really amount to much.  But you heard what he said in his famous 47% remarks (which he has since stepped back from, ever so slightly—not that I buy this supposed remorse).  He basically has no respect for half the country.  How can we have a leader like that?  And how can we elect a leader whose morals might dictate that certain kinds of discrimination are just fine?  Is it better to have an improving economy but diminished civil and human rights?  If so, at best, it makes it the 1950’s again.  At worst, it makes us China.
What it boils down to is that we have a president who, in my view, who hasn’t lived up to his promise running against a challenger who doesn’t deserve the office, with the losing side hell-bent on screwing the winning side--and the American people along with it.  My advice is to buy plenty of stock in K-Y.
Doesn’t Wednesday sound like fun?

1 comment:

Shane Sexton said...

True dat. It's the Illinois elections that count. That's why I'm going tomorrow. My U.S. And IL congressional districts are big players this election since I am in one of Madigan's new specially created redistricted districts that he is pouring money into.