It’s over! Everyone take just a moment out of your day and thank God for the end of this long, grueling, and exhausting election year. Now remember, we have to do it all again in two years with midterms. Sigh.
I watched the hell out of this day and in reflection I realize that with everything that happened, nothing changed. I know, pessimism and cynicism are the easy way out, but old habits, ya know?
Our greatest right is the chance to choose. As we can see from the numbers, the popular vote needed every one of your votes. The last thing we needed was a repeat of 2000, so we can only rejoice in that. Florida’s stubbornness not withstanding, things went exactly as planned. Battleground states went to Obama for the most part, and Florida is just taking it’s time going that way. Had we ended up with a discrepancy between the electoral vote and popular, there would have been bloodshed and Congress would have eventually taken a hard look at going back to popular vote. It would make for a more exciting watch for me at least. We could treat election coverage like a PBS telethon. “Let’s go to the big board!”
With all the coverage, the talk, speculation, and early forecasting this was nothing to write home about. Everything followed the script. Sure, the voting public could have ad libbed a one man show with an empty chair, but instead they read the prepared speech. Monday? Split House and Senate with a democratic president. Wednesday? Split House and Senate with a democratic president. So what’s with all the cheering and fuss?
Each party had a chance to make a play for taking seats and the White House away from the other side, and nothing changed. We can rejoice, we can commiserate over a perceived loss, but it doesn’t matter. Guess what? This country voted its ass off, and all you got was exactly what you had yesterday.
According to polls, 53% of Americans feel that government is doing too much in their daily life. By the same token, polls indicate that at one point between 70-85% of the country disapproved of the job congress was doing. Yet, after all of the waiting in lines, all the hundreds of millions of dollars spent, we worked so hard to achieve the same as we’ve had before. What the hell do we really want?
This goes to show that this country is batshit crazy. This is the definition of insanity. We hate the way our team is performing and we didn’t change the roster. We were disgusted with the choices being made on the hill, and we removed few decision makers. We are tired of how things are going, and we are sticking with the same government. Same people, same result.
You heard the thinly veiled disgust in Romney’s voice. You heard Boehner practically roll his sleeves up and challenge Obama and democrats to a Queensberry Rules boxing match. We can also assume Nancy Pelosi is out as Minority Leader. Obama was inspiring in his speech, which is the same way I feel when he talks most of the time. We get it, you’re eloquent and your speechwriters are good.
What did we learn? I see the first openly gay woman elected to office. Gay rights are officially a non-issue (way to go Maine and others). It will stay on the ballot until it’s passed. We’re gonna make homophobes look stupid soon enough. Same thing with weed. It’s gonna be legal. It’s just a matter of time. I can only hope we wisely figure out a way to tax its sale for the good of our deficit. I also learned that democrats don’t seem to see the irony in chanting four more years! which was a publicity stunt during the Republican National Convention during Nixon’s reelection campaign.
Women voters were this year’s Latinos. Latinos were also this year’s Latinos. Romney’s “all white” campaign failed him. If you didn’t know, white people are officially reproducing at a lower rate than minorities (story here). I guess republicans are going to have to rethink their strategies in campaigning and their positions on key minority issues. You know, pander a little. I also learned that if this year’s Obama had to run against himself from 2008, he would have lost the popular vote to himself. I guess that’s what years of contentious governing will do.
With all the confetti, the speeches, the atrociously long voting lines (story here), and the stickers and buttons of proud voters, we only maintained the status quo. We did all of that, and all we did was not make a different choice. You can take that as you will, whether it be a feather in your cap, or a night you loathe having to live with for years to come, that’s your choice. We all reap the bounty and burden of this year’s harvest.
We have a closely, viciously divided country. Despite that hope Obama mentioned that nags inside you despite the obvious, we have a legislative government ready to dig in and do anything to prove a point. Budgets and debt ceiling votes will be pushed to the eleventh hour. A path to citizenship will be a veritable Rio Grande to ford. Education funding will be held hostage for growing the military budget. Pages will be dog-eared, there will be pork barrel spending, and everyone will have a hand out waiting for grease to even cast a vote let alone concede a position. If you thought it was bad before, this election has only shown us with glaringly honest numbers where we stand. We are divided as ever, and our government will do its best to do little for us. Some will call this a political civil war, but it’s just a Mexican standoff. Either way, we should all be nervous and maybe ask what went wrong (whether your horse won or not).