So. Here we are. Day before the big election. Normally, this is the time those of us in the political swamps live for. The eve of knowing the results of two years of campaigning. Just hours from finding out “the will of the American voter.” Political “World Series” time.
That’s how it’s always been for us “nattering nabobs” near the first Tuesday in November. But not this time. At least for your scribe. No, this time the usual curiosity about what tomorrow will bring has morphed into something near fright. Deeper than just a concern about the outcome. More of a “What the Hell happens now?” We’re at a time when becoming an ungovernable nation is a possibility. At least for the short term. Should you think I’ve gone “‘round the bend” let’s review.
Until a couple of decades ago, national elections meant polling voters, accepting outcomes and getting back to work. No more. Now, keys to the White House go to the winner while losers plot to make sure that winner is frozen motionless in a political aspic. This time around, some idiots in Congress are already talking “impeachment” and possible “criminal prosecution” of the likely winner before votes are counted. Several have mentioned “killing.”
On the other hand, if the guy who’s supposed to lose wins, all Hell will break lose at home and overseas. World economies will shake. International governments - allies for many decades - will likely fear the U.S. will break treaties going back many decades. Alliances nations have trusted to provide for world security will be weakened, if not destroyed. There will, most assuredly, be diplomatic and world economic chaos.
Our national government has ceased functioning as created. Millions of citizens are actually suffering because of federal intransigence - if not outright failure - to provide for “the common good.” Congress seems almost driven to destroying the vital link of citizen-to-elected-representative. Lobbyists for out-of-control billionaires and corporations are given access and deference the Constitution reserves for citizens. Response to national needs that used to flow up from the electorate are largely ignored while the “needs” of a few are decided at the top and passed down.
Several states have become insolvent through poor tax policies and mismanagement. Others are living on borrowed revenue which will have to be paid back down the line - probably by large tax increases.
Nearly a dozen states have disenfranchised voters of the absolute right to participate in elections. Now, an impotent U.S. Supreme Court has removed previous protections for millions of citizens. Congress has gerrymandered to assure winners without regard to “one-man, one-vote” requirements. Some elected cretins are even talking publically about destroying that Supreme Court - abolishing one-third of our constitutionally designed government.
State after state has freely armed its citizens with “open carry” laws and removal of firearms training requirements. College campuses, shopping centers, schools, churches, many public buildings - all open to any nut with mental problems and a gun.
Too many law enforcement officers have been indiscriminately shooting unarmed - mostly black - citizens without adequate impartial review. Officers are being killed in ambushes. Firemen are called to fires only to be open targets for some armed nutcase.
Dozens of local sheriff’s are telling government agencies they’ll ignore laws they don’t agree with. Some are aiding lawbreakers by looking “the other way” instead of doing their sworn duties. Armed citizens are supporting them with guns and votes. The verdict in the Bundy case in Portland, while possibly legally correct, has sent the wrong message to people wanting to thwart legal government actions. Those who’ve been doing so without being punished have already announced plans to step up their armed resistance.
Paid hucksters are sowing division and hate 24/7. The Internet has given voice to racists, pornographers, irresponsible “militia” wannabes, hackers and other deranged. Rumors and lies are passed off as “fact” and the citizenry - too many ignorant or our nation’s laws, civic and legal structure - is fed a diet of lies as fact.
Lack of a well-informed electorate has resulted in too many unqualified office holders. This has bred a politics of survival and job protection rather than a corps of dedicated public servants willing to do the right thing and take whatever consequences. Members of Congress admit spending a full third of their time in Washington D.C. begging for dollars. Not legislating for voters at home.
Finally, when tomorrow’s election is over, it won’t be over. We’re going to see piles of legal actions, threats, demonstrations and possible outright lawbreaking. The seeds are all there. There are more - lots more - examples of social and political problems inflicting large wounds on this country.
Unfortunately, when the ballot boxes go back into storage, their contents, I believe, will not have changed much in our seemingly dysfunctional society. Losers will continue to obstruct winners. Voices of deceit and hate will still be heard. Guns - many in the wrong hands - will continue to kill and maim. Mass murder will still be a staple of life. Racism, bigotry and ignorant religious hatred will continue. Our national government, regardless of who wins, will still be nearly unmanageable. The neediest of us will still be ignored.
Yep. I may have finally gone “‘round the bend.” So, if things turn out better than I think at this point, let me know. Otherwise, as Bette Davis said, “It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”