I have not set the curve for electing presidents.
I often champion underdogs, or in the case of George McGovern, my first presidential vote-hopeless candidates.
Steve and I often cancel each other’s vote. Both of us are “mind our own business” types where government would seek to judge and curb human choices. We separate on the fiscal theories, although this challenging economy is a difficult puzzle to analyse. This time, at least, I think we are headed in the same direction. Fortunately for the marriage, we have no blood pact. We do not rattle each other’s cages, never have.
I grew up in a Republican household with George Romney as my governor. I lived a few miles and multiple economic strata from his family. I dressed up as a campaign worker for him one year, with a sandwich board full of campaign stickers impeding my candy progress as I assaulted the streets of Royal Oak, Michigan. It never occurred to me that anyone would bicker with my choice or withhold treats because I was bearing witness for George.
Because they wouldn’t.
We were a less strident population in those good old days.
What happened? I expect it was a rolling tide of change: Vietnam, civil rights protests, Nixon and Watergate. There was a national audience for sound and fury. Sometimes it resulted in positive change, sometimes just in noise.
Now we have gigantic stages: 24/7/365 news channels with partisan leanings and no pretense of objectivity. He/She who speaks the loudest, or with the greatest, retweetable/you-tube worthy sound clouds is prized, booked and featured. Dueling opinions are shouting and sniping matches with no effort to congeal with facts. Truth is not the goal, really- victory is. Civility and respect have faded. How else can we explain Ann Coulter? Rush? Their nuggets portend a need to be noticed, but not to be taken seriously.
Most of us connect a value system to our vote. Most of us also can concede that we feel unsatisfied after this PAC- fueled assault on civility. No matter which way the vote goes- we will all be thrilled to have the volume turned down, the heat reduced. We are world-and word-weary. But we intend to get along in the after-vote.
In every campaign I create a fallback position. I cannot sink into despair when things do not go my way. If this was my modus operandi, my adult life would have been lived under a bleak cloud.
This does not suit my optimistic view of the U.S. So I am ducking for cover.
I have begun watching my DVR stack, buying pay-per-view movies, and reading a long postponed “beach book” to pry my eyes from the poll examining/vivisecting news coverage. I am trying to ignore Nate Silver, and Matt Drudge and Gallup. I scheduled a dentist appointment for Wednesday morning, and oral surgery for Friday. If I am in electoral pain, I’ll double down. Life goes on. It will be better with teeth.
I believe in the veracity of the voting process.(until we are counting chads again.) I do not wish to see counts questioned before/during/after November 6. It breaks my heart to envision an America ruled by voter fraud and suppression, just as the Citizens United traumatizes my view regarding “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Excuse me while I look away, and dream that these factors will not govern the outcome. I can take losing, but I cannot abide abuse or manipulation of the process by powerful, monied interests.
Yet I am still Pollyanna of the Midwest: confident that checks and balances could sustain us under any presidency, proud of the basic civility of our process, honored to live in a country that allows vigorous debate.
The sun will come up, tomorrow- as Annie sang. And tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow, as William Shakespeare intoned via his soon-to-be-vanquished king, MacBeth. I’ll take Annie’s view. It is better than a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. And there’s a dog.