Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I have always been a political geek. My father fostered that in me when we canvassed our neighborhood in Largo, Florida. We handed out Nixon bumper stickers. I was 11 at the time.
My dad lived long enough to see Richard Nixon resign, and that hurt him - a lot. He died not long after Jimmy Carter won the 1976 election.
I voted for Jimmy Carter in 1980 - the first time I was able to vote in a presidential race - because I thought he was a good man who was trying to do the right thing. I thought Ronald Reagan was a lightweight who gave up acting to dabble in politics.Right about Carter, wrong about Reagan.
Every election since about 1984, we are told it is the most important - ever. I get a little sick of that.
You also hear a lot of people say politics is a lot nastier than it was.
In the midst of a Civil War, when you would think people would rally around the president, some of the nastiest things were said about Abraham Lincoln. They said things that, if said today, would end careers.
This Tuesday, it seems a change is coming.
I have to say, I was really proud of our country when Barack Obama was elected. I was not a supporter, but I was glad to see our nation elect a black person as president. I hope we elect a woman as president before I die.
Despite not being a supporter, I hoped for the best. I want my country to succeed, no matter who is in office. If the guy (or woman) I voted against makes our country stronger and more prosperous, I still win. Makes no difference what party they belong to.
I hoped, in electing a man who was clearly very liberal, the tough times we were facing would result in a more centrist position. I think centrist positions result in our system repairing itself without a lot of meddling.
I see our system, our republican democracy, as sort of an infallible immune system. Meddling with it one way or the other is not a good idea. Let it work, and the body will fight off any infection just fine, thank you.
Give the body snake oil, and you screw it up.
Bleed it with leeches, and you screw it up.
For much of the first part of this decade, we gave the body snake oil. The 2008 election pretty much ended that.
But for the last two years, we've been bleeding the body with leeches, and the body is starting to think maybe that's not such a good idea, either. This Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. Eastern Time, when election returns start coming in, the body starts to reject the leeches.
(Please don't think I am comparing any politician to a snake oil salesman, or a leech. I believe politicians, of either party, truly believe they are doing the right thing. I also believe the less they actually do, the better off we -- the body -- will be. They're just metaphors.)
We are not perfect, but we are the shining city on the hill. We are exceptional.
And soon, we will turn our attention to 2012 and the presidential election. I wonder if there is someone who can do all these things:
1. Lead us.
2. Make us safe.
3. Gain friends around the world.
4. Make us prosperous.
5. Secure the future for our grandchildren and their children.
6. Not only keep our enemies at bay, but hunt them down.
A word about enemies...
I am not the enemy of anyone in our government, from the president down to the dog catcher. I respect them for what they do. I might not agree with them, but I think I deserve their respect, too, even if I may be of a different political persuasion.
And a word about my first presidential vote...
I do not regret voting for Jimmy Carter, but I like my presidents to act presidential -- even after they leave office. He has not. As I said earlier, he's a good man, but he diminished himself by undermining and trashing another good man, George W. Bush.
As always, just my opinion.
Anyway, if there is anyone who can accomplish all six of those items above, I hope I can say I voted for him/her.