I think, in a lot of ways, this campaign has been going on since the Supreme Court put and end to counting votes in Florida, so it's not really surprising that I'm tired of it. I'm looking forward to Wednesday, when it will be over.
Then we can all start arguing about who got screwed.
Maybe what we ought to do, when this election is over, is go back to our real lives. Our government is not designed for 100% citizen attention. Let the Republic work like a republic; send our representatives to Washington and then don't pay any attention to them for a while.
I enjoy Election Days. I enjoy voting; I go early in the morning because it makes me feel good all day. At night, I lay-in a supply of Diet Pepsi and Cheetos and watch three or four TV channels at once. The returns rolling in from parts of the country I've never visited are like postcards from long-lost friends. I like hearing from Idaho and New Hampshire and Mississippi and my old Congressional district in California. I like the little stories the anchors are prepped with: "The First District, of course, was for 32 years represented by Congressman Anthony Bean, who retired this year, so this is the first contested election they've have there since Congressman Bean rode in on Richard Nixon's coat tails."
This Tuesday night, I'll be watching and enjoying myself, but I'll also be dreading Wednesday morning. I'm afraid our political class is going to disgrace itself on Wednesday, setting the tone for four more years of nightmarish rancor. I suspect we're going to hear a lot of whining, and I suspect blogworld will lead the way.
I hope and pray that we can go back to work with the celebratory feeling we should all have after watching another democratic miracle. We have, in the most vociferous and occaisionally acrimonious way, held our political leadership accountable, tested their mettle, and made our statement. And now it's time to feel pride and wave the flag and take a break from calling eachother names. On Wednesday it's time, once again, to become simply "Americans."
That's the measure of patriotism, to me: Can you lose the election and then go along with what your countrymen chose, even though you disagreed with it?
We need to do that now. After all these months of political cut-throat, after all the insults and slanders and apocalyptic lies, we need to forgive each other and go on, because ultimately we're all on the same side. It will take courage and tolerance and respect from all parties, but it's what we need to do now. It's what we need very badly to do.
The party that wins should make a point of being inclusive: Reach across the aisle to fill cabinet positions, go back to the times when the ruling party in Congress let the minority participate in the legislative process, maybe even make a show of liking people from the other party. Live by one absolute rule: Under no circumstances is it acceptable to call into question the good faith of your opponents. Don't assume that the person arguing against you is doing it because they're stupid or corrupt or un-American. They're doing it because they disagree, and people can disagree without being evil.