I’m not quite sure what to talk about since for the last two and a half years, everything we’ve said or done or thought about has been through the window of Tuesday’s election. It seems rather anti-climatic that when the sun came up this morning it was in the usual way, rather than, say, looking like one of those resurrection graphics on those tracts handed out by the homeless guy outside the Smithsonian Metro station, only with the visage of Jesus replaced by that of Barack Obama.
Perhaps you are celebrating today. Or, perhaps, you are annoyed. I certainly hope, whether you backed the winner or loser, you are being gracious about the outcome. I will almost sell my first-born to purchase a one-way ticket for the first moron who sneers about moving to Canada because his candidate lost.
It is, perhaps, an old-fashioned idea, but I’ve always had a certain amount of respect for the office of the presidency, no matter who occupies it. Granted, over the centuries we’ve had our share of . . . um. . .characters. And, believe me, I’ve been a victim of presidential policy more times than I’ve benefitted.
But I am in awe of the process and its relatively peaceful outcome. I am in awe of the fact that there are two people willing to risk the biggest, most public of all losses and always do so with class and dignity. For that reason, I can’t hate a president (though I can pray to a merciful God for deliverance from incompetence).
I always feel patriotic when I vote. We vote right down the street in this little tiny village where everyone knows everyone. But I’ve voted in larger precincts and it’s always the same: a certain solidarity among Democrats, Republicans or Independents (and around here we know who is whom); a sense that this is our country at its best, hanging chads and all.
What I do hate to see is the steady growth of lawyers getting involved in the process, even before the election begins. I have visions of my homey, community-run election atmosphere turning into an obstacle course of bureaucratic hoop-jumping requiring the sort of lengthy certification and approval processes that cause volunteers to get annoyed and quit, resulting in local jurisdictions having to hire election officials that, in the end, I’ll have to pay for.
Actually, I am sort of keeping watch out my window because I’m pretty sure in the desperate last days before the election either Obama or John McCain promised to come over and mow my lawn. It was promised somewhere between assuring a cancer cure by 2011 and healthcare coverage for each and every citizen, funded by newly-philanthropic pharmaceutical companies, by next year. I’m pretty sure that’s what I heard. The visions of a rosy future were coming fast and furious when the election was coming down to the wire.
I always enjoy election day, but I’m downright amazed by the day after. Things go back to normal and normal is good. Normal is stable. Normal is safe. Everyone talks about wanting the election to be “exciting.” You want exciting? Take up an extreme sport or cover an election in a tiny South American country. I want my government to run as smoothly and quietly as possible. It’s something we take for granted, a governmental transition without gunfire and no more bad tidings than between any other friendly adversaries.
Perhaps I’ve come to terms about what it means to be in the segment of the population that knows whatever programs are implemented by whoever is elected, we’ll be paying for it; we don’t make enough to take advantage of any serious tax write-offs; and we make too much to take advantage of any services offered. So it’s the same-old, same-old here in the crock-pot and mini-van belt, though lately the belt has gotten considerably tighter.
If I don’t sound particularly happy or sad about the election outcome, it’s because I have faith in the basic structure of our government (Dirtman points out that McCain’s view of the U.S. economy in the same light was the very moment his campaign “jumped the shark,” so to speak.).
As much as Obama backers are convinced that Jan. 20 will be some sort of exorcism of Washington, D.C., the same system of checks and balances will be in place to make sure that even the most possessed Republican will have a tiny say in what goes on. And, if that bothers you, I’ve got still another kid I can sell to buy you a one-way ticket elsewhere.