Final Thoughts Before the Election

I‘m writing this on Saturday, November 3, just three days before the election, and right now I have no idea who is going to win. The polls are tilting strongly towards Obama, and normally that would indicate a clear victory for him, but that assumes that the polls are getting it right. The polls have been inconsistent and contradictory, so I’m not putting much faith in them.

The only thing I’m sure of is that when Tuesday evening rolls around, regardless of who wins, about half of the country will be disappointed and about half delighted. If you happen to be on the losing side, take heart. It’s really not as bad as it’s been made out to be. Despite the hyperbole, histrionics, misinformation, disinformation and outright lies, there’s really not that much difference between the two men. They each have a great respect for the country and want to do what is best for it, and they are each steeped in traditional American values and unlikely to steer from that. You have to drill down pretty deep before you start finding real differences between the two.

That may sound preposterous, but that’s only a testament to the effectiveness of their propaganda, aka political ads. It is central to the strategy of any political campaign to exaggerate the differences and focus on the negatives of the opponent.

If you happen to be a Democrat and Obama loses, just remember that you survived eight years of George W. Bush. If you happen to be a Republican and Romney loses, remember that you have survived four years of Obama, and will survive another four years. At the same time, if your guy wins, be careful about getting smug and thinking in terms of mandates and sea changes or using phrases like “America has spoken”. After all, about half of the country voted against your guy, and in four years we’ll be doing this all over again.

Update:

To really put things into perspective take a moment to watch this video:

10 thoughts on “Final Thoughts Before the Election

  1. Excellent video! Sure puts things in perspective. I do so miss Carl Sagan. His “Cosmos” is still one of my favorite series of all time.

  2. This has nothing to do with the post, just wanted to know what your opinion was on the electoral college system vs popular vote. My question, why not just have a popular vote to elect our president? I understand why it was necessary at the beginning of our country, but with our high tech society it seems that the popular vote would be sufficient.

    • I suspect that getting rid of the electoral college system is something that almost everyone – liberal and conservative – in the country can agree on at least in principal. It is an outdated and elitist idea that has no place in today’s world. It forces presidential campaigns to focus on tiny regions of the country while ignoring the vast majority of states. Furthermore it violates the one person one vote principal that is at the heart of our system. For example, Wyoming, with a population of 568,300 gets three electoral votes, while Texas with a population of 25,268,418 gets 38. That means – if I’m doing the math right – that a vote in Wyoming counts 3.5 times more than a vote in Texas.

      I can’t recall ever seeing someone argue in favor of keeping the electoral system the way it is. There may be a perfectly good case to be made for it, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard one.

      • Looks like this would be a great project for some civic minded people!

        Well anyway I agree with you 100%, lets hope that the future is a lot more serene than the past 2 years. Sincerely hope that our President and everyone in Congress can just get along and get something done for a change. The name of the game is what is best for all Americans. We live in a great country, still the best anywhere in my opinion.

  3. I really enjoyed the video, it offers a sense of peace and really puts things in perspective. If it doesn’t make you step back and pause…play it again because you must not have paid attention the first time. Thanks for sharing it.

    • I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve been known to play it over and over like a favorite song. The words, Sagan’s smooth, comforting baritone, the music, and the visuals all come together to create a profound experience for me. There are several other versions of this on YouTube and they are all good.

  4. Thanks for your very balanced, reasonable blog. It certainly puts things into perspective. I, for one, am happy with the election outcome, but I caution anyone against the word “mandate”. The only mandate here is for us to come together and make it work for all of us. Thanks again, and God bless.

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