As I told a blog friend by email early yesterday morning, I'm going to be tense until the winner of the presidential race is known.
This is the most important election in our lifetimes with clear divide between the candidates. Although the next four years will be difficult times no matter who is president, the consequences of living in a country (and world) led by John McCain and Sarah Palin worry me pretty much all day every day. To the detriment of everything else I should be doing, I spend literally hours each day reading political news and analysis all over the web punctuated with bouts of staring into space while contemplating more issues than any one person can reasonably track without a lot of smart advisers.
Is anything right with this country? I don’t think so.
That Senator Obama is ahead in the polls gives me no solace. He is leading, I believe, because the economic crisis of the past few weeks finally focused voters’ attention on the differences between the two candidates and Obama has been solidly grounded throughout, while Senator McCain leaps from stunt to Plan A to Plan B and back so frequently a voter could get whiplash trying to make sense of him.
Meanwhile, Governor Palin seems to relish her role of pit bull, stringing together meaningless Republican slogans without a glimmer of thought behind those pretty doe eyes.
But I disagree with the pundits who say it's all over for McCain. I worry Obama's lead is tentative and superficial. That if McCain calms down, if his campaign controls Palin better and if McCain is only almost coherent in the debate tonight, the election could swing his way.
And there is that other worry: I saw a white woman interviewed on a cable news channel saying, “I won’t vote for Obama because his skin color is not the same as mine.” I fear too many Americans agree with her. I desperately hope I am wrong.
Although it is issues I care about most, on the subject of inexperience, which the Republicans have beaten Senator Obama with for months, I think the proof of his executive capabilities is obvious in the management of his campaign over the past two years. Unlike the McCain's, there have been no announcements made and later withdrawn, no wild policy swings, no contradictions among surrogates, no melodramatic, prima donna stunts - just a steady building of well-developed ideas and proposals.
I feel confident with Senator Obama as president that he won’t rush off half-cocked when surprise events , domestic and international (and they will happen), present themselves. Plus, he is wise enough to not make promises he cannot keep – like balancing the federal budget by the end of a first term.
Some Maine communities allow anyone to vote by absentee ballot whether they are absent at the moment or not. Since there is nothing that can change my mind in the next three weeks, I voted yesterday and mailed off my ballot.
I thought it might release the tension I feel, but now I know that’s not going to happen until 4, or maybe 5 November when the votes in this long presidential campaign are finally counted.
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Morgana Sage gives us a lamentation for Emily Redwood 8/4/00 – 9/30/08.]