only 2 more weeks

In less than 2 weeks, Americans will cast their ballots, and, after lots of drama over the count of both the electoral college AND the popular vote, the man who serves as US president for the next 4 years will have been decided. Like the Christmas fatigue that strikes me late in the year every year when I have been “BUY MORE NOWed” to near death, I can’t wait for the election thing to be over.

I’ve already written (on this very blog!) that I think it will be Obama (and I think that’s still true). There’s been a lot of drama in the past couple weeks, especially over Romney’s performance in the debates, but I think the vast number of voters don’t pay attention to debates or issues[1]or parties or platforms[2]. I suspect the vast majority just vote for the person they like most who happens to be in the party they aspire to identify with, with some vague idea that voting for a rich man will make everyone richer or voting for a black man will make other people less racist. These seem like naive reasons to choose a president, but I think people have the right to choose presidents the way they make any other choice in their lives — I might think it is short sighted to choose Geico over another insurance company because you like the gecko with the Australian accent on their commercials, but I can’t deny that it is the consumer’s right to pick Geico because of the gecko. Similarly, if Romney’s Mormonism or his helmet-hair or his wife’s horses makes him seem like a better candidate than Obama’s Christianity or his close-cut hair or Bo the dog, then go for it. It is your right as an American to make a decision for stupid reasons.

I think the main reason for all the media drama is that reporting that we already think that Romney won’t win makes very unexciting television. By continuing to indulge in the shared fantasy that it really will be down to the wire up until election day is in the best interest of pundits, experts and peddlars of infotainment.  Speaking of exciting television, did you hear that Donald Trump has ‘very big’ news about President Obama? Even Mitt Romney (who will presumably benefit from whatever bullshit Trump reveals) can’t pretend to be interested. It’s Geraldo Rivera excavating Al Capone’s vault all over again. (edit: the “very big news” was revealed… and it was not big news after all. Surprised?).

The one issue that doesn’t seem to get any press is environmental stewardship. Yes, I think climate change is real. Even if I didn’t care about the other issues[3] that have already made me think that 4 more years of Obama would be preferable to 4 years of Romney, I’d have to vote for whomever was the ‘greener’ candidate simply because I believe we are destroying the planet faster than it can heal itself… and I think that is an extraordinarily stupid thing to do. Why that isn’t an ‘issue’ in the campaign and abortion is makes me think of Churchill:

Many forms of Gov­ern­ment have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pre­tends that democ­racy is per­fect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democ­racy is the worst form of Gov­ern­ment except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…
 


[1]”Issues” seems to mean so many things to so many people that I don’t even know where to begin.  Earlier in this election cycle, gay marriage and the ironically named ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ seemed to be “issues” for some people, although, if you are a God-fearing Christian heterosexual, how your marriage needs to be defended against other people getting married is beyond me.  I mean, if you believe in a vengeful, mean spirited God who will make people want to “be gay” (or “act gay” or “live the gay lifestyle” or however the conservative minds currently phrase the gay ‘condition’) and then send them to hell for that, then why would you want to attempt to interfere with his will by making laws that will presumably prevent sinners from doing the sin that God will want to punish them for?

[2] I remember reading a poll from a few years ago where they discovered that almost a third of Americans polled apparently don’t know who the Vice President is or that Washington DC is not in Washington state — and the Republicans are worried about illegal aliens voting in the election? Could a Nicaraguan nanny without a green card who speaks English as a second language really be a greater threat to democracy than the people who were born here and still don’t understand basic geography or what job Al Gore had before he became the bête noir of Fox News and the American Petroleum Institute?
 
[3] See ‘DOMA,’ athlete doping scandals, prayer in schools, etc. In short, the softball topics that politicians and the press concentrate on when they really should be concentrating on other things.



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