So the election appears to be over. No long, drawn-out attempts to obscure the results, the way there were in 2000. No tie in the electoral college the way some of the pundits had feared. No lingering uncertainty about the winner. Just over.
Although what is wrong with the state of Florida when it comes to elections is a question that deserves more scrutiny than it is being given at the moment. It’s like the old Casey Stengel line from his days managing the then-expansion New York Mets – “Can’t anyone here play this game?” No wonder that state has its own tag on Fark.
I am thankful for a lot of things that came out of this election.
Not everything – there are a number of things that could have gone better, as far as I am concerned, and I remain deeply concerned about the future of the Third Party System and the State of Wisconsin, not necessarily in that order. But a lot of things, yes. And in a democracy such as the one the US has become over the last couple of centuries, “a lot of things” is about all you can hope for.
I am thankful I live in a nation that prefers to settle political succession through the ballot box and not any of the usual methods employed by humanity throughout history. Most of those involve military force, suspect genetics, and/or interludes of anarchy, none of which is conducive to prosperity or stability in the long run as far as I can see.
I am thankful that both candidates were gracious when it came down to it – Romney in defeat, Obama in victory. I wish there had been more of that in the months leading up to that moment, and I wish that sense of dignity and American identity would have extended a bit further down the political ladder (here’s looking at you, Senator McConnell!), but you can’t have everything.
I am thankful that the election went off smoothly, despite high turnout, storm-damaged precincts in the east, threats of intimidation from self-appointed “poll watchers,” and other possible impediments to American citizens exercising their right (not privilege, right) of suffrage. High turnout is good – it means more Americans are making their voices heard and that can only be for the better. From what I have managed to gather there were few examples of intimidation. And the governors of New York and New Jersey went out of their way to make voting happen in their states in a way that does them both credit. Good for them. Good for us.
I am thankful that the Rape Squad of the modern Republican Party was almost entirely defeated. Todd Akin (“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down”) was shut down. Richard Mourdock (“rape … is something God intended”) was clearly not intended for further public service. Roger Rivard (“some girls, they rape so easy”) is going back to his cave. Joe Walsh, Tom Smith, John Koster – all defeated. Maybe the lunatic wing of the modern Republican Party will take the hint and start to go away and the party can begin to return to its core principles of respecting individual autonomy and being hard on crime, principles that can only legitimately be used to come down on the criminals, the rapists, and not the victims. I realize this is an optimistic take on things and that such people historically do not learn very quickly, but you never know.
I am thankful that Obama won. He is not an ideal president, not by a long shot. But he has, in my opinion, done a surprisingly good job of managing the country in the face of blindly fanatical and short-sighted resistance, his achievements (which he does a curiously poor job of trumpeting) are substantial, and he was by far the better of the two main candidates, in part simply because he was not running as the head of a party that had fallen off the cliffs of insanity.
I am thankful that now I can answer my phone again, turn on the television again, listen to the radio again, and log onto the internet again without being bombarded by robocalls, attack ads, popups and other intrusive forms of advertising. Bring on the beer and Viagra ads! Sell me some consumer goods! We need a return to normalcy.
It’s going to be a long four years from this point to the next election, I am aware of that. Other than who’s in charge for the moment, nothing really has been resolved – all we’ve done is return to the status quo ante of this point last year. And the first person who seriously tries to discuss the 2016 presidential race with me prior to January 1, 2014, will be coated in bubblegum and set in the sun for the ants.
But for now, it’s done. And that’s good.