Sunday Election Issues: 2 November 2008
Today the Future of the World Will be Decided

Full Up to Here With Politics

category_bug_politics.gif Here we are today at the end of the long, long road to the 2008 presidential election. No doubt the candidates - having been hopping on and off airplanes, exhorting crowds to vote for them, shaking thousands of hands, kissing babies, eating all manner of yucky food and sleeping in interchangeable hotel rooms for two years - are exhausted.

Well, so are we the people or, at least, this one. But you can't say this hasn't been the most interesting, exciting and surprising campaign of our lives.

I clearly remember groaning, on the day after the midterm Congressional election in November 2006, when someone on CNN said (I’m paraphrasing, but close), “And now the race for the presidency begins.” Wh-a-a-a-t? The 110th Congress hadn’t even been sworn in yet.

And it was true. This hasn’t been a two-year presidential campaign; it’s been a four-year, non-stop campaign first for 2006 and then for this one.

Are there still wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan? Where did the several million illegal immigrants who were so controversial last year go? Is the Arctic ice cap still melting? How many more signing statements negating duly passed legislation has President Bush saddled the country with this year? Are all the frogs still dying? How is New Orleans’ recovery going? And how is Senator Ted Kennedy? Is it flu season yet?

Difficult to know in a 24/7 campaign cycle occasionally interspersed with bad news from the economic front. In regard to the latter, The New York Times, in what should be named the Marie Antoinette Series, hasn’t let a week go by in which it did not report on the hardship billion- and millionaires are suffering. Here’s one of the most recent. Let them eat cupcakes, I say.

Now that caviar and Dom Perignon have been struck from their party menus, the rich are undoubtedly among the 85 percent who, in the most recent polls, believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Did you see the long lines of people waiting to vote early over the weekend? People in at least one city lined up starting at 6AM for a 10AM opening at a polling station. In some states, millions have already voted. One TV news show reported that by the time polls open Tuesday morning, one-third of Americans will have voted.

As the Buffalo Springfield sang a long time ago, “Something’s happening here.”

And something IS happening. I sense something new in the zeitgeist, a seriousness and urgency among the people. After eight years of the disastrous administration of George W. Bush that has bankrupted the country, killed thousands of our young people, decimated the military, transferred billions of dollars in wealth to corporations and one percent of the populace while impoverishing the middle class and gutting the Constitution, we are at a turning point.

It is apparent that a large percentage of the country, maybe even a majority, knows that now. And so does one candidate.

Barack Obama, if elected, cannot turn around the country in his first 100 days or even in 100 weeks. He cannot do anything he has promised without the cooperation of Congress – not a given even with a Democratic majority. He also won’t be able to do everything he has promised because Senator Joe Biden was right: something unexpected, perhaps more than one, will happen that will require immediate diversion of attention, time and, of course, money.

Money. Yes. One of the things neither candidate has told us is that we are in for a lot of economic pain and it won’t be easy. I’m pretty sure we have several years ahead of us that will require belt-tightening, doing without, several kinds of sacrifice and helping one another. And then there are all the other problems: wars, environment, energy, education, jobs, healthcare and the rest that our profligacy – corporate, governmental and individual – have saddled us with.

Although it won’t be pretty, we can get through it. Our parents and grandparents survived the Great Depression; so can we survive ours. And, anyway, what other choice do we have?

First, however, I need a rest from the endless campaign and I will be grateful, after tomorrow, to ignore the news for awhile, read a couple of trashy novels, recharge and then get back to the real business of this blog.

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mort Reichek is back with another memoir: Tales of the 903rd Signal Co. which was first published on his blog two years ago, and now with a surprising update.]

Comments

I hear you Ronni but I think I'm facing a bad case of withdrawal, and, if things don't go the way I hope, deep sadness, disappointment and anger. Maybe a couple of novels will help that, too. Thanks for all you great coverage of elder issues.

My poor wife. She's obsessed with politics; listens to talk radio while working, follows me around railing about this political issue or that, peppers our meal with amateur punditry. What will she do after the election?

I don't know, but *I* will be heaving a sigh of relief. Due to the seriousness of this election, I've been more politically engaged than I have ever been. But, like Ronni, I am more than ready to have a break!

Maybe we'll have a no-politics party where it's forbidden to even whisper the p-word. Catered by Pot-Luck Parties. Pabst Blue Ribbon and Three-Buck Chuck. Meat loaf and stringy chicken. Jello. You get the picture.

It'll sorta welcome in the coming hard years when our parties will consist of a shared box of crackers, one can of sardines and tap water -- if they haven't turned it off yet.

'Tired' seems to be the universal theme this morning on most of the blogs I visit. Four years ago, the feeling was 'resignation' so I suppose this is an improvement. I certainly hope so!

It's been a long time coming: the election of 2008. Yes, more voters then ever (if they vote); yes, a long time filled with pundits, polls, and pontificators. I don't believe the polls. Remember 2000 with Gore who lost by 521 votes (who says 1 vote doesn't count). Why did he lose and why in 2004 did Kerry lose by a landslide? Because the ultra right wing conservatives, quietly came out in force and voted. We need to put this election behind us and move forward, I too am tired of all this and all those political commercials. Please vote tomorrow and then we can all move on. AMEN

Thank God the end is in sight. We probably won't know who our president is until Wednesday morning so two more sleepless nights for me and then I can get back to having a life.

"Although it won’t be pretty, we can get through it." Working this week in one of the thousands of Obama campaign offices around the country, I am surrounded by posters that read "HOPE". Thank goodness, it looks like we are about to have a President who knows a people need "hope," as well as the satisfaction of our (various) self-interests.

Do please vote!

Regardless of the outcome, you can certainly be comforted in the knowledge that you gave your all to your candidate.

Meanwhile, hooray -- you'll be back with us soon in your normal eloquence on everyday concerns or as you so aptly said, "get back to the real business of this blog."

Amen to the junk novels! I went to the library on Saturday specifically so that I could check out some chick lit to sedate my obsessing brain.

Sunday, my sister and I went to the cemetery to plant some crocuses on our parents' graves. We walked around the tombstones, looking for the graves of my mother's sisters who died in infancy, in the 1910s. As we noted how the decades passed as we moved from one section to another, it was a testament to human vanity but it was also, I see now, a good thing in that it provides a powerful sense of perspective.

I'm having flashbacks to childhood, on a long motor trip and driving my parents nuts by repeating over and over again "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" That's how I feel right now.

Yes. I have to admit to some significant ambivalence about being involved at all in the political process based on the results of recent past elections. Almost despite my cynicism, I've felt myself pulled into this hopeful message of Barack Obama's this time around. And yet, I have that "waiting for the other shoe to drop" feeling. I somehow don't see the Republicans slinking off into the shadows in defeat. They're just too nasty - and too filled with hate and anger (although for the life of me, I don't understand their anger - they're the ones who got us into all of this, for pity sake!) to go down without a fight. But all my fears aside, I have to admit that I, too, am looking forward to an end to all this (which gets nastier and more hostile every day) and a little period of rest in preparation for whatever is coming our way. And yes, Mary - graveyards have always done wonders for MY perspective, as well. Nothing - good or bad - lasts forever.

I've been ignoring the news for a good while now. I simply cannot take all the hateful ads and invective. I will be so glad when it is over.

Me, too!
I thought that when I voted early, I'd put this behind me and stop listening to all of the rhetoric and disinformation. Didn't work.

At least, after Tuesday, perhaps we can say RIP to the baggage this campaign has carried for us all.

Love seeing cemeteries mentioned here. Joel & I sometimes take our lunch to the local one for a little peace & perspective. :)

Well yes. True.
But what will the talking heads talk about when the election is over?
Will they give Obama even the traditional 100 days leeway before the press starts tearing him to shreds?
Rush Limbaugh, for instance, reached his zenith in popularity during the Clinton years when he railed endlessly against the Democrats and the Clintons.

I couldn't agree more! I just need some breathing room, to regroup before we have to face another round of "God knows what" issues. I think our country is on the brink of a new day, but it's been a hell of a long ride to get here and I believe the whole country is exhausted. But I've already voted, I am excited and hopeful for the first time in eight years. Now, if someone could just find a way to send Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh to -- who cares, just out of the country! Deportation, maybe?

Ronni: think of this 4 year long run-up to the election as foreplay. The real politics will begin when the new president takes office and the Bush holdouts are rooted out of their cubbyholes in each cabinet level department.

It will take quite a while to do that, if it is done at all. That depends on who wins and how well they understand what Bush hath wrought.

Rich

I would like to link to Sr. Joan Chittister's comments on the election--the longevity and the expense of the process--as well as the difficulty in ferreting out real news on TV. I have followed her blog for some time and find she writes very wisely and is "right on". At one time I thought SHE should run for Prez.

www.ncrcafe.org/node/2243

It's been giving me a headache that will not die.

You are right -- it isn't going to be easy no matter who gets elected. We didn't get in this mess overnight and fixing it will require time, energy and patience. I give Biden bonus points for honesty on that.

I will also be glad when it's over and have been thinking what I will do if it goes against what I am hoping for an Obama win. I was thinking the same thing about needing things to take my mind off the results like maybe a trip to the beach for a few days. It is leaving me with a tight feeling in my stomach right now which I hope will be released after the results are in. It's been a very hard election cycle with so much ugliness stirred up that I hope we can all come together-- whichever way the outcome.

Voters in the L.A. area are standing in line five hours or so and in the rain to vote early since we have so few early voting locations.

We've been spared the ad bombardment those of you in states considered to be in contention have probably experienced.

Take a deep breath everyone, 'cause once the election is completed and resolved should there be any contentious matters, the real work will begin.

Riding herd on the actions of the House of Representatives and the Senate will be of utmost importance to insure our newly elected whoevers act as we desire. If we haven't learned anything else in these past political years, we should have learned we have to keep the pressure and monitoring on, or nothing will get done. I'd like to believe we could depend on those we've elected to actually do their jobs, but I'll believe it when I see it, and, meanwhile, think we should be prepared to provide the persistent nudges that may be necessary as we simultaneously lash in our belts.

Today there was a six hour wait to vote. It will probably be lighter tomorrow. I'll wait till G gets off work and vote with him.

I'm a nervous wreck about this! I won't be able to stand it if McCain/Palin win. I'll be working at the polls as a machine operator, so it will be a long day with long lines, I'm sure. Then I'll come home and be glued to the TV.

Thank you, Ronni, for your huge contribution to folks becoming informed voters. I've loved following the links over the past few months. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve: I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow!

I've been wondering about Teddy Kennedy, immigration and Iraq. It will be interesting to see what's been going on in the world during the campaign.

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