I got up at four this morning after tossing and turning all night… I couldn’t sleep. Tomorrow, in just one more day, we’re going to elect a new president, and while Bush’s term runs till January 20, it’s effectively over on Wednesday morning. In forty eight hours or so, America might have taken it’s greatest step towards repudiating the policies of the last eight years, or we may end up with the same exact thing. Like I say, I can’t sleep.
The choices here are so stark that I find it incredible that there’s an undecided voter left. Pick any criteria- youth vs. age, unilateralism vs. consensus, rich vs. the rest of us. I say the last because these days only the far upper end of the middle class has more in common with the rich than they do the poor. Face it, when you own a four or five hundred thousand dollar home you can’t pay the mortgage on, are constantly worried about losing your job and have watched your retirement savings disappear, you’ve got more in common with the worries of the poor than the rich.
You know, while Republicans may be great at actually making money for themselves, they really suck at managing an economy. Warren G. Harding? A Recession in 1921. Herbert Hoover? The Great Depression. Eisenhower? Recessions in 1953 and 57. Nixon? Stagflation 73-75. Ronald Reagan? Recession 1980-82. George Bush I? Recession two out of four years. Bush II? Same thing, twice. Actually, every major Recession or Depression since the end of the Civil War started under Republican Administrations and ended under Democratic ones. Weird.
In my own mind, because of our economic troubles, I compare Barack Obama to Franklin Delano Roosevelt a lot. But I don’t think the people who voted in November of 1932 were aware that they were voting to change history in any major way. They were just sick of Republican mismanagement of the economy.
We’d have to go back to Abraham Lincoln to find an election where people realized that something fundamentally life changing had taken place. Of course, we didn’t handle that one too well, but I’m not really expecting civil war this time.
It’s not just economic though. While no one’s suggesting that racism will disappear with an Obama election, far from it, it will be marginalized to a major degree. No one worried too much anymore about Catholics after Kennedy and I think that after a few years of an Obama presidency they’ll stop worry so much about Blacks too.
I’m also not too concerned about Iraq and military matters either. Remember, it was Democrats, Kennedy and Johnson who escalated the Vietnam War and a Republican, Nixon, who lost it. And it was Democrats, Wilson and Roosevelt, who won World Wars I and II. Democrats can be surprising when it comes to fighting a war. Forget about the Republican Lincoln and the Civil War; the positions on every issue between Democrats and Republicans in 1860 were completely reversed and if he were alive today, Lincoln would be a Democrat.
Anyway, here we are. After a major misstep in American politics, we find ourselves with an opportunity to right the wrongs, to finally move forward and once again accomplish great things as a nation. One more day. Actually, who wants to sleep?