Just hours from now, Americans will know who is going to be running the country for the next two years. Whatever the outcomes of the elections coast-to-coast, nothing much is likely to change in Washington.
Why should it? The White House is still the home of Barack Obama and his hand-picked inner circle. The House and Senate will, for the most part, be run by the same gang (with different hats) and a minority of new faces who will-- in short order-- be brought into line. Part of the orientation of new lawmakers must include a secret class where they are told-- in language they can understand-- that in the great halls of the Capitol, you either learn how deals or made or perish.
Name me a real independent thinker who made it all the way to Washington and I'll name you a person who either is headed for or already has made it to political obscurity. Eugene McCarthy was the great hope of my Vietnam generation. After him George McGovern offered possible new ways of looking at things: Richard Nixon decimated McGovern at the polls, eventually, and we all know what a great president Nixon was. Then there's Ralph Nader: need I say more?
The problem with America is that its memory is too short, its inertia too widespread and its desire to "forgive and forget" too deep. On November 2, the electorate that claimed to hate George W Bush for the damage he had done to the country is likely to go to the polls and return to power any number of W clones. I should clarify that those going to the polls will be a lot less than the number who voted in 2008 when Obama was a savior. This November, probably less than half of those eligible to vote will actually get their butts to a poll while our troops still risk injury and death every day to bring the allegedly "precious right to vote" to Afghanis and Iraqis. Go figure.
In the interim, "savior" Barack Obama is derided from one end of the country to the other, by Republicans and Independents and even by his own party regulars who like power and the monies graft and corruption can generate more than they like the concepts of party unity or salvaging the nation from economic, social, and practical ruin.
So those of you who like to wrap yourselves in the flag, be my guest. Hang those stars and stripes from the highest poles and drape them over your balconies and out your second story windows. Raise your voices in praise of the, "...spacious skies" and, " amber waves of grain..." And let your hearts continue to hope that whatever god you believe in will actually, "bless America" and "shed his grace on [it]."
But it's a real long shot.
Even a divine intervener would have his hands full getting the gang in DC to see what is "right and just" as being more important than power and money, both of which figure prominently on the only altar at which politicians worship.
So let's make a date for Thursday, November 4, when, after 24 hours of post-election celebration, America can inaugurate the next cycle of disappointment, disillusionment, and despair.
It's our system that's busted, and continuing to elect cowards with no interest in fixing that system-- whatever their political stripe-- accomplishes nothing.