Monday, November 12, 2012

Final Tap: Election Blues



These sullen last days during unguarded moments many uninvited thoughts stream through my dulled consciousness without much resistance or effort.  They simply slide in and take over the place. 

Because for many American these are times of forced reflection and maybe apt times for making resolves on how to fare better given the most recent unimaginable loss of their favored candidates.

 I would like to continue entertaining one such thought and allow it enough rein to go where it wants to venture unfettered by societal conventions and sensitivities.  After all, in this particular exercise I find myself the least likely to be accused of entertaining and expressing such socially radioactive narrative since I am a first generation immigrant and belong to a very small and inconsequential minority group

I think about the many families around the US gathered at their kitchen tables or cozy living rooms, mulling over what happened during the last elections.  How it could possibly happen when in this particular instance the choice for them was almost a no-brainer and clear as daylight, using the time-honored yardsticks that most would measure their candidates?  It leaned heavily on one such candidate.  Thus the shocking result was totally unexpected and almost unimaginable.  In their minds the win was almost a given, with the only doubts entertained centering on why the polling margins between the two contenders had not mirrored the remarkable clarity of the choice.  In the earnest assessment of many honest citizens the unmistakable choice was between a bungling incumbent whose current tenure is littered with ugly failures and missteps which reeked of incompetence and inattention against a staid, successful, and articulate businessman and governor whose platform promised to put the country back on its track and to rectify the wrong paths taken by his incumbent opponent.  All this backed by a past record of successes, and more.  Not necessarily the best candidate for the occasion but decidedly a lot better than the current occupant. Yet the election results proved otherwise, almost devilishly taunting.

So these American families deep in their thoughts must be suffering through a lot of discomfiting feelings about the country that they most probably treasure a lot. 

For what is to follow, I cull and gather from various sources such as most recent reactions from pundits representing the losing side and countless comments from their followers, as well as jubilant and ecstatic voices coming from the winners and those who supported them.  Let me be the fly on the wall in the said kitchen tables or cozy living rooms not only to listen virtually to conversations. But to allow me the unencumbered latitude to push that further by trying to intrude into their minds and to divine and fathom whatever serious thoughts may be lurking there. Maybe mostly unexpressed and suppressed by choice or rote. Not able to see daylights because of their sensitive nature, which default reservation is deemed important for these same people taught over the ages to value their fellow human beings and practice generosity and compassion where wanting.

But like I said, I would not be hindered by such reticence or reservation.  Anyway these are just random musings that are not necessarily there, but are definitely within the realm of possibility.

But who are these American families?

I picture these countless families with history-rich genealogies maybe stretching to the civil war and beyond, and prone to quoting from the collected wisdom handed down from one generation to the next.  Thus, they proudly talk about valuable lessons on hard work, rugged individualism or self-reliance, and strict adherence to traditional values of behavior and self-worth such as fairness and courtesy.  Families unabashedly proud of their lineage and very committed to defending their past and its values and traditions.  Very solicitous of the no-nonsense logic they have earned imbibing and learning from their ancestors.

Fading memories of the Founding Fathers, genius in their insights and understanding of complex issues many still to  be experienced by a foundling nation, dedicated warriors from both sides battling each other over issues of slavery and deadly committed to their own causes giving birth to unheralded  fairness and equality being enjoyed by ensuing generations,  countless sons and daughters over the ages who offered ultimate sacrifices for inherited values, beliefs, and benefits they wanted shared by the rest of humanity, etc, all these crowding and clouding with mist the minds of many of these families.

These are the families now confused and unable to understand what had happened.  Where did they interpret events incorrectly so that their judgments missed their mark by a mile?  What happened to their logical approach to issues of government?  Why wasn’t this election a referendum of the incumbent administration as is typical in such a situation? Instead of a concerted demolition job against the person of the challenger? Why all gone to aught?

I say it is clear that radical changes have come abruptly not giving these steadfast families sufficient time to soak in and understand the changed climate.  Possibly disoriented, their reflexes become muddled and their understanding unsure.

Changing demographics, that’s why.  Demographics that now cross ethnic boundaries and have plowed into areas like age and location, new moralities, secularism, the historic clash between the makers and the takers, etc.

Consider a candid video in question. Jubilant supporters of the winner on the streets right after the proclamation of the winners, praising the era of big government and the promises of largess for their group.  “Government is not the enemy, it is the solution, and I embrace socialism totally.” Which group? – young college students from some well-known university, and all white and looking privileged

A quite clear indication that demographics in this instance has crossed ethnic boundaries and may now be reckoned  based on age and location, like the big coastal cities where these big fans of government are now domiciled.

Of course, we still have the traditional refinements of demographics, like of certain minorities growing faster in numbers and thus acquiring more political clout.  Congregating in large cities and flexing their partisan muscles to the max. Eager to define their own brand of what an American should be and trying to cash in on their novel ideas, bills of goods promoted snidely by shrewd and unscrupulous politicians eager to gather their votes.

And from the results, these purveyors of government entitlements have definitely won the day.  But can they deliver as promised?  Logical persons doubt the promised outcomes.

Back to these same American families.  One man, one vote.  Realizing their miscalculation after the initial shock, they have to start believing now that because of that revered maxim in a democracy, their well-crafted judgments informed by their honesty and adherence to time-honored principles cannot anymore triumph if their numbers are greatly overwhelmed by newer breeds of the voters who entertain diametrically opposed metrics of government.  And such is what happened during the last election.

And for some vexing reason, turnout on the side of those who took their government very seriously was quite dismal, made much worse because of many fundamentally urgent issues involved in the election.

And what about partisanship?  In no other election as the last, where the primacy of partisanship has been glaringly shown to be very acutely significant and may trump logic and/or self-preservation. One that can now never be discounted however political cards are stacked.  Nowadays, it is not unusual for party affiliation to trump any and all relevant issues, including issues of self-interest or self-preservation.  So that a constituency hurt most by a candidate’s administration and party will continue to support that failed presidency in almost unimaginable ratios like in the 90’s simply because the candidate is not only considered one in ethnicity and/or cause, but shares the same party affiliation.  California and New York and yes, Illinois,  are examples of huge states that will continue their miserable failed status quo simply because their electorate considered party is above all.

In the ensuing fateful convergence of the above-cited factors, the side with the least logical reasons to triumph marched off with glee and jubilation to rule for another term.