Election Day

I am so happy election day is here. Not so much because I am looking forward to voting this afternoon, but to get rid of the canvassers, the spammers, and the haters. Yes, especially the haters, those who are so solidly on one side or another that they cannot fathom how someone can vote for the other party. Worse, they view their opponents as stupid.

I know a lot of these people, and every time someone yells "Bush is the worst president in history!!!" or "You don't want socialism do you??" at me, it makes me want to vote for the other party just out of spite. Luckily, idiots exist in equal numbers on both sides enough that there is just not enough spite to go around.I am still on the fence on this election. I have reviewed both candidates' stances here, and to be perfectly honest, it is a dead heat. As both parties represent my interests to a near draw (and both have things I don't like, naturally), the outcome of the election for me will be little more than a curiosity. Also of interest will be seeing the idiots go "Thank God our country chose RIGHT!" or "I'm moving to Canada!!!" And then witness the ensuing bar-room scuffles that always accompany election night in the Washington, DC, area. Fun.

My sentiments are also aptly summarized by Glenn Reynolds:
    We've had eight years of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Before that, we had eight years of Clinton Derangement Syndrome. And though people forget it now, President Reagan inspired a lot of anger and hatred, too. Can I ask that, regardless of who wins, we tone things down a bit?

    There's been a bit of leadership on this front in the blogosphere. Rightish blogger Rick Moran, in a post entitled If Elected, Obama Will Be My President, wrote: "An Obama election will mean changes – not all of them for the better. So be it. We will fight like hell against what we believe to be wrong. But we [will] not do it by trying to delegitimize the elected president." In response, leftish blogger (and famous science fiction writer) John Scalzi wrote: "This is exactly right. And this is why, you'll notice if you crawl the Whatever archives, I have made a point of noting that George Bush is my president. … One of the reasons I have always registered as an independent voter is that I believe my highest allegiance as a voter is not to a political party but to the Constitution of the United States, the foundational document of our law. Our Constitution sets up the system we use to choose a president. If a candidate--any candidate--fulfills the requirements of that system to become our president, then I believe it's my duty to acknowledge that, yes, that candidate is now my president. I can criticize that president, argue with that president, loathe that president and work to replace that president in the manner allowed for by the Constitution … but what I can't do is deny that he or she is my president. That's wrong, factually and morally, and it's dismissive of the Constitution of the United States."

    I agree. I thought it was wrong when Bush supporters in 1992 slapped "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Bush" stickers on their cars before Clinton was even sworn in. The simmering Clinton-hatred was bad for the country and, for that matter, for Republicans. Likewise, the even more over-the-top Bush-hatred of the past eight years has been bad for our polity, and for the haters. Now I hope that whoever wins, the nation will follow the lead of Moran and Scalzi.

    You don't have to love the "other guy." You don't have to hold back on fighting against policies you don't like. You don't have to pull punches. But once someone is duly and legally elected president, you do owe some respect to the office and the Constitution. And to your fellow Americans.

    I'm not an Obama fan, particularly, but a lot of people I like and respect are. To treat Obama as something evil or subhuman would not only be disrespectful toward Obama, but toward them. Instead, I hope that if Obama is elected, their assessment of his strengths will turn out to be right, and mine will turn out to be wrong. Likewise, those who don't like John McCain or Sarah Palin might reflect that by treating Palin and McCain as obviously evil and stupid, they're disrespecting tens of millions of their fellow Americans who feel otherwise. And treating a presidency held by a guy you don't like as presumptively illegitimate suggests that presidents rule not by election, but by divine right, so that whenever the "other guy" wins, he's automatically a usurper.

    We don't have to agree on issues, or on leaders. But if we can't agree that a free and fair election can produce a legitimate president even when it's not the candidate we like, then we've got a very serious problem.
In short, go vote, and save the crying for your like-minded followers and let the smart people have peace.

1 comment:

Handsome, Powerful Man said...

My friend speaks wisely....so let me add just one more suggestion. We can accomplish much of what Mr. Jones (and those he quotes) suggests, but it may be even easier if we remember this, which you may remember having your mother tell you when you were two:

If you choose to criticize, do so constructively.

Bitching just to bitch accomplishes absolutely nothing.

Here's to four better years, however we may get there.