It’s 4:30PM on Monday, November 3. The election is tomorrow but our deadline for this first edition of the wonderfully and beautifully new Lowcountry publication falls before the results will be known.
But, heck, that’s probably a good thing. Lord knows there are enough pundits out there who will have told us what happened and why so, instead of deep (and useless) analysis, a few observations:
Reconnect with the People
Whether it’s Obama or McCain, let’s hope the president-elect will be quickly moving toward the center. This has been, perhaps, the most vituperative campaign in memory. The shouting and screaming having been made all the more shrill by it all occurring during a terrifying economic meltdown, I suspect most of us would welcome some peace and quiet and, from our pres-elect especially, a reconnection with the sensible and down-to-earth will of most Americans.
Some Media Self-Examination
I know I’m dreaming in Technicolor and that the idea that the media would take a hard look at itself is unlikely. But, it’s also long overdue. The trouble is, why would they bother? Isn’t it we who have let them run wild? Isn’t it we who have kept tuning in and kept buying from their advertisers while the media has morphed from the ethics of fourth estate journalism to the ugliness of provocation, derision, interruption and worst, personal “media star” opinion passed off as investigation? I’m in a hotel room in Shem Creek near Charleston as I write and CNN’s on the TV. I’m sorry Barack Obama’s grandmother has died the night before the election. I’m also tired of Wolf Blitzer telling me how “tragic” it is (at least six times between 4:30 and 5:30PM). Just report the news!!!
A Little Less Extremism
No side is blameless but the run-up to this election brought out the worst. The intolerance and bloody-mindedness of the far left was shocking. It was as if no question about Obama’s relationships and record could possibly be fair. Even more frightening, it was impossible to engage in any kind of debate with these doctrinaire ideologues because Barack was, somehow, beyond criticism. On the other side, it was ultra-nonsensical to be asked to believe that Barack was a closet jihadist. By the way, has anyone else noticed this “Barack” thing? We heard things like: “Barack says…..Barack believes…if we follow Barack”…etc. Is that “Barack” in the sense of Moses?? I don’t recall us being that familiar or apostolic with Dwight, John, Lyndon, Richard, Gerald, Jimmy, Ronald, George, Bill or George.
A Little More Control over our Economic Future
Wouldn’t it be lovely if the markets actually responded to our needs instead of to its own internal systems? It seems to me that the daily meanderings and volatility of the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P are less linked to your or my belief in a given set of companies’ stocks or value and much more tied to what happened in Hong Kong last night; how severely an OPEC press release frightens the mythical gnomes of Zurich or whether that inimitable “consumer confidence index” dropped again. It all sets off a kind of unmanageable daily madness where large institutions and/or computers buy or dump without asking us if we agree or disagree. If the good people who threw the tea into Boston Harbor 235 years ago were on the scene today, I wonder if they’d throw Wall Street into the East River. I wonder if they’d allow supposedly respectable banks to charge 23.99% on some credit cards. I wonder what they’d do with the tall bonuses of the short sellers.
All Politics Are Local
Same dilemma here: It’s the day before Election Day, I don’t know if our Mayor is Mike, Mike, Billy or Donnie. Must confess when I saw the sign “Beer for Mayor”, I thought that would be a great idea! A beer for the mayor, a few more for our new state legislators, another couple of brewskis for our Senators and Congress people and, maybe, it would relax them all enough so they could take themselves way less seriously.
OK, silliness aside, we’re the ones who need to get serious. Somewhere along the line, we seem to have lost sight of our responsibility to hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire all the time; not just on Election Day. Constitutionally and according to the study of political science, they work for us. So, we need to hold them accountable every day of their terms. If we elect them because of specific promises they have made, we better make sure they keep those promises. If they don’t, embarrass them. Write letters to the Editor. Cry out from the visitor’s gallery. Actually, how come we’re “visitors” in the very governmental chambers we own and pay for with our tax dollars? Anyway, you get the picture.
Yes, I know, it’s easy to make recommendations from the ease of a columnist’s bully pulpit. This is America. There is no requirement for you to listen or act thereupon.