One Last Election Article (No Gloat. No Spin.)

Posted: November 9th, 2012 | Filed under: Politics, Ruminations | No Comments »

I woke up election day very nervous.

Pre-induction army physical day nervous.

Nervous as the time in the 9th grade when I wanted to call Jenny Lehman and invite her to go to the following Friday’s hayride with me. Which I was able to eventually do the Sunday before in a full sweat, after staring at the phone for two hours, After blurting out my request, hearing her stunning acceptance, and immediately hanging up. Then, even more beside myself, I avoided her in the halls at school the whole next week.

That nervous.

I had read Nate Silver’s final take on the day, posted at 5:00 a.m. that morning. His bold predictions for an Obama victory caused my sphincter to tighten even more. Surely it wouldn’t, couldn’t be that definite a victory.

So, I looked for a sign, any sign that might ease my angst. A message from on high that all would be well and I needn’t worry so much.

On Tuesdays, I do my radio film reviews at WFPK. The studios are on 4th between Broadway and Chestnut. Across the street,there’s a competing commercial station with a loud speaker broadcasting its signal into the street.

As I got out of my car election day morning, chills overcame me. I thought I was hearing the song with the message I was loathe to hear.

It was the Stones. Well, yes, a Stones song, but what I was hearing was the chorus. The London Bach Choir.

“You can’t always get what you want/ But if you try/ Sometimes you just might find/ You get what you need.”

Uh oh!

I attempted to calm myself. “Remember, Chuck, you and the country survived 8 years of Bush. You can do the same with Romney.”

My stomach turned into a garbage disposal, chewing up Sunday dinner. It wasn’t the calmest of days.

* * * * *

Two other tunes bookended the day.

In the hall in Chicago where minions were gathering to celebrate Barack Obama’s reelection, they were playing Jean Knight’s “Mr. Big Stuff.” It’s a great song, but I hope they were aiming it at Mitt Romney, not the winner.

“Mr. Big Stuff/ Who do you think you are/ Mr. Big Stuff/ You’re never gonna get my love”

If they meant to call Obama Mr. Big Stuff, they’d simply never listened to the lyrics.

But then, as the president and family walked onto the dais, it was Little Stevie as soundtrack. “Signed, Sealed & Delivered” indeed.

“Here I am baby/ Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m yours/ (You got my future in your hands)/ Here I am baby/ Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m yours/ (You got my future in your hands)”

I mention the tuneage index because, well, I’m a music guy. And I should have heeded a surer sign that Obama was in the zone over the weekend. The president was touring with The Boss. Romney was traveling with the Marshall Tucker Band.

Which is like, you know, Alabama 52, Arkansas 0. (To toss in a football reference for the sports fans among you.)

* * * * *

As usual, the president was a little too verbose.

But the vanquished, a contained Mitt Romney, was brief with his concession. Generous in his remarks. He walked off the stage, literally and metaphorically, calm, a man in full.

* * * * *

At which point the cacophony that passes for dialog in the punditocracy these days cranked again to 11.

Of course, I’m going to diss what I like to call Coulter/ Hannity Syndrome, which is a total, cynical disregard for facts and reality.

But I must also call out Rachel Maddow and Mr. Ed also. To deny that Sandy and the president’s actions in response to the storm aided his cause is somewhat disingenuous.

But — and of course I’m displaying my liberal bias here — that obfuscation is nothing compared to the denial of the ostriches on the right. And I include in that menagerie both the media and the McConnells.

I understand political gamesmanship. I understand that factions remain entrenched in their beliefs.

But the reactions to president’s solid victory, to the messages sent by the electorate, are nothing less than total imperious disregard. The GOP would let that not so silent majority eat cake.

“The president must meet us.”

Really? Are they talking jabberwocky? Get Karl Rove some Paxil.

* * * * *

Which is to say that I’m grateful Barack Obama was reelected. That the Donkeys gained some leverage in the Senate. That they narrowed the gap in the House.

But I’m also battening down the hatches. Fastening my seat belt. Gathering nuts for the winter. Grabbing more than the necessary number of aphorisms to express that, given the financial situation, the next few months in D.C. are going to rockier than the landing of Denzel Washington’s plane in “Flight.”

It’s going to be fascinating to see if the Republicans really did hear what the electorate was saying? Which was a directive for those in Washington to talk with each other, start a real and productive dialog and come to a fair and balanced course to get the bookeeping in order. (That would be really fair and balanced, not Fox fair and balanced.)

Otherwise, my fellow Americans, despite the wonderfulness of Obama’s reelection, this country’s going to be in a heap o’ heap.

I’m hopeful it won’t come to that. So I leave with one last tune for my friends of the elephantine persuasion.

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