The Choice 2012


Let’s start with the answer to the question that will come up: I’m a registered Independent.  The short answer why, is while I certainly lean in a certain direction more often than not, I also have an aversion to giving any political party the assurance they can count on my vote no matter what they do.  So with that lovely introduction…

Malcolm X had a funny analogy he used when talking about American politics.  I’m paraphrasing but essentially he would compare Republicans to the wolves who bared their teeth (so you know exactly where they stood) and Democrats to the wolves who kept their teeth hidden (waiting to gain your trust before they ate you).  Near the end, his viewpoint evolved somewhat, and he saw positives in participating in the political system (the Ballot or the Bullet).  But in this current climate, I’ve thought more often than not about his older analogy.

Political Science 101 taught us that with a two party system, both sides will campaign toward the center (the magical ‘swing vote’ territory) before returning to their natural position after the election.  For the first time in my voting life however, we seem to be in the middle of an election cycle where the two parties are going into their respective National Conventions with ‘lines in the sand’ very far apart from each other.  In simpler terms, this year it seems improbable that anyone who follows politics could be ‘undecided’.  Depending on where you fall on the spectrum, both parties have done a great/horrifying job of painting the picture of what their plan will be for the future of this country.  The only thing both campaigns seem to have in common is an underlying message of ‘And do you know how screwed up we’ll all be if the other guy wins?”

As disconcerting as it is to think there are simultaneous campaigns for the Presidency using fear as a prime selling point, I’m more worried about what happens post November.  This much I know: one side will win, the other side will be even more angry and frustrated than they are now.  If this was a movie, we would be at the point where the supervillain shows the hero his two hostages, and lets the hero know he only has time to save one.  In the movies of course, this always works out: the hostages save each other or some ‘deus ex machina’ comes into play.

But again, this is real life.  When one side emerges victorious, are they going to extend an olive branch to their opponent?  Will the opponent accept it and go back to business as usual as far as politics go?

At this exact moment, I don’t know…

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