Saturday, November 1, 2008

Election

Well, here we go - just a few more days until election day. Of course, now we have early voting so the ritual of going to our polling places on one particular day isn't quite the same. I am in Kokomo every Friday and the Courthouse there was packed with early voters. I heard security telling people the wait would be over an hour. The kids went and voted here in Wabash yesterday and they said they waited about 45 minutes. I could have voted when I was working in Wabash on Tuesday but I know Mom will want me to go with her so I put it off. With all the people voting early, maybe the lines won't be too long at the polling places on election day.....but not. All of this seems to indicate a high turnout for a high-interest election.

I'm actually less interested than I usually am for reasons I've already explained here more than once. I've not watched any of the debates and rarely watching any of the political shows. For a while I thought I might actually skip voting in the presidential election but in the end, I will drag myself into the voting booth and somewhat reluctantly, press the button next to Barack Obama's name.

My reason for voting for Obama doesn't have so much to do with him as an individual but with the general philosophies of the two parties. Angry as I am at the Democratic leadership, the Dems still at least make an attempt to help people in my economic class (i.e., hanging on to the bottom rung of the middle class by my fingernails). Year after year, it is the Democrats that try to extend and increase unemployment compensation while Republicans fight those increases and would most likely do away with it altogether if they could get away with it. Year after year, it is Democrats who put forth legislation to increase the minimum wage to keep it within shouting distance of the cost of living while Republicans fight them tooth and nail. Year after year, it is the Democrats who have tried to give us improved health care, be it single payer or some expanded form of the present system. Meanwhile, Republicans would just like to tell us we're on our own, trying to make it sound as if they are doing us a favor, like choosing a health care program isn't absolutely mind-boggling to the most intelligent of us, never mind if we could actually afford it or not.

So, it is the general philosophies of the parties that will lead me to pushing the Obama button even though I'm not an Obama fan. If God let me personally pick a winner, I'd give Jimmie Johnson the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship before I'd give Obama the presidency. John says I have the attitude I have because I'm old and bitter and didn't get my way in the primaries. "Yep," I say, "you've got it and that's the way it is. So if God gives YOU the choice, YOU can pick Obama!"

I feel pretty comfortable that Obama is going to win although I think he'll have to win by a lot to pull it off. In every presidential election, the Republicans seem to be able to game the system in the single most crucial state (Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2008). Florida and Ohio will again be critical in this election, as will Pennsylvania so we'll see what happens. It would be ironic if Barack lost because of Republican dirty tricks because I think he won the nomination because of Democratic dirty tricks. Ah, there's that bitterness showing again.

I was having dinner at Market Street Grille last night and when I told Bill Gerding, I was voting for Obama, he said, "so you're voting for Obama to take my money and give it to you," meaning to take from the affluent and give to the near-poor. I don't see it that way. To me, voting for McCain is choosing to take from both of us to give it to Bill Gates and Donald Trump.

As I recall, the Republicans were so exultant when Bush won (both times). We were leaving our long national nightmare of budget surpluses, jobs for everyone who wanted one, record-breaking stock market gains and peace (God, remember how awful that was!) and moving toward the land of milk and honey. I'm not sure exactly what vision Republicans have in their heads when they imagine that promised land but surely it isn't two wars, stock market crashes, millions of foreclosures, failing banks, $750 billion dollar bail-outs, massive lay-offs.......