Monday, November 3, 2008

Election, Part 2

Politics is a dirty business. Anyone who has watched the soon-to-be-completed presidential campaign can attest to that. But what happens the day after Election Day? It's clear that the country is split pretty much down the middle between those who favor McCain and those who back Obama. Both sides have made efforts to demonize the other candidate. When the election is over, can the respective supporters of those candidates, if their team loses, get behind the victor and help him try to get the country out of its current mess, or will they try to sabotage that person's efforts? This time, I have my doubts about my fellow Americans.



Blogger Ellipses said...

I wonder how long the bad blood will linger... It was only 8 years ago that McCain was a violently unstable father of illegitimate black babies whose experience and service were not enough to beat a recovering alcoholic baseball team owner in the primaries... Now, of course, he is the stable hand of experience and virtue that can save this country from the leadership of a non-citizen muslim socialist who wants to bankrupt industry and open the doors to terrorists (some of whom are his friend)... Both of these men have my utmost respect simply because they haven't beaten anyone's ass yet...

November 3, 2008 at 12:28 PM  
Anonymous dg said...

I sense a real hatred among McCain supporters for Obama/Obama supporters and don’t believe the reverse is true. I too am a little worried about what happens after the election.

November 3, 2008 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

I've been around for many years. But, I don't recall the nation being as divided, with so much divisive rhetoric being spoken.

Does anybody else share this observation? Or, have I just become more interested and involved in recent years, now seeing what happens?

If the division is stronger than ever, when did it start? And, why?

November 3, 2008 at 8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Division has been coming for decades, but it has turned nasty over the last eight years. It's a combination of things -- the erosion of the American Dream, our unwillingness to admit that although the US is great nation, not everyone wants their country converted to democracy -- especially when we seem to be becoming increasingly inept at making democracy work in our own nation.

Those of us old enough to remember the Vietnam era understand how a war can pull a county apart. I think that only the lack of a military draft this time kept protests down. It's easy to become complacent when the professionals are the ones being killed and there's little chance that you will be next.

No matter who wins today, this country is in for a long, hard haul. And don't believe for a minute that just because McCain is a Vietnam vet who talks tough, some wacky group of radicals are going to think twice about doing something crazy to "test" him if he is president.

All we have to do is look back at Vietnam and at the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan to understand that things don't always go our way. Maybe if we hadn't been so caught up in laughing at the Russians when they got kicked out of Afghanistan by the "freedom fighters," we wouldn't be stuck there today.

But both parties share the blame for the woes that now face us. If the Democrats manage to take over control of both the White House and Congress, I fear that they will do no better than the Republicans. Perhaps they won't be as hamfisted, but I sincerely hope that they can avoid the urge to "pay back" the Republicans by forcing through legislation that isn't thought through.

Worse than anything, we have become an intolerant nation, seemingly incapable of compromise. I'm sick to death of those who think there is only one correct solution to any problem, only one correct political viewpoint, only one correct way to run a country. I'm tired of hearing that those on the crap end of the stick somehow deserve to be there by virtue of their own lack of effort.

It's too bad that our current economic woes won't hurt those who truly must be hurt before they see the need for change.

November 4, 2008 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

Anonymous at 3:13 p.m.

I agree with much of what you posted. A few comments in reply ...

Perhaps the divisions really started before the last eight years. In the late 90s, we started to hear the phrase "politics of personal destruction." The hard divisions seemed to start at high levels. The new age of quick communication (e.g. Internet) allowed so many more people to voice their opinion, and quickly. Many new voices were heard, credible or not, and leveled the playing field in terms of opinion statements. At this point, more people were on the pry bar, as it were, to wedge between factions.

I agree with the comment about other country's conversion to democracy. I think the US, as a whole, underestimated, or lacked understanding, the culture and mindsets of other nations. The democracy system as we know it was ill-fitted to be adapted to other places easily. We didn't understand why other nations didn't flock to the idea like we thought they should. The lack of acceptance created a division here, with those on either side of the issue (make democracy work at any cost vs. stay out of their lives).

I'm not as much in agreement about the second paragraph, being complacent and professionals doing the war. Those folks chose to sign up for duty, and the uniform message is they wanted to go. Perhaps your perspective on the draft has impacted the protests. With so much negative talk about Iraq, I am surprised about the lack of formal protests, like those of the Vietnam era. Are people in the 2008 era too lazy to protest?

I agree wholeheartedly about the "test" no matter who sits in the Oval Office. This is one statement Joe Biden made that was accurate for sure. 9/11 happened a few months after GWB was inagurated, and I will be surprised if something similar won't happen within the first year of a new Administration.

No question about our heads being too big for our britches with regard to war debacles. Clearly, we weren't as big as we thought. We have demonstrated to the world our inability to be the big bully, and there is no reason to think other nations haven't taken notice. They see us as more vulnerable now than eight years ago. Perhaps the success of Desert Storm jaded our perspective.

You are right about shaing the blame for difficulties. There is far too much partisanship in politics. When I hear stump speeches about eliminating the party lines, reaching across the aisle, working together, ... it is a joke. There has been too much "stick 'em in the back" politics in Washington for some kind of instant reversal. We are kidding ourselves if we think that one election cycle will "change Washington," whatever that means. The dymanics of working through legislation are far too deeply entrenched to think something will change overnight. Consider all the well-meaning freshmen PA legislators that were sent to Harrisburg the last time around. They all promised "we will effect change," when, in reality, the "old school" has such a stronghold on what happens, nothing substative changes. Oh yes, we now have a Hanah Montana rule, but who really cares. And, if it is this way in Harrisburg, how much deeper is the cesspool in Washington DC?

Compromise? See last paragraph.

I believe we will be hurt much more before a turnaround. People in the last couple of generations don't understand sacrifice. When we hear that "most of the nation is struggling," "woe is us in terms of financial conditions," etc. and then learn that Americans spent $5.7B for Halloween, ... we have much to learn before we come to the point of understanding hardship.

November 4, 2008 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

Anonymous and Roger, great comments. Thanks.

November 5, 2008 at 2:43 PM  

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