Insanity

I have heard it said many times that insanity is repeating the same things over and over while expecting a different outcome. I am horribly disappointed in the election results, but not for the reasons that you might think, and quite aside from one given candidate, or another, winning or losing. I tend to think that everyone can pretty well agree that things are not hunky dory in America. It doesn't seem that a day goes by that I do not hear about another person who has lost their job, had their pay or benefits reduced, been downsized, been outsourced, or perhaps has completely exhausted their unemployment benefits. Driving around for job interviews, I am continually confronted by empty storefronts, going out of business signs, empty corporate parks. Heck, the trip to the Oakbrook area, which used to be easily an hour commute using the tollway, is now a fraction of that time, because traffic is sparse. In my own neighborhood, there are vacant houses, for sale signs that have literally bleached out from being exposed to the elements for so long, and plenty of folks in danger of short sale or foreclosure. The line up at the local food pantry can literally snake around the block. Statistical information shows that a huge number of folks have slipped from working, middle class to life below the poverty level, and this is often despite working. And of course, we cannot forget that taxes have increased on all levels, meaning that we take even less of our meager incomes to the bank on payday. Costs for all commodities, from foodstuffs to fuels, have increased. Due to seriously depressed interest rates, we do not hear about inflation, but interest cannot really go any lower, so I don't supposed that inflation numbers can be far distant. Even for those of us fortunate to have missed the bullet on the unemployment front, we are still feeling the pinch.

So, you might ask, why am I disappointed in the election results? Well, for the past four years, I seem to have heard everyone grumble, moan, complain, and generally bitch about the state of affairs in this country. I have listened to both sides of the political aisle lobbing bombs of derision at one another and the competing ideas for how to fix things. A state of gridlock has occurred where nothing is accomplished and nothing changes. While all levels of government engage in the blame game, things seem to slip further over the edge of financial oblivion. And yet, the actual election results would indicate that despite all the bitching and moaning, nobody was willing to use their votes to make a change. We seem to have awoken on the day after election with the same scenario as the day before, and the promise that the gridlock that prevailed is pretty much here to stay, at least for another two years until the mid term elections. When polls show that as many as 70% of the populace feel that our nation is heading in the wrong direction, how can we have the same reality after election day as we did prior to election day? How can the same said elected officials be expected to suddenly change their viewpoints and play nicely with each other? Yes, there were a few changes, but even those were not really what would be considered as decisive mandates. Some of the changes in office had more to do with the redistricting that comes after a census, such as 2010 rather than a change in opinion. As the population of this country has tried to shift in search of employment, I imagine that the impact of voters and their opinions would shift geographically as well, but looking at the national maps of voting trends doesn't seem to prove that theory either. Quite frankly, I am baffled. Rhetoric in news threads, social media, and forums became downright nasty and ugly, with respondents drifting way off topic to hurl insults at dissenting viewpoints. With all that animosity, I would have expected the voting public to want to insure that the same things that caused such anger and frustration could not conceivably continue.

While it was gratifying to actually have to wait in line to vote, for a change, obviously the extremely high voter turnout only served to prove how divided we, the people, actually are. I also think to a certain extent, it reveals how we have become self serving and self centered, as voting results would indicate that votes were cast as much to insure individual security and profit as to destroy whatever entities are considered to be robbing society as a whole. It seems to speak to the notion that we find it easy to get on a soap box and tout our support of policies to assist the underprivileged, the handicapped, children, minorities, but if policy might rock our personal boat, that agenda is suddenly less important. Quite frankly, if everything is OK in our personal world, whether we agree with the policies or not, we continue to support the status quo to make sure that our world doesn't change. While it was wonderful to hear elderly folks indicate that it had been several election cycles since they voted, that enthusiasm and sense of urgency didn't seem to permeate the crowd overall, waiting for their turn in the booth. And of course, the positive news of record voter turnout in many areas was dampened by those who just can't avoid pushing the envelope with regard to respecting the polling place and the rules that insure everyone is free to vote their own conscience without interference, or being made to feel badly for their opinions.

Getting out of my car, in the parking lot of the VFW hall, I was confronted by a young lady standing in the middle of the parking lot with a clip board, talking to anyone and everyone who would acknowledge her about her political hobby horse. She was preaching and soliciting signatures for a petition in the middle of a designated polling place, and quite in conflict with regulations regarding such activities....Maybe my training as a judge of elections means that I have insider knowledge about what is and is not acceptable near a polling place, but I cannot believe that every single person who came to vote was thrilled with this lady's banter and solicitation. I couldn't help but wonder how long she had been stationed there in the rain, and if anyone else had bothered to mention to any of the election officials inside what was going on in the parking area. The weather was not great and the parking lot was littered with puddles, so avoiding her would have required getting your feet seriously wet and then having to stand in line that way for quite some time. And she was wearing a large apron with her cause emblazoned on it....if campaign materials cannot be posted within a certain number of feet from the entrance, I would imagine that wearing said campaign materials as articles of clothing would fall into the same category. In fact, it was easy to see what the acceptable perimeter was as the campaign signs and posters literally crowded one another in profusion on that boundary, and this person was definitely well within those boundaries. Fairly, or not, the first thing that popped into my mind was the advocacy group ACORN, as they have been associated in the media in earlier times with irregularities regarding polling place behavior, and as the most frequently cited example in press releases, the first that sprang to mind. I didn't choose to verify or identify her exact affiliation, but I was offended by her attitude that she would violate the polling place rules as long as somebody didn't "catch her doing so". Is robbing a bank suddenly OK, if nobody actually notices you taking the money? Is driving 100 mph on a residential street a good idea until the officer actually clocks you with his radar gun? It was a case of violating not only the letter of the law, but the entire spirit of it as well. Personal conviction and agenda overshadowed any regard for anyone else's right to vote without political ballyhoo. And yes, I did mention to a judge of election about the person in the parking lot, and no, she was no longer there when I finished voting, but as I spent more than 45 minutes in line waiting to vote, who knows if she was corrected and asked to move, or whether she just got tired of being rained upon.

So, to everyone out there who gets their jollies by bitching and moaning about the state of the nation, the actions or inaction of government, this party or that being at fault.......shut the hell up! You had your chance to change it all, and for whatever reasons (and insanity may be among them-mass hysteria-group psychosis) you used your votes to elect essentially the same cast of usual suspects to continue business as usual. Maybe it is because you like to gripe and complain-maybe that's your thing! However, I, for one, don't want to hear the nonsense, and with the present election behind us, I firmly believe that it is time to close the books on ancient history......from here forward, nobody is allowed to dig back 6, 8, 10 years or more to find blame for the situations we find ourselves in now and in future. Time for all those folks who were re-elected to put on their big boy pants and stand up and take the credit for their handiwork without scapegoats of the past. In many cases, a second or third or fourth chance has been given, and they jolly well better make the most of it. And those who are so willing to give those extra chances better not whine and complain to me, because I am not going to listen to the rantings and ravings of lunatics.....(See thesis statement above!)

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  • On the national front, the Republicans didn't provide an alternative plan (in any concrete sense), and certainly not enough to peel off enough of the states in play.

    The state front tees me off more. In addition to the legislative gerrymandering working, you have an insane judge reelected, a Congressman with admitted mental problems and subject to criminal probes reelected, a state representative under indictment reelected...

    You didn't say what the person soliciting in the polling place's cause was, but normally I assume that someone standing out in the rain at a polling place is to ingratiate oneself with their clout to get a patronage job.

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