On one side, a hope-and-change machine started up, despite signs of sputtering, stuttering, and stalling out from time to time. But, it always responded well to CPR, then would get right back on track, going down the center of the road.
On the other side, a blockade machine was built. It swerved hard right all the time, otherwise working flawlessly, halting all forward progress with random exclamations of "NO!" and "One term only or else!" and "Over our dead body!"
That was four years ago. Feels more like forty.
Both machines had constant tinkering as they rattled and wheezed along. The blockade machine worked out better than hoped: Its sworn mission was to stop everything cold until it could be in the lead. It most always did.
The hope-and-change machine went through cycles of falling back, then racing back to catch up, where it would have been. It would now and then do something observers thought nearly impossible -- surprising onlookers and its operators, too -- then, it would go back to running normally.
Both sides declared victory and went back to building new machines.
* * * * *
When the smoke clears, some estimates say the election will have sucked up $6 billion -- six thousand piles of one million dollars each. Funny how there's always more money for one more attack ad, but never enough to fix a piecemealed voting system to a level of paper-trail accountability and trust. In America, you get a receipt for buying a stick of gum -- but not for voting. This tells us which one is now seen to be worth more.
* * * * *
Dribbles of leftover rhetoric and fact-checked confetti litter the empty arenas, schools, donut shops, and diner parking lots. Scraps of speeches shuffle along sidewalks with scattered sheets of newspaper, all of them directionless sails on the wind.
Here's a scrap now: Romney had more than 800 vetoes while a one-term Governor of Massachusetts. His blocks were overridden 95% of the time. This must be the treasured, bipartisan "working together" he's so fond of mentioning: The legislature says Yes, he says No Way, and the Legislature says Oh Yes once again.
There's nothing like working together as partners, to get things done, and get America back on track!
* * * * *
It's America, not a banana republic -- yet more people than ever are wondering if the election's on the level. Maybe it's Banana Republican now. Everywhere you look are Republican efforts to keep people from voting -- intimidation, harassment, confusion, suppression...
The processes and places of voting are more suspicious, crowded, under-served, choked with shouters and enforcers, and are more compromised than ever. The other side fights back with polling place monitors of its own, and hordes of lawyers sent out across the country to try to keep people's voting rights intact.
Yep, sounds like a Banana Republican to me. Real Americans wouldn't do shameless crap like this.
It's another very ugly vote -- hanged effigies at the polling places and all. What? Racism? Here?
* * * * *
The steady drumbeat of headlines is inescapable: Too Close to Call! Down to the Wire! Dead Heat! Cliffhanger!
I look at Romney and see all the value and attraction of a retreaded, recapped snow tire with a blowout, mounted on a rusted-out rim. I wonder if it's just the media, squeezing out the last few precious drops of angst in the contest, making us all nail-biters up to the elbow, frantically tuned in, thereby popping up their ad rates for every set of eyeballs counted...
... or, if this is meant to inflate the seeming value of Romney, a candidate with as much charisma, sense, and skill as a baloney sandwich that's been riding around, forgotten, in someone's back overall pocket all summer long.
Maybe this is the prep work for another election steal, smoothing the way via the hype of this race that's just too close to call!
If it's stolen, as Banana Republicans always try to do -- they have nothing to offer regular people, after all, as the party of corporations, and can only win through duplicity, dirty tricks, and theft -- they can point to the "close race" and tell you, deadpanned, they knew this would sure be a close one.
* * * * *
Just when we thought we needed to watch out for the zombies who've drunk the Kool-Aid, it turns out we need to keep an eye on those who look like regular folk, too, having hearty breakfasts down at the Banana Republican Cafe: heaping bowls of Stupid Flakes, Half-Wit Grits, Daft Donuts, Wafflin' Waffles, Moron Meringue Pie, or having some Eggs-Dimbulb-Side-Up with a side of Dumb Bunny Sausages -- and a hot cup of copycat or Brain-Free Tea, to go.
There's one helluva lotta 'Mericans eating off this same menu today, and they all think they've placed their orders just right -- even the ones who didn't notice the Cutthroat on the menu wasn't trout, it was them.
* * * * *
Not to be outdone at the Fox Reality Bubble -- please, no sharp thinking or sharp points waved around inside the studio bubble -- there's been a leap onto another non-issue they're trying to birth: a Presidential remark about revenge and voting.
In FoxWorld's Aha! Gotcha! News, this is proof positive that the Socialist Kenyan in the White House is an angry black man with a demonic hidden agenda. It should be simultaneously said that, in FoxWorld, no one is capable of reading a birth certificate or defining what "socialism" might actually be, in all its flavors, even if you offered test subjects their own means of answer production.
All this story proves is the inability of FoxWorld to interpret allusions to literature, and the tireless insanity of Banana Republicans. It also proves that the incumbent and his advisors have been 100% correct on how the President would have been viewed in FoxWorld, if his leadership had been too bold or emotionally strong -- he would have been seen and charged just the way he is currently, and most ridiculously, charged.
* * * * *
You remember the press loves the "beer test" -- how people would feel about having a beer with a candidate as being some sort of yeasty litmus test of electability. I propose we sitch to another criteria: Would you buy a used car from this person?
If your answer's yes, you're on to something. If it's no -- or even yes, with the proviso that you would very, very closely check your hand after having it shaked -- then that's a real clue, too.
* * * * *
Tiredness can usually be cured overnight with some sleep, while exhaustion can take a week or two of rest. Weariness, on the other hand, may take years to respond to any cure -- even continue indefinitely, until the right mix is found of rest, relaxation, revitilization.
Well, no matter. Can't think about that now. Four years have passed, and the quadrennial alarm clock bells are pealing like mad. It's time to wheel the country out onto the national stage in its sick bed anyway, right on cue, even if it does look more bedraggled, drugged-out, and dragged-out than usual in its shabby bedclothes, dazed and confused, rubbing its eyes.
Happy Election Day. Here we go again, anticlimax (yawn) and all.
Six billion dollar election: http://www.opb.org/news/article/npr-any-way-you-describe-it-2012-campaign-spending-is-historic/
Hanged effigies at polling place: http://www.wtsp.com/news/watercooler/article/280771/58/NC-officials-investigate-hanged-Obama-effigy
Banana Republican revenge tale: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/11/todays-ignoramus-nation-moment-best-revenge/264502/
It's an election - what could go wrong? http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/04/14923543-will-election-day-be-a-perfect-storm-four-nightmare-scenarios-for-what-could-go-wrong?lite&ocid=msnhp&pos=1
Make your prediction: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19794259