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No outcome outcome


So. How did that ol’ midterm election work out for ya?

Did you get more winners than losers? Or, more losers than winners? Or, did the whole thing seem like a collapsed Angel Food cake going “SPLAT” on the kitchen floor? That last option was sort of the way it worked out for a lot of us. A bit up. A bit down. But, on balance, meh.

So, here we are. Seven days later. And some of the counting continues. The “cake’s” not all flat. Just yet.

Seems Joe Biden was the “big winner.” DJ Trump the “big loser.” Neither was on our ballots. At least not by name. But, if you looked carefully, there they were.

We’re told if the party that’s “in” doesn’t get shellacked in the midterms, whatever small losses there be can be considered a win. So Dems are smiling. Conversely, Repubs are trying to put on the best face while not getting the wave they expected. Some are finally even attacking ol’ Don himself.

It’s a mystery how the pollsters do their work with all the cell phones and fewer home phones. But, on balance, their numbers going into November 8th were pretty darned close. Thus, the day’s exercise of the franchise resulted in few surprises.

Except maybe at Mar-a-lago. It’s a pretty safe bet those red marks on the white walls are ketchup stains created by “The Donald.” He’s been known to do that, you know.

What the election outcome seemed to show the rest of us is that this nation continues to be split right down the middle. On everything. It seems about as truly statistically ungovernable as it can be. One anonymous wit on Facebook opined there was a “no outcome outcome.”

Not quite true, actually.

The ever-overeager Kevin McCarthy got way out ahead of his skis with promises of red waves all over the place. Didn’t materialize. And, if he actually gets the House Speakership when the counting’s done, the margin he’ll have to work with will be in single digits. Small single digits.

Then, there’s the 30-40 nutcases in the Marjorie Taylor-Green caucus that could be the “tail” that wags McCarthy’s “dog.” While that number isn’t large, those within that bumptious bunch can force some compromises in the GOP caucus. Kevin’s going to have to reckon with those way-out voices in addition to the Dems across the aisle.

Senate leadership faces much the same daunting task. Seating looks to be near a 50-50 tie again. Which is not great for legislating.

The effect of all this seems to be more stalemate. More senseless arguing and digit-pointing. Conditions extant to address the people’s needs appear not promising.

While these narrow congressional numbers are not good for making progress, they certainly do correspond to the near-universal splits in nearly every part of our society over nearly every issue. The divisions are many and seem intractable.

As Bette Davis warned, it’s going to be a “bumpy ride” out there. I don’t think there exists a single solution to all this divisiveness. What it will take to make this country “governable” again is the vast unknown.

Whatever the eventual outcome may be, it’s certain our new national “normal” won’t resemble our recent past. We’ve gone too far down this new divided highway. You can’t push the toothpaste back in the tube.

Here in our warm, comfortable “blue” Oregon, we like to think all those problems out there won’t touch us and we’ll continue to be the envy of other muddled places. But, ‘tain’t true, McGee. Our governor’s contest took a couple of days to sort out. We had a “spoiler” that got about eight-percent of the vote, making the winning margin just a point or two. That “spoiler” had a 20 year political background and, in other times, would have made a pretty good governor. But, with no hope of winning, she stayed in and muddied our electoral waters.

Bottom line is, whatever the future uncertainty because of all the current divisions, our nation will “muddle” on.

When brothers – or sisters – get into a loud disagreement, what usually settles the waters is a third party butting in which reunifies the bickering couple. They reunite against the outside interference and that usually settles the squabble.

Maybe that’s what our country needs – an outsider challenging us all. Look what happened in 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Those voices that had opposed foreign interventions died out and this nation became more united than it probably ever was.

But, let’s pray it won’t take a war to restore our unity. No, not that.


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