It's a mere 15 days until the long, long, unfucking believeably long U.S. presidential campaign finally draws to a conclusion. I've been following this thing pretty closely for about a year now and as much as I've enjoyed and been enthralled by it, I'm also really ready for this to be over. I need to stop hitting 25 or so US political websites every day so I can get caught up on the latest news. Cathy's become a US presidential election widow and we don't even live in the US. Needless to say, she's very confused by this turn of events.
And while it's foolish to say that Obama has this in the bag, only the most blinkered of individuals would say that things don't look very good for Obama right now. The fat lady might not be singing yet, but there is a a robust looking woman waiting off in the wings practicing her scales.
You know things are grim for the Republicans when many right-wing pundits have essentially given up on the 2008 election and are planning for 2012. Several are also coming out for Obama, citing his calm as a mark in the pro column for him and Palin as a big negative for the McCain campaign. Oh, and newspaper endorsements are running about 3-1 in Obama's favour.
This is prime time weirdness in the election now. And it was even Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama over the weekend that got me thinking that way. It's lots of little things, but mostly its the hate and bile that's come from some elements of the Republican party. I hasten to add that I don't think all Republicans are stupid, racist xenophobes. In fact, I bet that a very small percentage of them are that way.
But man, you see some of the videos that have been making the rounds. The people who believe he's a "secret muslim" (God love Powell for saying he's not, but even if he was, so what?), a socialist, a communist, a terrorist and other things. That you have crowds and McCain/Palin rallies actively harassing reporters from media outlets they don't like - MSNBC, CNN, NY Times, etc - and rushing up to get autographs from reporters they think are doing the best job of covering their candidate - Fox. Some reporters have claimed to have things thrown at them.
When you have politicians saying parts of America aren't the "real" American or wanting to make sure that political leaders are really pro-America....it's just ugliness. It's startling, in fact. Yes, Americans are far more passionate about this election than Canadians were about ours that just wrapped up. And that's to be commended. I'm fairly embarrassed by the turn-out of our last election.
But with all that passion and enthasism you also getting to see the ugly side as well. And yes, I'm focusing on the Republicans right now, but there's been ugliness from the Democrats as well. Some of the attacks on Palin's family have been above board (yes, I'm probably guilty of that too, in the heat of the moment). I do wish the grand debate of ideas and vision which seemed so likely earlier the summer between Obama and McCain had happened.
But it didn't and I'm sure there's no shortage of opinions on which candidate and party is to blame for that. But most of the garbage seems to be coming from the Republicans. I hope it's one last gasp of breath from a vile, minority cross-section of the US electorate that will go the way of the dinosaurs (some in that group will likely deny the existence of dinosaurs. I hope to be able to deny their existance a few decades from now if anyone asks).
However, until they take their last gasping breath and die, it's still disheartening to look at. I like to think I'm not quite so naive as to believe that if Obama gets elected he's going to solve the financial crisis and heal the divide that has driven America mad the past eight years, but surely he would be a good step in the right direction.
1. Firecracker - Ryan Adams
2. Pure and easy - The Who
3. Gas station sandwich - Sean Panting*
4. Stupid now - Bob Mould
5. Fated - Matthew Good Band