Early voting in Texas begins tomorrow. If there are any Republicans in the older Metroplex suburbs, the rapidly changing Metro Austin area, or outlying wards of Houston, chances are you have the privilege of finding an office not too far down the ballot that is a simple, classic matchup between a sophisticated conservative and a truly ignorant Democrat. For the rest of us across the state, we must suffer from our success in recent decades at hunting Ds to extinction.
And I do mean suffer, because all many of us Red people have left upon which to train our sights is this blankety-blank Presidential race. Hillary “Rodham-got-deleted” Clinton versus Donald “Boy-named-Sue’em” Trump is like that troublesome pimple that blemishes a perfectly scrubbed face – and that can’t be gotten rid of even if we try to pop it.
Election Day ’16, for the nation, will be a day of ecstatic relief, no matter who is elected. For me personally, I will glory in the liberation of my Facebook page from the dire, apocalyptic finger-raising of all my Christian brothers and sisters from across the political spectrum. I recognize my jadedness – I have in fact embraced it many ages ago – and so I openly admit I’ve spent much of the year laughing and snarking at what people have written, posted and shared. I guess I feel I should confess here and now the ridicule I’ve privately put on old friends. I’ve watched good-hearted, rational folks, some very dear, turn into hysterical, hyperventilating, self-righteous lunatics these past several months as they’ve all picked their various hills upon which to die. And yet at times my scrambled-idealism would burst through and I would consider joining different ones of them, depending upon who had the better cupcakes.
As Honest Abe said, “I laugh so that I must not cry.” And that’s the true nature of the relief we will all experience some time the week of November 8 (I believe this year’s Presidential race could tangle up into a Florida 2000-type situation). Week after next, we don’t have to make it ok anymore. We can simply accept our misery.
A new, shadowy life will set in. The judge’s gavel will fall, and the visitation schedule will commence. One parent will bear the day-to-day, cash-strapped responsibility of managing the household while the other stews in bitterness and poisons us with it on the weekends. We will resent the one who tries to take care of us and become detached from the other who goes emotionally adrift. Worst of all, we will be told we will be ok because “children are resilient.” On SNL last night, Tom Hanks – a mega-Hillary supporter – said as much in his opening monologue.
This all sounds really gloomy, I know. But there is a silver-lining. Some have asked me, a failed political hack, if I think this election will somehow “get it out of our system” – the “it” being this scummy and covetous rage against the Man/Establishment/Illuminati/Them. Well, history is somewhat mixed in its record. I actually think it will be cathartic for our country, though we will never be free of the envy that spawns conspiracies.
I believe Election ’16 will be a cleansing because it has forced many Americans to consider that their system of government may in fact have become a graven image of sorts to them. There’s an expectation we’ve had for far too long that whoever’s in the White House, the Capitol, or state legislature should make us feel good. The way we say this is, “I feel good about him/her being the X-representative” or “he/she is a true one-of-those, because I am a true one-of-those.” Well, this year we’ve gotten a set of candidates that can churn different sections of our abdomens with gifted success. What does this reflect? That we have made an office holder’s ability to make us feel good our master – or mistress.
Abraham Lincoln also wrote, concerning democratic principles, “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.” He put this on paper before the War and the 650,000+ Americans who would die as the result of his policies.
Can we find Lincoln's high-minded balance today? Instead of spending the rest of our childhoods and adulthoods wishing things had been different, we can make a decision, with God’s help, to become better parents - and citizens - ourselves.