In 2004, though I had high hopes, it was not really a surprise that George W. Bush was “re”-elected. Oh, there was despair. I remember the sharp feeling of disappointment at the majority of the electorate — how could they be fooled by this numbnut? — but I knew we’d all kind of muddle on.
2008 was its own thing. On Election Night it was pretty obvious how it was going to go, even if I was afraid to admit it to myself.
It’s different now. It does still seem that the president is likely to win narrowly, but it remains fully plausible that Romney could eke it out. It’s not the most likely scenario, but it would not be a huge surprise.
So what then? How do I handle that? What should be my response? There was a lot of idle chatter about a mass liberal exodus to America’s Hat in 2004, but this time it feels even more dire. I think that’s because even with a Democratic president (and Congress, if briefly), we still couldn’t seem to stop the entire political and governmental system from collapsing under the weight of the astounding cynicism, greed, and heartlessness of the GOP. Real or not, it feels as though a Romney presidency will only push things over the edge once and for all, and we will have ourselves a country we no longer recognize.
Paranoid? Probably. But I also think there’s at least a few grains of truth here. Clearly, things are going wildly off-track, despite the best intentions and efforts of the few well-meaning folks in Washington that are still left. Once the villains run the entire show, at this point in history, I’m just not confident there’s going to be very much left to salvage.
Considering how utterly discouraging the past couple of years have been (yes, despite the important successes, which have felt, however, more like freak exceptions than a sign of potential), I’m not at all sure that I can continue to be as engaged in national politics if a hollow, cynical phony like Romney is elected. I might take some solace in a Democratic Senate, but let’s be honest, the Senate’s Democrats are not exactly a coterie of socialist hippies.
The one glimmer of interest I might maintain in the wreckage of an Obama defeat might be in the cells of resistance to the newly-slavering GOP behemoth. What does a Senator Elizabeth Warren do to fight the tide of plutocracy? What kind of actitivity do we see from folks on the ground like Cory Booker? They will have so much to push against, though, and it may feel futile.
Again, I suspect I will not have to confront this. But if we are looking down the barrel of a Romney administration, I may have to avert my gaze.