When it comes to politics, I agree firmly with Douglas Adams: anyone who is capable of getting themselves elected President should, under no circumstances, be allowed to have the job. And for President this year, I was very close to writing in Colin Powell’s name, for no other reason than because he stated quite publicly that he is not at all interested in the job; I can’t think of a better qualification than that. (Of course, there’s also the part of me that wanted to vote "No" for President, or "None of the Above", or to write in the name of Cthulhu — after all, as they say, why settle for the lesser evil?)
Politics, especially partisan politics, disgusts me. I’ve voted Democrat in just about every election I’ve participated in — which, I assure you, has been every election that’s occured since I turned 18 — but it’s not because I believe that the Democrats are morally superior to the Republicans or any other party out there; it’s just because, out of all of the crop of politicians that are out there, they disgust me the least. That’s not to say that I really care for the Democrat party, of course, or that I’m even registered as a Democrat — I’m actually registered as an independent, in the hopes that this keeps me off of partisan mailing lists when election years roll around.
I admit, though, that I do get a sick joy out of watching Presidential campaigns; it’s like looking into a Kleenex you’ve just blown your nose into. The depths to which people will sink in order to become President inspires me, sometimes, to think back to the one class I took in college on Abnormal Psychology and wonder what might be going on through these peoples’ minds. But, all in all, watching a campaign makes me realize that there really is nothing about any of the candidates that really inspires me to vote for them. With the 2000 election, I had some respect for Al Gore until he announced his position on the Elian Gonzales issue, which made me realize that he really was into it for the politics, just like Bush. I only voted for Gore because I knew that with him, I might wind up a little less annoyed than with Bush in office.
But this year’s election has really brought things to a new low, I think; and the ironic thing is that the election is, technically over. We just don’t know who won.
Neither side wants to concede defeat, of course, and with less than a thousand votes in the balance, I don’t blame them. Al Gore’s campaign wants a hand recount of the ballots in Florida, which makes sense to me. What angers me, though, are those Republicans who call Gore a "whiny bitch" (this is a direct quote from a radio talk show host); as if Bush would have done any differently had he been in Gore’s position.
And now Bush’s campaign is seeking to put a halt to the recount. This, honestly, disturbs me more than any other aspect of this year’s election. Frankly, I’m frightened of a President who would be willing to halt an election if there was even a slight doubt about his prospects of winning. It reminds me far too much of some of the autocratic techniques I read about in Eastern European countries, or of the old Soviet Union. This sort of thing is a direct threat to our nation’s democratic process; a President should not even consider the possibility of interfering with an election, let alone a Presidential candidate who hasn’t even won the election. If nothing else, it tells me that Bush is scared of the will of the people and the possibility that he might lose, and that convinces me even more that Bush is not at all qualified to be President.
I admit, sadly, that Bush will probably be the next President of the United States. This, coupled with a Republican-dominated Congress, will probably set our nation’s social progress back a good ten to fifteen years, and further alienate us from the rest of the world. My only consolation is that Bush will understand, at least on some level, that he won only by a technicality, that the people of the United States don’t really want him there, and the Republican majority in Congress is held only by a hair. And, in some ways, I’m kind of glad that Bush will be president; I predict that the US is going to go through some very shaky times over the next four years, and I’d much rather have a Republican take the fall for what’s coming up than a Democrat. This same thing happened in 1988, when George Bush, Sr., was President; after eight years of faked prosperity under Reagan, things started to go downhill once Bush became President, and in 1992 the Republicans lost the white house. If nothing else, we will probably have another Democratic president in 2004 (and we will probably see Hillary Clinton running for the nomination that year as well). I’m not joining in the debate over the continued existence of the Electoral College; I understand its importance and its place in our nation’s history.
Presidential campaigns are like a circus: a long, dull, vitriolic, angry circus filled with surreal clowns and an audience who is too annoyed to laugh but too morbidly curious to leave. But now the curtains have supposedly been drawn over this year’s show, and I really wish the clowns would leave. Or, at least, that they would all stop trying to convince us that they were the best part of the show. Sheesh.