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Monday, November 5, 2012
The Penultimate Day of the Campaign
Tomorrow is Election Day, for better or for worse. Millions upon millions of Americans will turn out to vote at whatever polling place is convenient, taking time from their busy schedules to exercise this most fundamental right granted us under the Constitution of the United States, its various Amendments, and the laws of the land. I once was told that there are only three ways by which an individual in this country can affect the political atmosphere -- first and foremost is vcting. The other two are serving on a jury and serving on a grand jury, if you want to know. There is another way: exercise your freedoms as outlined by the same laws, especially freedom of speech.
So tomorrow we vote, and the ballots cast already by early voters such as myself will be tabulated. We will pick our President and set up the balance within both houses of Congress, declaring the climate for at least the next two years, until mid-term elections give us another chance to vote. Someone said that our voting system allows Americans the chance to overthrow the government peacefully every election, by mandate. Sometimes we choose to overthrow the whole thing, other times we keep part and discard part, and others we leave the status quo. Even though it is predominantly rich people who select rich people to run for office, particularly the Presidency and the Senate, in each case leaving us with a choice of the two remaining candidates, we the voter get the final say.
No one should give up that power voluntarily.
We are the deciders, to borrow a mis-used phrase. The balance in Washington is crucial. As we have seen over the past two years at least, with a roadblock to progress lodged firmly in the House of Representatives, if any one part of the legislating leadership triumpherate (President-House-Senate; the Supreme Court is the non-elected watchdog)is dominated by one party and the other two the other party. we will stagnate for at least that next two years and probably four, especially given the derisive climate that exists in the Capital today. I fear a Republican majority in all three branches will set us backward, but at least it will be movement. I believe that a Democratic majority will be able to push forward an agenda that will benefit the majority of Americans, and so I will spend tomorrow evening rooting for that, state by state.
When FDR took office in 1933 he had Democratic majorities in both houses, and in his first hundred days he pushed through masses of legislation as if he had a blank check. The Supreme Court sorted things out later, overturning several of his programs. But several key ones remain to this day. When Obama took office in 2009 he had the chance to act in a similar way, but did not push his advantage. In two words, he was too polite. If re-elected, I hope he realizes that it's time to take the gloves off. But we shall see, and very soon.
No matter how America votes, it may be comforting to know how much money was spent on getting these people elected. The Presidency will come with a price tag (from all corners) of one billion dollars. I think that's twice what Big Bird and Company get per year. In my adopted state of Montana, the two men running for the Senate seat will have spent sixty million dollars, and we're a small state. I don't know how many people got jobs because of it, or how many will join the ranks of the unemployed on Wednesday, or how much of an infusion political spending has given the economy. I only know two things: that's an awful lot of money spent to gain power.
And, two, no matter what else, there is one hooray for every one of us: Wednesday morning we will turn on our TVs and THERE SILL BE NO MORE POLITCAL ADS! AMEN!!
I was born in Holland in 1950. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two. I have many close friends and family on both continents. My wife Diane and I have been happily married since 1974. I have four children and one grandchild (two more are on the way). I love writing and sharing what I wrote most of all..