Monday, October 06, 2008

Hunker down for the final month

Time to dig a hole to hide in and pull a rock over the entrance until Election Day. It's getting ugly out there.

I had a theory about a year ago that whoever took over after George Bush would only last one term. Everyone is eager to have the messes straightened out. The messes are bigger than four or eight years can undo, even under the best leadership. Bush's detractors often dislike him for opposite reasons, meaning that no single ideology will quiet all the restless citizens.

On the other hand, this campaign has demonstrated that every candidate is flawed. George Bush's administration has given us a new model for how bad an executive branch can be. The voters have lower expectations than ever before. We may simply have entered a new era of symbolic mass executions in which we heave whole blocs of elected officials at every opportunity. I can't begin to detail all the unintended consequences I can imagine from a culture that thinks citizen responsibility begins and ends at the voting booth. At the same time I can understand the frustration busy citizens feel when trying to decipher complex issues and send intelligent messages to their representatives at any level. It's so much easier to flush as many of them as possible down the toilet and hope that whoever replaces them somehow manages to run things to our satisfaction without having to be steered in any way.

With so much information now available on line, voters can be pushed by uncharted currents filled with messages tailored closely to individuals and small groups. Single-issue and narrow-interest voters can be reached more efficiently by these methods.

The actual candidate who reaches office will never be better than a mixed blessing. So enjoy the anticipation of perfection while you can. Anything is possible until events prove otherwise.

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