election day

The Anxious Electorate

In case you haven’t heard, are an alien, or have been living under a rock, today is Election Day in the United States, and we are in the process of electing the next President of the United States.  Many of us hope the next President will be the current President which is sort of a Schrodinger’s Cat equation.

I think we all need a Xanax or Valium or a potent potable.  I am extremely anxious about the outcome of what is projected to be a very close election and based on what I’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter, many feel the same way.  What I don’t know is whether that anxiety is universal; my fellow Obama supporters are admittedly anxious, but I admit that it doesn’t appear that I follow many vocal Romney supporters or if I do, they are staying quiet or I am ignoring them.  Probably a mix of both.

I am nervous.  Four years ago, I watched triumphantly and emotionally as Barack Obama was elected President.  We were still in the first trimester with Daniel, and I felt that momentous things on top of momentous things were happening.  It was a brave new world.  That was probably a foolish, hyperbolic thought, considering how our government works and the reality of getting anything done in this country. But it seemed like old wounds could be healed and the potential for greatness was there.

I’m not saying the Obama has been a perfect leader.  Far from it.  I freely admit that he squandered opportunities and truthfully, Hillary Clinton was our candidate of choice.  But I believe in the Democratic party, and I believe that Obama has the intelligence and ability to make real change in Washington, change that this country desperately needs.

I write that and then I smile sadly because I fear the reality is that it won’t really make a difference which candidate is elected.  Obama will be obstructed by politicians whose primary goal is to make him fail (appalling) while Romney will be forced closer to the center than his party will like by Democrats.  More cynically, I wonder if any of our leaders or our system of government is prepared to make the revolutionary, incredibly difficult decisions we need made for a sustainable future.

Despite those cynical, dark thoughts, it is Election Day.  For a few more hours, we can sit on the edge of our seats, watching the will of the people revealed.  That is worth acknowledging and honoring and regardless of which candidate is elected, publicly I will respect him as the holder of the greatest office in the world.  I make no promises about what I say behind closed doors 😉

Election Day anxiety manifests itself in interesting ways.  When Jimmy was getting Daniel’s room ready tonight, he felt compelled to have the following conversation with the stuffed animals in Daniel’s room:

Jimmy: Well, cuddlies.  Today is an important day.  Today is Election Day.  I just wanted you all to know that we voted for cuddly rights today, and in our home, we support that any cuddly has the right to cuddle any other cuddly he, she or it wants.

Cuddlies: Silence.

OK.  At least the cuddlies know where they stand in our house.

Happy Election Day.  Let us all inhale and exhale, being thankful this day comes only once every four years.

Voting: My Sermon

Disclaimer:  I get a little political and ranty. 

Election 2012

I voted!

Today was the last day of early voting in NC, and I stood in line for an hour to cast my vote for Romney/Ryan.

Kidding.

It’s probably not much of a secret that I’m liberal and as likely to vote for Romney/Ryan as I am to use a comma splice in a sentence.  I promise this isn’t going to be an extremely partisan post.  Maybe.

I’ll be very happy when this election is over.  Yes, I am liberal and I vote the Democratic ticket exclusively, but truly?  I don’t think this election will change much.  I believe that Romney/Ryan could mean very terrifying changes for women in terms of status and reproductive rights, but I doubt they could get them passed.  Rhetoric on the campaign trail is very different from actually getting bills passed and laws changed.

I’m frustrated with the government like pretty much everyone regardless of party affiliation. Everything seems broken in Washington, and I really don’t think the election of Romney or Obama will do much to change that.  I’m not being anarchist or nihilist; I believe in government.  I believe in the need for a strong central government.  Hell, I’m willing to pay more taxes to ensure we have essential services.

I think what I’m mourning is the dearth of common sense and consideration of reality. It’s one thing to say government is too big and let’s cut food stamps, but what are you going to say to your constituent who relies on food stamps because her job doesn’t pay her enough to support her family?  Are you really going to tell her it’s her fault for not getting a better job?  Or call her lazy? Really??? Let’s acknowledge the fact that not everyone can have a high-paying job.  Someone has to do the jobs many deem beneath them.  Someone has to decide to teach public school instead of pursuing a private sector job that would likely pay more.  And your reaction is to punish them by implying they don’t work hard enough?  Or they should have made better choices?

Where is the esprit des corps in this country? Americans have always been individualists, but our history is full of major examples of where we pulled together to do the right thing.  I don’t see that any longer.  Today it is too much about me, me, me and fuck you if you don’t like it.  I don’t think that’s a sustainable mindset for a nation.

There’s a lot about the current election that concerns me.  Why are reproductive rights a huge issue in 2012?  Why are women still paid less than men by default?  Why are we still debating the legality of same-sex marriage in terms of civil unions? Why in the world is the definition of rape up for debate? Why do candidates continue to posit that the government should be run like a business when if that were the case, many, many essential programs – probably more than many realize – would no longer exist.

And the tone.  Can’t forget the tone.  I believe that the office of President deserves respect.  Whether you like the incumbent or not, there is a certain amount of respect accorded.  I didn’t like George W. Bush, but he was our President, and he deserved my respect.  The allegations and comments about President Obama have been outrageous and unbelievable.  It’s hard for me not to believe that they stem from racism.  The Republican party knows better, and I condemn them for appealing to their party’s basest instincts in order to get ahead.  It is deplorable, and I cannot state that emphatically enough.  DEPLORABLE.  Character assassination.  Don’t like President Obama?  Fine.  Decide your vote based on his record and the realities of legislating with a Congress determined to obstruct every move (I swear, they would have contradicted him if he said the sky was blue).  But don’t decide your vote because of stupid shit allegations that he wasn’t born in this country, didn’t deserve admission to Harvard, his race, etc.  That just makes us all look stupid, and I believe we are better than that.

A little over 250 years ago, we did something pretty remarkable.  We told our colonial overlords to go fuck themselves and backed it up militarily.  We created a new nation based on principles of equality and fairness.  If the same challenge presented itself today, I wonder what the outcome would be.  Would we be able to get it together to fight a common foe or would ideological differences tear us apart?

Election day is in 3 days.  Please, go vote.  Exercise your hard-won right.  But think.  Please think hard about who you are voting for and why.   Please base it on reason and research.  It’s the future of our nation you are voting for, and that nation includes everyone, not just those in your party.