(Swans - November 19, 2012) As written in "2012 Election Oblivion" I've had no interest whatsoever in the US presidential election, though I added that I would be glad to see Michelle Obama and her two beautiful daughters, Malia and Sasha, stay in the White House for another four years. They will. President Obama was reelected without much contest, except in the TV channels that wanted to make the race competitive -- it never was -- so that they could keep hoi poloi watching their ads. The electoral process was once again corrupt -- a sham. The display of racism was disgraceful and shameful. Third-party candidates were utterly ignored. Money reigned even though the Republicans did not get much result for their obscene spending. In the midst of this charade, however, there were a few shining moments, particularly the election of Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. So, here we go, four more years of the same old same that has carried on for decades.
Here we are, almost two weeks after the election is over, and the final tally is not yet known, albeit Obama has definitely won -- but the full results (vote count) are still unknown. This is due to an electoral process that is dominated in states and counties by political operatives who organize that process as they see fit. It's a totally incoherent system in which people vote through many different procedures (electronic voting machines, paper ballots, punching cards, e-mails, etc.). The efforts to suppress votes are well documented. In many precincts where minorities (meaning Asians, blacks, and Latinos) were voting, the poll locations were changed at the last minute, without letting the voters know about the new locations. In multiple instances voters had to stay in line for six, seven, even eight hours to be able to cast their ballots (keep in mind that these people are wage earners and since the vote takes place for historical reasons on a Tuesday, they lost a full day of income). The process is so rotten and corrupt that people don't even care to participate in it anymore.
Yes, Mr. Obama may have gotten some 63 million votes and Mr. Romney 59 million, but a full 77 million voters did not care showing up to the polls. There is little democracy left in America -- if it ever was -- and as Joel S. Hirschhorn shows in these pages, more harm is coming our way so long as the myth of American exceptionalism is not thrown into the dustbin of history.
Third-party candidates did not register on the radar screen. Shunned, ignored by the media apparatus, and unfunded, they scored merely one percent of the vote. Ralph Nader had suggested that people vote for either Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson. Stein got 0.35% of the vote (about 435,000 people, including that of my dear wife) and Anderson got 0.03% (about 39,000 people). To say the least, the influence of Ralph Nader, if it ever existed, is pretty much over. To me, getting into the fray is a waste of time and energy. People will have to figure out on their own terms what needs be done to change our socioeconomic system.
More disgraceful yet was the racist connotation of this campaign. Since Obama was first elected in 2008 there has been a relentless series of attacks on him. He was black. He was a Muslim in disguise. He was a socialist. He was un-American. This election cycle did not miss a beat. Even Mr. Romney and his supporters added to the trashing of the president, not because of his policies but because of his very being.
Forget the fact that Obama was born from a white woman and a black man -- what is it that the pigmentation of one's skin has any incidence on one's character? What is it? Oppose the man for his policies, as I do, but not because of his skin pigmentation. Totally outrageous and, sadly, a reflection on American society...
Here are examples of what transpired during this election. I got them from this Web page entitled "Fucking Nigger won Again." Obviously, I have no way of knowing whether this Web page will remain on line (the usual conundrum of any research on the Web). So, let me provide you with three short samples of the hatred directed toward Mr. Obama:
"No NIGGER should lead this country!!!"
"So the nigger is still living life in that big white apartment."
"Looking like another 4 years with the monkey in office."
"Nigger," "monkey"... Here is a post from a (California located) 22-year-old woman on her Facebook page: "Another 4 years of this Nigger. Maybe he will get assassinated this term." Once her post went viral, and she was unaware of US Code Section 871, she followed up on her account: "I didn't think it would be that big of a deal. The assassination part is kind of harsh. I'm not saying like I would go do that or anything like that, by any means, but if it was to happen, I don't think I'd care one bit." She went on to write: "I'm not racist and I'm not crazy. just simply stating my opinion.!!!"
An opinion? How much more sickening can it get?
Again, oppose the main policies (though I'd be curious to hear about what you would do), but never, ever vilify the character, whether the man is white or black, red or blue, gay or straight, or whatever the colors of the rainbow.
Some people rejoiced that the money spent by the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and the Karl Rove Super PACs did not deliver the expected results. The Republican ideologues got creamed. Money did not matter after all. I tend to disagree with this position. It will be argued that since Republican money did not win the election, the Supreme Court decision ("Citizens United") was correct. It was not. The candidates were the wrong ones, but the money did buy the elections on both sides -- and the third-party candidates have no longer any chance to be heard...so long as the US political paradigm is fundamentally altered.
However, something sweet came out of these elections besides having the ideologues and bigots defeated. Old man Bernie Sanders got reelected in Vermont, as well as a few other non-extremist Democrats. But, above all, Elizabeth Warren trounced Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Elizabeth Warren, who had been chased out of government by a Republican Senate and refused the position of head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau she was instrumental in creating, is back into play, a member of the coming Senate; a wonderful and respected woman -- yes, a woman -- that the country direly needs. Kudos to her.
Now, if only President Obama could bring to his cabinet Sheila Bair, the formidable former head of the FDIC and the author of a book that everybody should read, Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself (Free Press, Sept. 2012), should you want to learn about the financial crisis and the people who created it, I'd be a happy camper.
When will real adults take care of the house of ours? Sheila Bair and Elizabeth Warren are like Jan Baughman...my kind of women who ought to be in a leadership position in business and politics. Whether it will ever happen, I do not know, but I surely am glad that this shameful election cycle is over.
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