Two months from today – Wednesday, November 7 – we Americans will wake up and learn what we decided on November 6. I use the word “decide” deliberately. The word “decide” differs from “choice” in its finality. Decide is directly related to words like suicide, homicide, etc.*
As I reflect back over 50 years of eligibility to vote – I always vote – I see this as the most important election of my life. It is an election with huge long term consequences, especially for the people who think that buying the Republican siren song will serve them well.
I enthusiastically support President Obama for these reasons:
- President Obama inherited the disastrous consequences of, particularly, 2001-2009 policies, and took on the task of getting the nation back on an even keel. He has succeeded beyond all odds. Against all odds, he advocated working together – negotiating and compromise. This was a major strength, in my opinion, even though some of his friends thought he’d sold out, and his enemies considered compromise a weakness to be exploited.
- From day one his Republican adversaries made their number one objective making Obama fail. They announced this publicly and from the very beginning, they played it out in all of the ways they could muster in both U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate and Republican-controlled state-houses and legislatures. They have tried to disappear the consequences of their being in control of the government in the disastrous years of the first decade of the 21st century.
- The Republicans failed in their efforts to make President Obama fail. Today, we are not where we’d like to be, but by any measure we’re far better off than we were four years ago when we were on the verge of collapse. By most any measure we remain an exceedingly wealthy country. There seems to have been one overriding objective of Obama’s enemies since he took office: to keep unemployment above 8%. They considered this is a winning number.
- Unfortunately, people’s memories are very short; and we tend to be short-sighted. I am very concerned by the combination of very big money and the absolute lack of honesty in the media advertising onslaught to come in the next two months. This is the first election where, it appears, there is almost no interest in fact-checking, and lying is expected and accepted. We are seeing the reality of Newspeak (George Orwell’s 1984). Both sides manipulate information, but the Republican propaganda machine has been perfected, is far worse, and is far better financed than the Democrats. It is a dangerous development.
A little history:
Four years ago, September, 2008, no one, including the then-George W. Bush administration, could deny that our United States was on the verge of financial and industrial and real estate collapse. The reckless policies of the 2000s were coming home to roost.
As a nation we had lived on a credit card, where debt didn’t matter. As many know, life on a credit card is easy and fun…until the bill comes due. The people who gave us the credit card in the first place are now blaming Obama for the consequences.
2008 – four years ago – was a frightening time. For the first and only time ever, in 2008, I took steps to try to get my small 401-k account insured against the free-fall then occurring in almost the entire Financial and Big Business sector.
Here’s my graphic of who has run things in Washington since 1977: President, Congress, Senate (each has their roles, as set by the Constitution of our country); and their own internal rules: Congress 1977-2011001. I think this division of powers (and responsibilities) is important to understand.
We are the ultimate ‘politicians’, and we are reflected by whom we elect to office. Before you judge the current situation as “their” or “his” fault, consider reflecting on the recent past preceding 2009 and your personal role in it.
Minnesota State Fair Sep 1, 2012
Minnesota State Fair Sep 1, 2012
Then there’s the matter of political parties and the other offices.
I’ve always been Democrat (DFL, Democratic-Farmer-Labor), or at least so inclined. I’ve always felt that the Democratic Party has most in common with the ordinary people of this country, people like myself, or what is called the 99%. This year more than ever is a year to vote Democratic…unless you’re very wealthy and have only an interest in greater wealth.
But it isn’t that simple. My political hero and in a direct way mentor was former Republican Governor of Minnesota Elmer L. Andersen. I have had a great deal of respect for other old-line Republican lawmakers.
Elmer L. passed on eight years ago, but were he still alive he would have suffered the fate of moderate Republican leaders by being purged out of the Republican party, or at least made irrelevant by a more radical right wing.
Today’s Republican Party is a radical version of Republicanism, and until the moderates regain some control of the party activities, it is not a party to be trusted.
In many ways, todays Democratic Party resembles the old moderate Republican structure. Progressives don’t like to hear this, but I think I’m pretty accurate. The Democrats represent the center.
Those who vote Republican just because they’ve always voted Republican are making a huge mistake, in my opinion.
Those inclined to vote for certain losers or solely on their own specific single issue(s) just to make some point or stay true to their own ideals are making a mistake. Third parties as often hurt the so-called “lesser of two evils” than helping the third parties cause. In a diverse society, single pure ideological issues are easy to promise and almost impossible to attain.
On November 6, vote, and vote well informed.
* – NOTE: There is an “end-game” referendum aspect to this particular election. For many years an oft and publicly stated goal of powerful anti-tax leader Grover Norquist and his acolytes has been to shrink the size of government (at least the aspects of government he doesn’t like) till it can be “drowned in a bathtub”. How to do this? Very simple (it’s already been done). Make the government seem unwieldy and dysfunctional and unresponsive, de-fund it (the big tax cuts of 2003), make the citizens angry at it because they can’t get services they need, and they see the gridlock in Congress…and use this frustration to take over that very government. This strategy is very close to paying off for Norquist and his ilk. If he succeeds it will be a day most of those voting for it will come to regret…but by then it will be too late. Sure, this is speculation, but it is informed speculation from watching the political propaganda process for over 40 years.
UPDATE 10:30 p.m. CDT September 5, 2012: Watch or read President Clinton’s address if you can. Link is here. This is a long speech, very on point.
Useful information resources if you are interested: Republicans should stop talking about the Moocher Class from Bloomberg News here and Economics for Voters here.