Monday, October 22, 2012

Bonanza Column 255 - Enough of a House Divided

You’d think that with the election two weeks away there’d be a lot of fodder for a political column, but having written already about the IVGID and County races, I find myself seized by a curious lethargy where the other elections are concerned. It’s not that I don’t think they’re important. I believe that the outcome of the Presidential election will determine the future of this country for years to come. It’s the state races that have me fundamentally bored to tears. Dean Heller is unimpressive to me. He’s a party-line Republican for whom, as near as I can tell, an original idea would either frighten him to death or go unrecognized. Shelly Berkley, on the other hand has shown me equally little in terms of leadership, and while I don’t believe she’s as corrupt as the GOP is painting her, it’s hard to imagine there’s not something rotten in that particular Denmark, so I just can’t get excited. Mark Amodei versus who? All in all it seems like a bunch of sleepy races.
Jim Clark covered the State and County propositions well last week, and I agree with him. If the Legislature needs to meet more often, than make it a regular annual session, not some jury-rigged special session. I have no interest in our getting involved in the spitting contest between Reno and the County over emergency services, and the business of raising vehicle registration fees is too vague to be useful. I’m going to vote “no” on all three.
That leaves the Presidential race, and no one who’s read three words of just about any column I’ve written will be surprised to learn that I’m voting for Obama/Biden. I haven’t written too much about this race because it won’t be decided here – this one will be decided in two areas – the very few undecided or swing voters and that ill-conceived vehicle of elitism, the Electoral College. I don’t think there are very many undecided voters in our community, and while Nevada is considered a swing state in the Electoral vote, Clark County and the rest of Washoe County will carry far more weight in that swing than we will.
Still it’s worth considering the impact this election will likely have. The far right have hijacked the Republican Party away from its historic base and Governor Romney has shown that he will bend in the direction of whatever will get him elected. We can expect then that a Romney presidency, with the ultra-right Ryan as his Tea Party Jiminy Cricket will do its best to move the country far to the right of where it has ever been and where a majority of clear-thinking Americans want it to be. The impact of that on everyone but the very wealthy, the proverbial 1%, is likely to be devastating, with the extent of devastation increasing as you go down the socio-economic scale. Re-electing President Obama will affirm that this is still a country of more-or-less equal opportunity, a country that takes care of its poor and its veterans, and that recognizes that in the modern world certain things like decent affordable health care are a right, not a privilege.
But whichever side of the argument you’re on, one thing is sure - as a nation we are at loggerheads, and a slim or indecisive result won’t change that. Get out and vote – our best hope lies in a clear outcome; as Lincoln said, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Whoever is elected needs a mandate and a clear commitment to bring us together; we can’t give him the second but if we vote in record numbers, there’s a shot at the first.

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