So, come sunrise on November 7, everyone here in the United States is going to wake up in a virtually new world. No matter who wins, the election will be over and everyone's going to scramble to deal with the new order. In my experience, just less than half of the political masses of the country are going to dig in their heels with filibusters and cries of undemocratic behavior stemming from the other side having a majority. The other slightly-less-than-half will talk about their mandate, talk about their (sincere) interest in serving all Americans and whinge about compromise and bipartisanship.
Certainly, I'm as baffled as anyone else who wonders why--after a year of rancorous politicking and literally millions of dollars spent by our leaders slandering one another--we can't compromise.
It's not our politicians.
I mean, I'm not stupid enough to think that they're responsible adults who can reasonably overcome their differences of perspective for long enough to do something good for the country. It's that every time an election is finished the losers hunker down, become deadweight, and wait for the weather to change.
And the weather always changes. Because inevitably, in two or four years, nothing's been accomplished, problems still exist, and the swing voters swing the other way.
I'm not saying that we see-saw back and forth impotently; the political animal which rises to the highest ranks of political office has been refined. It's something sleek and tenacious, a rat of socio-economic sewers. Even liberal leaders accused of being terrorist-friendly Islamic communists are willing to creatively count civilian casualties, indefinitely detain members of our own military for informing the public of their cover-ups, and sick drones onto occupants of one of the last items made by hand in the United States of America--kill lists.
The trend is that you can't tell the American public, "Another 1,000 of you might die because I believe in the principles of The United States." You can't tell the American people, "Your grandparents will die from treatable conditions because we can't find another way to balance the budget." You can't say, "No amount of money will educate your children if you don't raise them right" and expect to get elected President of the United States of America.
And so they lie. They lie because people continue to believe the lie. They lie because there are red states and there are blue states and the only changes shy of demographic forces (queue the Latino Population) and tragedies that make sphincters irrationally constrict from armchairs in DesMoines are the swing voters whose intelligence in proportion to their importance should form a benchmark through all time for dangerous ratios.
And of course, the entrenchment continues and the problems still exist.
But there's something you can do, politically-interested traveler (the other travelers fell asleep of their valises a few paragraphs back). Because those swing-voting nitwits don't write letters, won't follow their Representatives, Senators, and President like a hawk, and are mentally incapable of thinking about government outside of the proscribed boundaries of political discussion termed "an election year," you can do something.
Write a letter. Not in January after everyone's sworn in, but now. Not to Romney or Obama or any specific candidate, but now, in October, to the winners, the men and women who will have to move all of us into, and then through our problems. Those who will be in a position to either stop the wheels of government and let our problems run further ahead of us while they try to fix things on their terms, or those who want to initiate methods--however imperfect--to move us closer to addressing these problems
...fuck this is running long...
The only thing is that you have to visualize this letter going both ways. You have to write it now, before November, and you have to send it to the winners on January 20th.
I'd love to go on--despite my tirade earlier--about how to track lawmakers and keep on them and charting what you want versus what they do. Making lists of the things you want, the issues you're willing to give in on, and the issues on which you'll never surrender an inch of ground, and then deciding whether you're actually part of a whole other problem of intractable, single-perspective jackasses.
I invite you to find a decade in the past hundred years without a film featuring two Americans shrugging at each other as one says, "In this economy?"