Election Day Jitters
One last post before the election. An historic election by all accounts, definitely an election happening in historic times. Will the populist Senator Obama sweep into office with a landslide victory, or will the old warhorse McCain pull a rabbit out of the hat and be on his way to the White House? Who knows, I sure as heck don’t. My money is still on McCain, the Republicans have spent the last few months stealing trillions of dollars from the public till, I don’t see why stealing a few votes would bother them. On the other hand, if Obama is as much a Washington insider/elite as he sometimes appears to be morphing into, maybe it doesn’t matter.
What’s the best that can happen? My fantasy would be an overwhelming Obama victory, followed up by an inspiring Obama inaugural speech where he reveals himself to be a true leader, and starts setting the country to order with practical and pragmatic policies. Granted I have a little trouble imagining just what those policies would be, considering how bad the situation really is, but hey, if someone can give a great speech and inspire the nation, it would be Obama. Unfortunately I expect that no matter how well Obama does, there’s is going to be residual minority who will never accept a liberal black Democrat as president. And they will make the Clinton haters during the Clinton administration look quaint by comparison.
Now if the election result is contested (like 2000) or McCain wins, bad things might happen. I like to think that the people predicting riots if there is a McCain victory are being alarmist, but in reality, riots happen. Rioting might be especially the case if the election of McCain looks suspicious. I can’t even speculate how rioting would play out, but if it’s like previous riots in American history…the racists and extremists will have a field day and people with alarmist tendencies will be predicting the imminent end of civilization. It will all be covered live on TV, especially with the proliferation of cell phone cameras. So, um, at least there will be something new to watch on TV for days.
Some have suggested that Obama would be a target for assassination in the White House. Since every president has been a target for assassination, it’s a safe bet. Unfortunately the people making this claim usually imply that because Obama is black, he would be more of a target. Basically the people making this claim are revealing themselves to be racists, because the implication is that it is more “normal” for people to want to shoot a black president than a white president, which doesn’t make any sense if one thinks about it a bit. Only a very few people are going to take shots at the president no matter what his skin colour is, and the few that will are nuts. Nuts are motivated by any number of things, not just skin colour.
And some have suggested that the new President will be tested shortly after taking office. Well, of course he will, the world is a big place and sooner or later there will be a crisis. That isn’t what the folks making these claims are talking about though, they are implying that the “bad people” out there who are plotting evil against America will want to test our resolve. So of course making these sorts of claims are a back door way of insinuating that McCain would be a better president because he is a “warrior.” As with the assassination predictors, the people making these claims have revealed a lot about themselves, but their claim doesn’t stand up to logic. “Testing” the new president in this way would be very risky for no conceivable gain, so it’s hard to imagine anyone being quite that stupid. While it’s not impossible, I can’t think of any historical examples where someone has done this. At least not in the modern era, in the age of Kings if some teenager or child ascended a throne it was a very good bet that historical enemies would be invading.
And lastly, the October surprise that wasn’t. At this point it would have to be one hell of a surprise. It’s not really fair to speculate about something that didn’t happen, so this paragraph is pretty conjectural. I’m relieved, though the chances of there being something dramatic were low. It would be highly risky, which is why things like the Contra Affair and the Watergate break-in are rare…the risk usually isn’t worth the potential gain. And, frankly, the Bush administration has their hands full right now. Now I wouldn’t rule out a post election surprise, Bush the elder intervened in Somalia after he lost the 1992 election, I always thought that was a sour grapes parting gift for Clinton. I hope Bush junior is above something like that, but he’s underwhelmed me before.
Have a great election day everyone, vote early and vote often!
(The above image is of JFK campaigning for the 1960s presidential election. I am claiming it as Fair Use under US copyright law. It too was a troubled election, and 1960 ushered in what was to be a troubled decade. I suspect 2008 is ushering in an equally troubled if not more so decade. God help us all if I’m right.)