Monday, November 3, 2008

Nearing the end

Abu tulip writes:
For better or for worse, our country will soon have a new president. It's been interesting following it from afar. It's especially nice to mostly be able to choose how much to follow it. This is quite different from my parents and in-laws who live in "battle-ground states" and are inundated with advertisements and polls. It's also quite different than the mood was here in 2004, when many locals asked me who I supported, and in turn expressed their dislike for Bush. Most now don't seem to have much of an opinion, although many seem surprised that a party nominated a black candidate. I think that says more about the people here than it does about Americans.

A few thoughts:

1. Anything can still happen. The media seems to enjoy portraying this as a "race" as if they are nearing some kind of "finish line" and Obama is currently "ahead." Actually, it's much different than that. For McCain to pull off the win, all it would take is for more people in the right states to prefer him on one day, November 4. The past means nothing except for how it impacts decisions of individuals on that day.

2. "Lesser of two evils" thinking. I voted for the one who to me was the lesser of two less-than-ideal candidates. I think most Americans are like me (although there are many who are very enthusiastic about Obama). As we've discussed this, we've wondered, can anyone live up to the demands of what the presidency has become? Do we set ourselves up for disappointment? We expect someone with grad-school level knowledge of economics, foreign affairs, history, political science, law, etc. who is charismatic and can lead effectively an enormous organization. This person must belong to an acceptable religious organization, have a charming spouse and well-behaved children, have no big blunders in his/her past. And somehow he/she must be able to relate well with "ordinary people." Although the candidates always present themselves as such a person, NOBODY can fill the bill. If we want such a person, we want a Saviour, and we should look somewhere else.
Obama, if he wins, will be in the difficult position of having to meet what I think are very high expectations from a number of his supporters. Not an enviable position.
What I want for president is someone with the will to defend our Constitution, defend our country from enemies and say no to Congress when necessary (which is often). Let's hope we get just that.

3. I predict this election will be the beginning of some major shakeups in one of our two major parties. The only thing to stop that for the Republicans would be a McCain win. Otherwise, I see a lot of shuffling of leadership and soul-searching, perhaps adopting some new core principles. Perhaps even a breakup of the "coalition" of fiscal conservatives, religious conservatives and those supporting a strong and active military.
The Democrats look strong right now, but if McCain manages to pull off a win there will be a lot of upset Democrats wondering why they can't seem to win the presidency. I'm not sure what would happen then, but probably some kind of shake-up. Either way, a shake-up of our parties is a good thing.

It's been interesting so far. I do hope the rest will be fairly dull, as in a clear win for either candidate and no drawn-out counting, court cases, accusations of fraud, etc. as we've seen at other times.


tentpeg said...

It's good to hear from you guys...I appreciate your thoughts.

abu 'n um tulip said...

Hey, first comment! You should get a prize or something...