Tuesday, America will make a most important decision! On Wednesday, the tumultuous election of 2012 will be finally over. Thanks be to God!
At 79, I’ve lived through many presidential elections. This one was undoubtedly the longest, most divisive, most cruelly bitter, and most obscenely costly political process I’ve witnessed. I’m very grateful the ordeal is finished. But the question begs, what made this election such an ordeal; what made it so different?
First of all, the 2010 Supreme Court Decision called Citizens United that allowed Corporations to financially support candidates like individuals, opened the flood gates for exorbitant donations to flow into candidate coffers.
Never have we been so swamped with such a deluge of political hype. This flood of money began in June ’12, when the State of Wisconsin was purchased by Republicans spending fortunes of Super PAC (the corporate political action committees) donations. The possibility of buying an election was tried and proven.
The financial firestorm was ignited. It sadly continued through the presidential campaigns. In the recent weeks, corporate interests have attempted to purchase the nation. Hopefully they failed.
With the willing help of the electronic media, however, increasingly spurious, salacious and sinister advertisements were aired in hopes of evoking a thoughtless but highly emotional and favorable response for the chosen candidate.
With such visual and visceral stimulus inciting and evoking angry emotions of both candidates and voters, there is little wonder the campaign rhetoric got so heated. Sadly, like is so many emotional tirades, there was only heat, and very little light.
Then there was the Tea Party. In 2010 its leader proclaimed that the only future focus of the neocon Republicans was to defeat Obama in 2012.
The election began with that challenge. The tragic consequence was a neocon controlled House of Representatives whose only purpose was to make the president look bad.
They said “No” to his efforts to remedy the economic ills left to him by his predecessor, and the shouted “No” to any attempt by him to serve all the people.
So many Tea Party Congressmen/women succumbed to the despot Grover Norquist and signed a pledge “never” to raise taxes. That pledge protected the “rich and powerful” who the president believed should carry a larger load of America’s financial needs. The “Pledge” was more important than the nation.
Obedience, not thought, became the measure of neocon worthiness. The frustration of moderates seeking negotiation and compromise resulted in some Republicans departing their Party.
Finally, and most tragically, immediately upon the president’s election in 2008, deep seeded, seething and stealth racism began to slither out from under the rocks.
Page 2 of 3 - Sadly, an old demonic impulse in Americans found a new target. There was a “black man” in “our White House.”
To the racists this was an abomination. They enthusiastically latched on to the challenge by the neocons. Their total focus was to correct this aberration and win back the White House for a white man.
A recent AP survey articulated the rise in racist power, reporting that for the first time in many years, the majority of Americans are bigoted against African-Americans.
The vehement denunciation of the president wasn’t aimed at his programs, it was aimed at him; he was increasingly hated because of who he is.
Under that shadow, political opponents suddenly became political enemies; verbiage became more and more hate-filled and cruel; the accusations of fraudulent birth records and religious affiliation became more absurd and satanic; even the sale of hand-guns spiked as phony alarms were whispered, or sometimes shouted.
The whole campaign of 2012 sank into the mud and muck of unabashed, unfounded, and uncivilized emotions. It has been a tragedy and a betrayal of all for which America stands.
Let us give thanks it will soon be ended. Let us hope we will have survived.
Anyone who has read anything I’ve written knows for whom I’m voting. I vote the Democrat ticket; I vote for every person seeking election under the Democrat banner. I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say, Democrats have done more good for more people more times; and that means all of them, not just those few who head the ticket.
If my people prevail, I will be very thankful and happy. I believe with all my heart Barack Obama and his team (from Congress, to Kansas, to the city council and county commission) deserve another four years to complete the healing of our nation from the terrible, costly and deadly wounds of the Bush administration’s immoral and costly conquests. I hope the Democrats win.
Should the people choose otherwise, however, I will be sad, but not bitter. If there is another Republican president and administration, I will be part of the “loyal opposition.” I will be an opponent, and never an enemy of whomever is president, senator, congressman, legislature, mayor, councilman, or commissioner.
He/she represents me, and I will support them even as I oppose them. I will surely never hate them whatever their color, their religion, their sexual orientation, or their gender.
They are Americans elected by Americans to serve Americans. For the past two years, we’ve had the perfect political storm: unlimited self-serving funds, ideological fanaticism and hateful racism converging on this next Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Page 3 of 3 - Let us pray that we do our duty, weather the storm, emerge into calm and peace with little or no damage.
If so, America again will truly have proven its noble character and lived the truth as a people whose good “is crowned with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.”
Fr. Bob Layne is a Episcopal Priest-retired, living in McPherson. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.