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The Election: Feeling the Fear

November 3, 2008

Who is feeling the fear this election? Only those that fear defeat.

To keep the pulse on the minds of the pundits, experts and the American public, as an independent, I subscribe to a wide body of political literature and emails. Among the electioneering desperate, no stone will be unturned as special interest groups seek to influence the remaining American citizens that haven’t voted yet. Some of what both sides say is truly ridiculous. Some statements are outright fabrication. Usually, the truth is shades in-between. The fear of defeat is palpable.

The United States as a nation has survived through plenty in the last 30 years, much of that time under a Republican president and sometimes not. A President can do plenty to both influence Congress and inspire Americans, sometimes even the world.

Presidents are also prone to make mighty mistakes. I had a great deal of respect for Reagan, for example, but the man ruined the small to middle size oil man that existed at the time. The business interests of millions were ruined through windfall profits taxes, but not Big Oil. This ended up ruining the life stakes of most of my family. Coupled with the Savings and Loan debacle, federal legislation just about put the oil producing states out of the economic running for quite some time. That era changed lives and business forever, and not for the better. The legislation Reagan endorsed never worked. The nation bit off on the idea of trickle-down economics as the IRS, ruled through Congress, put the dagger in the hearts of independent American small business.

employment cookie cutter

employment cookie cutter

I don’t refer to businesses with less than 500 employees. I refer to the little guy with a handful or two of employees; certainly no more than a hundred. The independence enjoyed by the small businessman of the eighties doesn’t exist in today’s world. Try eliminating the self-employment tax and watch the economy turn around in a hurry. Health care isn’t to blame. Thank Congress for the plight of real small business and prosperity. Thank Congress for large corporations and multinationals that work against every interest but their own. Thank Congress that so many jobs have been outsourced or offshored to foreign lands. Thank Congress for the banking crisis, mortgage debacle and an outdated system of regulations that they refused to enforce.

The reality is that winning a Presidential election often has very little to do with the way that the nation’s lawmakers behave, spend money or legislate. In fact, politics is usually a double-edged sword beyond compare. Why all the panic?

Power. Special interests and the people that live through them need to justify their existence through their influence or at least the perception of influence. This election, special interests aren’t wasting any time as they beg for help to support their cause. The rush is almost like trying to cram for a college exam.

The problem remains that you can’t cram effectively at the last minute for a national election. The fact is that the outcome of the election has already been decided by the electoral college. Assuming that personal commitments of the electoral college remain the same, we already know the winner of the election today. Meanwhile, a large cross-section of the American people have taken advantage of early voting in record numbers. Hence, the efforts of special interest groups to influence the remaining American voters that are truly unknown is likely to yield little results. The vain hope is that influence can still be exercised with a huge turnout of voters tomorrow if special interests can just find the voters.

In some cases, the news has shown that perfectly legitimate citizens that want to vote will not have their votes counted this year. The reasons vary. Sometimes the reason is as simple as following the rules (yes, those awful deadlines). Some of the problem seems to be poor record keeping. Imagine that in the age of computers! Other times, favoritism raises its ugly head. It would seem that some special interests would just as soon quash your vote as to encourage your vote. While this is a tragedy among democracy adherents, this blight remains in American politics, including those citizens who don’t get the right to vote for various legal reasons. Rest assured, this usually comes down to money.

During the last eight years, more collateral damage has been rendered on the American people, their resources and lives than ever. This has taken place during the watch of a Republican administration. In a strictly monetary sense, you can take every bad decision made before 2000 and you couldn’t get it to add up to the debacle of last eight years. Coupled with Congressional favoritism and special interests, the future of the nation is a question mark in the eyes of many. Party is clearly not the same issue that it used to be in years past. Mainstream politics suffers from a certain sameness, minus a few special issues dear to many that have been largely marginalized. What the truth comes down to is which candidate has better character and decision-making ability. That arrives as a deeply personal decision that each American must make.

This writer knows the foibles of the American people. There are plenty of Americans that lack judgment in large ways. The fact remains that America must continue to trust the system that is in place, for better or worse. Americans have opinions. Tomorrow, the only opinion that matters to the nation is the one that they make in the voting booth. ~ E. Manning

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