Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ah, Democracy


I've become increasingly numb to the U.S. elections, and the possible outcomes. As much as I would like to see Obama win a second term, part of me thinks, "Well, this is a Democracy. If more people disagree with me than agree, that's just the way the system works."

And then I just kind of shrug. Mentally.

Maybe I should feel more passionate and committed, but it's just too exhausting. I have to believe that even if Mitt Romney gets elected, the country won't implode. I think Romney, deep down, is relatively moderate, even as he plays to the right -- and as such, he's bound to be better than George W. Bush. Heck, if we can survive Bush, we can survive anyone -- right?

Dave and I have watched some of the debates (we turned off the second one halfway through), but I seem to have hit my limit. Dave asked the other day if I wanted to watch Rachel Maddow, and I surprised myself by saying, "I really don't!" And I like Rachel. I've just had it up to here with political banter.

As usual around election time, there's a lot of animosity out there. I've seen friends defriending other friends on Facebook, and getting into arguments that range from healthy to not-so-healthy. Remember when people didn't talk about who they voted for? As a child, I remember my mom declining to tell me how she voted -- she said voting was private.

What's really fascinating is how evenly divided the country is. We've seen this in past elections, too -- like in the legendary election of 2000. And yet American political candidates seem to lean more and more rightward -- even the Democrats. Which suggests that the country overall is drifting to the right. Which is what happens when people get scared.

Anyway, theorizing aside, I still think Democrats and Republicans generally have more in common than not. Women's health care may be the single issue that most clearly divides them. I think the best thing for all of us would be to stop talking about our differences, stop name-calling ("libtards") and arguing, go to the polls and accept that our favored candidate might lose.

What can you do? This is the danger inherent in a system built on following the will of the people. Those in the minority are relegated to becoming dissenters. If Obama loses, it certainly wouldn't be the first time in my life I've played that role.

(Photo: Portobello Road, last week.)

11 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

1. That blue house is amazing.
2. We barely survived Bush. Barely.
3. Yes. Let this be over soon.

Angella said...

I believe Obama will win. I have to. The alternative is to understand that the forces of hate, won. Because the deepest vein of opposition to this president is based not on his character or ability or record. it is based on his skin.

And I do agree with what Ms. Moon says about Bush. As for women's rights and right to life--I've always felt that to be an agenda the Republicans trot out to divide the country every election, and they will never act on it, because then it will cease to be a wedge issue for them.

You're very reasonable in this post. And if all does not go as I imagine it will, I will come back here for a map of how to move forward. But not yet. I'm not conceding yet.

The Bug said...

Lately I've been feeling like you - as I said to Mike the other day, really it doesn't matter if your presidential candidate wins if they don't have a cooperative congress. And you are so right about everyone moving toward the right - Obama is not NEARLY liberal enough for me, really. Ha!

Don't you think that gay rights issues are also mostly on party lines? It looks like that to me. I have gay republican friends (and actually I have a transgendered (not gay) friend who I think is a tea partier), but when it comes to actual equal rights it seems like Democrats are closer to doing the right thing. But maybe I'm wrong.

ellen abbott said...

I think it's way more than women's right to choose. For women it's about equality. Will we be allowed the same rights as men not just over whether or not we want abortion to be available but access to health care, equal pay, our chances in court anytime we are up against a male defendant, etc. it's about how women are viewed. But the differences are way more than the issues facing women. It's about caring for and providing for those parts of our society that are struggling, the working poor. It's about wanting to provide a good public education for everyone. Romney has said that he plans on balancing the budget by getting rid of the inessential programs. Republicans define those as all the social programs that help the needy (even SS which people pay into), public education, support of the arts, not to mention their draconian view of illegal immigrants. They want to deport adults that have been here since they were young children to countries they don't know and don't have any ties too and may not even speak the language. If it doesn't make a lot of money for a few, they are against it. Romney as president scares the shit out of me. If he gets a republican congress you can forget about equal civil rights towards anyone who isn't white and Christian and hetero. Welcome to the new theocracy. We barely survived Bush, we are barely on the road to recovery because it took four years to stop the free fall. Romney will plunge us right back into it. So yeah, there is no guarantee our guy will win and what makes me sad about that is what it says about what has become the national character of this nation. Greedy, bellicose, totally intolerant of anyone who does not share their beliefs. You're on your own.

Angella said...

I kinda love what Ellen said.

Steve Reed said...

Ms Moon: Your second point is true -- we did only barely survive Bush. But we did! And the American public pulled him back (sometimes, though unfortunately not on Iraq) when he went too far. Like with privatizing Social Security. Even with someone as scary as Bush in the White House, he didn't have free reign.

Angella: I'm not conceding. I guess I'm just trying to mentally prepare myself for any outcome. And it makes me really sad to see people ending friendships and issuing personal ultimatums over this election. I want us to keep some perspective. Life will go on! Your assertion about abortion is interesting -- and encouraging, in a backhanded kind of way!

Bug: Yeah, Congress is a huge factor. If we get a Republican Congress as well, particularly in both houses, that will pave the way for a lot of change in the wrong direction. And I think some of the frustration about Obama is based on exactly what you said -- he's NOT liberal enough for many of us. He doesn't have strong allies on the left because he's seen as too accommodating to the right. Poor guy just can't win! As for gay rights, that's a big wedge issue too -- perhaps as severe as abortion, but I think it has a greater chance of solving itself over time. Each successive generation is SO much more liberal on gay issues, and I'm not sure that's true with abortion.

Ellen: I completely and utterly agree with everything you've said. I think you're right on every point. I guess I'm just saying, after you've cast your vote, what more can you do? At some point you have to say, OK, this is the system. I have to respect it (with all its super-PACS and other flaws, admittedly) and work within it, and recognize that many, many people have alternate views. They may be based on greed or God or skin color or other similarly misguided (I think) rationales, but all those people are entitled to their vote just the same. As I said above, I just want us all to maintain perspective. We will not die. (I don't think.)

Angella: Yeah, me too. But I don't mean to be Mr. Appeasement! No matter what happens, we will all continue to support what we believe in any way we can, I'm sure.

Sharon said...

Wow, your post today struck a nerve with a lot of people but, I have to agree with you. I am so tired of the political ads and the Facebook postings. I think what bothers me the most is that we, the voters, don't really get to hear what a candidate really thinks or really wants to do because everything is so controlled so that the message won't tip any scales one way or the other. It gets exhausting just trying to read between the lines.

Reya Mellicker said...

I am so on a wavelength with you, Steve. Wouldn't watch the chest bumping they call debates if you held a gun to my head.

Am planning to post the day of the election about being a good sport. I plan to be a good sport no matter who wins. If Obama loses, I will be sad for our country, but very happy for him. That job sucks!

Lynne said...

Romney. Ugh. Bush all over again just when this country is starting to climb out of the hole he created.
But, like you said, we can only vote our choice and it's really out of our hands.

Sad.

Steve Reed said...

Sharon: The strict party control over message is very frustrating -- and of course that all comes back to money. The candidates need party money to run their races, so they can't afford to buck the party talking points, even if they feel otherwise.

Reya: I'm sure if Obama loses he'd go on to be a Jimmy Carter, an international figure who works for peace and justice, relatively unhobbled by politics. He'd be great in that role. I like your "good sport" vow. I feel the same way.

Lynne: I may be naive, but I don't think Romney would be Bush all over again. I think he'd be bad, but I don't think he'd be THAT bad.

Steve Reed said...

Also, I must add an important caveat to this post. I am willing to accept being in the minority if I am, in fact, legitimately in the minority. But I do have concerns about the way money skews the race, and the tactics that Republicans across the country have used to discourage likely Democrats from voting (i.e. voter ID laws) are APPALLING. If I lose in a fair game, that's one thing. Losing in a dirty game is something else.