Tomorrow, in case you've been living in the deepest Sahara or the remotest Himalayas (and in that case, how are you reading this?) is election day in these united states. Not so united these days. But can I say what a relief that it'll be (mostly?) (sort of?) (maybe?) over. The suspense has been carving away bits of my sanity for months now and I know I'm not the only one who feels it. Today while I was waiting outside the kindergarten gate for Damian, I chatted with another mom. She said she's been feeling very stressed lately. The work deadlines she's staring down? No, the election. It's been driving her nuts. She's really scared. Not sleeping well. I know what she means. How on earth did it come to this? I know but I don't understand. I can trace the evolution, evaluate the hate, but it still defies sense.
Part of that hate is good for the Democrats. It may fuel a huge voter turnout, a lot of passion. People want Bush out. People are willing to make that happen. Enough people feeling strongly enough to overcome the now-clear and so-vile voter suppression tactics? Remains to be seen, of course. But one thing that saddens me is how many people are really not voting for Kerry per se but rather against Bush. They seem to think Kerry will be a mediocre president but that this trumps the rabid rightwing thinking and selfish destructive actions of the current administration. They're voting for Not-Bush. And I would too. I'd hold my nose and vote if I thought it was needed. I've done it before. But this time I'm not.
I like John Kerry. As a man but also as a statesman. This assessment by Rude Pundit sums up some of the many times Kerry's acted with strength and a profound moral center, disregarding the politically expedient for the ethically righteous. He has smarts, a knowledge of how Washington really works, and years of experience on Capitol Hill.
I think he's the kind of politician who seldom gets elected these days, with the presidency more of a charisma contest than a serious weighing of strengths and weaknesses, ideologies and capabilities. This is the kind who gets elected in a parliamentary system where he can be swept in as his party's leader. Not the kind of man who gets elected in our lowest-common-denominator smart-people-are-too-snooty we-want-a-buddy-in-the-White-House mentality. What we really want, I think, is a celebrity. Someone who looks good on TV. Someone who speaks in sound bites. So John Kerry doesn't look so good to people. And his campaign manager chose to avoid selling his Senate record to the public because it was painted with complex layers of color, not over-obvious black and white talking points. But the black-and-white types? They're not so good at the actual governing. They look pretty but they can't type. And a man like Kerry, I think he would (and fingers crossed, will) make a very good president indeed.