Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Now that the election is over . . . not quite

Contrary to everything in the mainstream media, it's not quite over. As I told one of my coworkers this morning, I am cautiously optimistic, with emphasis on the word "cautiously." You don't have to be politically affiliated to know that the last eight years have pretty much been a clusterfuck, pure and simple. Heck, we can just look at our wallets to see our shrinking salaries as everything goes up in price. We can see health care for the mess it is, and don't even get me started on education.

That the U.S. managed to finally figure out that maybe we needed a change is nice. That this is a historical moment with the election of the first black man to the presidency is clear. Now, if the media would just drop it already, quit rounding up every black person they can find (preferably someone who lived during the struggle for civil rights era), and asking them "did it occur to you this would happen in your lifetime?" or a variant of that question, it would be nice. Because, folks, let's face it. Obama is inheriting one hell of a mess thanks to the previous guys, and he has his work cut out for him.

For me, one of the things that made me cautious was watching McCain's concession speech last night. No, it was not his speech. I thought his speech was very gracious. It was his followers and the big bunch of them who started booing. Because that is what I worry about. You see, at least in my humble point of view, in politics, you can disagree. You can do some trash talking. You can debate. But once the campaign is over, and there is a winner, it's time to concede, pledge to support the new guy for the sake of the nation, and move on. I just get the feeling there is a pretty vocal and significant minority out there just cleaning their rifles right about now. There is a substantial group of folks who make the Taliban look like amateurs. Not to mention that even though Obama won, bad things are still happening; his election was not the only thing in the ballots, folks. That stupidity with Prop. 8 in California comes to mind (not to mention similar measures in places like Arizona). The fact that, as of this writing, Ted Stevens (Mr. "The Internet is a Series of Tubes") might get reelected even though he is a convicted felon. That there are still a whole bunch of legislators, on both sides, who were pretty much collaborators with the mess the last administration caused and who pretty much are paid for by their lobbyists and special interest groups. It's not going to be an easy time for the new president (who I am sure has to answer to special interests of his own as well) as many would have us believe. So sure, celebrate now, but please, don't get cocky or complacent. This mess is going to take a long time to clean up, assuming the will is found to clean it up. There are a lot of wounds that need time to heal, unless the HMOs and their lobbyists actually take over, in which case those wounds will be declared pre-existing conditions and thus the insurance won't pay for it. Yes, in case you wonder, I find it pretty disgusting that in this nation health care is viewed as a commodity like oil or corn to be traded instead of a universal right like the rest of the world sees it.

Now, I am sure one of my two readers is going to ask, "why is he pissing on my corn flakes?" Maybe because I am a bit of a cynic. Maybe because I truly want to believe, and yet I have seen what stupid people in large numbers can do. Maybe because, like George Carlin would say, all politicians are bought and paid for (video link to Carlin on politicians here; some of his quotes over here). As Dr. PZ Myers, in his blog Pharyngula, puts it, "the world is a somewhat more hopeful place today than it was yesterday, but let's get real." He also went and gave some context for his view. So, take a breather, celebrate that the last years are coming to an end, then get to work. Because this is not over by a long shot. It's a new day, but that just means it's time go get to work. And we still have a lot of work to do in this nation. It's time to grab your prods and make sure that those you elected actually do something, and so something substantial and for the common good for a change.

So, we'll see.

Oh, and in case anyone wonders, yes, I did vote. It was tempting to follow Carlin's advice and stay home though.

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