Monday, November 5, 2012

On My Watch

We're bracing ourselves for tomorrow night. We'll take a seat around 5:00 p.m. here on the Left coast in one of our favorite pubs. It's become a tradition to invite a few friends and get a feel for the political climate expected to follow the results. This year will be no different, save for the foreboding that seems to be growing like a low hanging cloud. No matter who comes away with the victory, it will not be like 2008. That felt more like New Year's Eve here in Portland. We're deep blue, midnight blue, blue-black. There seems to be as much indifference this year as in other places. Probably because we have an awful Mayor's race in which both candidates are undesirable. It impacts the entire voting experience, I'm afraid. When I sit down to follow the early returns in earnest, I'll remind myself of previous evenings. It will be easy to say "well, we survived George W. Bush and his father, Ronald Reagan, even the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Yes, we'll survive this one too, but I see something more. Seems to me the demography and the climate are encroaching on this culture. In the next decade or two the numbers won't lie. These two political parties we seem to be stuck with are going to need some real reinvention. The Congress will replace itself with a younger and hopefully more flexible group of legislators. But what will the two parties do? There are other tendencies too. If the exclusive task of elected officials continues to be the focus on their next election, it'll be a bumpy next few years. I see a last gasp coming. Certainly the make-up of our population will help usher that in, but along with all this re-alignment I hope we can exhale large concentrations of the racism and sexism that stubbornly cling to our notion of democracy. Let's not forget that we don't live in America. There are other Americas to our north and south. We live in a United States of least for now.

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