Unfortunately, I have recently come to the conclusion that despite all the bitter name-calling, accusations, ugly rhetoric and outright lies clogging our nation’s airwaves and atmosphere, nobody is really going to change anyone else’s mind about the coming election. And I said as much to someone with whom I was discussing politics the other day. Whereupon she insisted that there were tons of “swing voters” out there who are still undecided and need to be convinced one way or the other.
All I can say is, if they haven’t figured it out yet, they must be literally waiting for a bomb to drop—say, a hydrogen bomb somewhere in the continental United States.
Yes, I suppose there are swing voters who will refuse to tip their hand before election day. I can respect that, actually. It was the essence of my Dad’s political philosophy. He never once told us who he planned to vote for before an election, or who he had voted for once the election was over. He firmly believed that his vote was nobody else’s business. How I wish, in today’s uber-hyped political climate, my Dad’s wisdom still prevailed.
The swing voters will keep their own counsel and do what they will do come election day. However, there is another segment of the electorate which, to me, is a complete enigma. That would be those otherwise intelligent folks out there who are simply die-hard Republicans (though I can’t for the life of me figure out why…) These are not the types who have been drinking the current administration’s kool-aid. They are not the ones who are circulating emails claiming Barack Obama is a secret Muslim, or that if one of Mr. Obama’s daughters was pregnant, he would have her kill the baby before it was born.
No…these are folks who simply adhere (like super-glue) to the pure essence of what the Republican message used to be. Conservatism, smaller government, lower taxes… They know that the current occupant has royally f’d up. And they aren’t blind…they know the country is in a mess. They realize that Bush and Co. have screwed up everything from A to Z, domestic and international, political and economic.
What bothers me about these folks is that still they refuse to even consider the possibility that a vote for the other candidate might be a vote for what’s right for the country. If the answers don’t lie with the Republicans, then there aren’t any answers, apparently. I’ve seen statements like, “Sure, things suck right now, but things have always sucked.” Or “We’ve survived Bush, and we’ll survive whoever wins this time around.”
Okay folks. Sure, things have always sucked—to some degree. But it is not the American Way to just sit back and let things suck. That is why we have a vote. That is why we have a say. That is why we have the ability, theoretically, to oust the leaders who suck and bring in ones who don’t suck, or at least show some promise of not sucking. It is not just our privilege, it is our responsibility to choose fine leaders. We owe it to ourselves, to our children, and to the world. The United States of America cannot afford to be allowed to suck just because the voters are too pig-headed to choose the best candidate for the job, regardless of political affiliation.
And let’s face it: The GOP doesn’t know who or what it is anymore. It surely bears no resemblance to the sainted GOP of the Ronald Reagan era. McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate proved this beyond all doubt. It is rumored that McCain was leaning toward naming a politically moderate running mate, possibly even Joe Lieberman. Warned and threatened by the Christian right, he threw over his original choices in favor of fundamentalist gun-toting nursing mother Sarah Palin, choosing to appease the radical fringe rather than appeal to more centrist swing voters. Doesn’t this prove to any thinking person that McCain has no intention of breaking with the formulae that have kept the disastrous Bush team straddling the nation? Is this the direction in which thoughtful, forward-thinking Republicans want our country to go? Want their party to go? If I were a Republican, I'd be, at the very least, monumentally embarrassed by the performance of the GOP over the past eight years. I would do everything in my power to expunge the current crop of disastrous clowns from the party, and start all over again, if need be.
Hell, I'm a registered Independent. Even though I've known for over twenty years that the Democratic party more closely mirrors my personal values and convictions than the GOP does, I haven't wanted to rule out the possibility that the better person for a position might just be a member of some other party. I have a really hard time swallowing the idea that I would have to vote for an asshole just because that asshole happens to be a Democrat.
In the case of this fall's presidential election, I don’t know that the Democrats and Barack Obama are the be all and end all. What I DO know is that they are a 180 degree change from the status quo. And given the mess we’re in, that’s all I really need to know.