The Common Good
November 2004

It's Almost Over...

by Ed Spivey Jr. | November 2004

We'll miss much about the election season. Or not.

This has been a tough election season,

This has been a tough election season, a grueling, no-holds-barred slugfest filled with rumors, lies, and innuendo. And that was just on Fox News.

Thankfully, it’s almost time to move beyond the bickering and divisiveness and start thinking about life after Nov. 2. But first, Zell Miller...YOU’RE A STINKER! Okay, now we can move beyond the bickering and divisiveness.

Depending on who is elected, we could see a very different future for this country. If one candidate wins, our nation will roll up its sleeves and begin the arduous task of recovering from a debilitating deficit, an unprecedented rollback of environmental protection, and an ill-conceived war.

Come to think of it, that sounds like a lot of work. So forget that.

If the other candidate wins, the to-do list will be much shorter: Move to Canada.

Regardless of the results, there is no question it will be another victory for the democratic electoral process which, since our nation’s very first presidential election, has always represented the will of the people. Except for the last time.

But no matter. The process works, and once again throughout the land freedom will be ringing. (Or maybe that’s just the sound of seniors counting their change at the pharmacy, seeing if they have enough for the rest of the month.)

Perhaps more important, this election again confirmed that the rights of the minority - a core principle of our democracy - are still being protected with vigor. In establishing a government of majority rule, our founding fathers understood that protections must also exist for those outside the mainstream, such as themselves, and that people should never be discriminated against because of their economic position, such as theirs, since they were rich and most everybody else was poor. (Back then you could tell the difference by the powdered wigs, which rich people don’t wear today. They’d like to, but it’s really annoying to have to hold on to a powdered wig when you’re rushing to the bank with another tax rebate check.)

WE HAVE TO admit we’ll miss some things about this election season. We’ll miss Vice President Richard "Dick" Cheney warning Americans that the sky was falling and that, if you voted for John Kerry, a meteor could hit your house at any moment. Cheney later clarified that, in all probability, a meteor would just hit somewhere in your neighborhood.

We’ll also miss the vice president claiming that stem cell research is a states’ rights issue that does not require constitutional protection, after acknowledging that his own daughter is, in fact, a stem cell. (Although I might be getting that mixed up.)

We’ll miss John Kerry defending his voting record with fascinating and circuitous explanations - frequently using the English language. Sadly, his heartfelt clarifications were often lost on voters who, despite trying really hard to listen and understand, can be forgiven if their attention wandered. ("Oh look. A butterfly!")

We’ll miss our image of Karl Rove - trembling with glee, lips moist with anticipation - as he guided the Bush campaign toward another detour from the real issues, forcing the Democrats to vigorously deny that their candidate was ever married to Jane Fonda.

To be fair, we have to feel sorry for Rove, who was unable to capitalize on a study released late in the campaign that people with Alzheimer’s disease actually vote more than healthy people. True fact: In the 2000 election, an elderly man in Florida wanted to vote for Franklin Roosevelt, so his wife entered the voting booth with him and filled out his ballot. It is unclear if the results of the election ushered in the New Deal he was hoping for, but what is clear is that his wife voted twice. In Florida.

Sigh.

We’ll miss former Vice President Al "Al" Gore getting emotional during his speeches. In a stark departure from his earlier campaign (slogan: "I’m Alive. No, Really.") he often spewed invective against White House policies. Fortunately, people in the front row had been warned and were dressed appropriately. (When former vice presidents spew, they’ve got range, and that invective stuff doesn’t wash out.)

Looking a little farther back, we’ll particularly miss the heated discussions over the president’s faith-based initiative, a good idea that was abandoned because it was impossible to pronounce without a lisp. OFFICIAL: "This faith-bathed...no, I mean faste-based...er, fashed-bashed.... Forget it. Just give the money to the Pentagon."

Ed Spivey Jr. is art director of Sojourners.

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