For the past 18 months going on FOREVER, we’ve been knee-deep in the United States of ObamaRomnica. The pointless back and forth. The jabs. The constant chatter about the presidential race as if it’s no difference from sports – particularly baseball – where “screw facts,” your gut is supposed to inform you.
You just “feel” like Babe Ruth is the home run king even though there’s two guys named Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds ahead of him. He did it without steroids! (And with racial segregation that kept him from playing against a whole bunch of athletic wild cards called the “Negro League.”)
But blah, blah, blah “HEART” something, something.
It should surprise all of but five people who’ve never read my writing before that I’m not a Mitt Romney supporter. I was Team Obama in 2008. I’m still on the team now, albeit more tired and beat up than I imagined I’d be after the “Fun Run” that was 2008.
In fact, even though I’m a supporter of President Obama come hell or zombie apocalypse, I too felt much like the little four-year-old girl YouTube who burst into tears simply upon hearing the president and Mittens hell-foresaken names for the BILLIONTH time in the last five minutes.
But, you know what? I can afford to be completely jaded and apathetic because at the end of the day – I’m voting anyway. I’m hard core. I’ve followed every election since 1984 when Jesse Jackson got pushed out of the way for a disaster date with Walter Mondale. (Both were going to lose, but I bet Jesse could have lost in a much more memorable and epic fashion to Ronald Reagan other than just lying there and getting clobbered.) The dirty, irresponsible, cruel and compromised nature of politics can’t affect me because I’m immune. I’ve been exposed to the disease for so long.
But if I’ve caught an Apathy Cold, I worry that some of Obama’s black supporters have whatever is the Apathy-equivalent of Apathy terminal cancer.
I worry that they won’t show up and vote because the message has gotten lost in the constant stream of crap pouring from our radios and televisions and laptops. I worry that people may feel too tired, defeated or distracted to get their hearts broken all over again by the cruelty of our political process.
So, to you folks thinking, “Meh, maybe I won’t vote at all. Obama’s got this, right? NATE SILVER SAID SO!” let me paraphrase Sheriff Rick Grimes from my favorite television drama, AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
“THIS PRESIDENCY IS OURS. WE’VE SPILT BLOOD … AND BY ‘BLOOD,’ I MEAN ‘DONATED MONEY!’ WHICH IN THIS ECONOMY MIGHT AS WELL BE BLOOD, AMIRIGHT?”
I’m sorry. I totally don’t care if you’re tired. Or if you think not-voting is even more American than voting. And I’m not talking voting simply for voting’s sake because people fought and died so you can do so, although that’s not a bad sentiment. (MLK didn’t do all that walking around for his HEALTH, you know!) No, I’m talking about taking the time to inform yourself, digest the facts, get involved and make an educated, nuanced and pragmatic decision out of taking some agency in your life. We’re only at the whim of politicians WE DON’T VOTE FOR. If you’re a voter, those same politicians are at the whim of you, because you’ve become important. They need your vote. They have to appeal to you. They have to work with you. Or at least send the First Lady and Valerie Jarrett as proxies.
It’s not that I think ol’ Mittens would be a “bad” president. Ol’ George W. Bush set that bar so low that Romney would have to break his own back while starting a nuclear war with Pakistan to limbo underneath it. It’s that I have NO IDEA of what kind of president I’d get with him. He helped create the model for so-called “Obamacare,” in Massachusetts as governor, spends most of his career crowing about it and patting himself on the back for it, but the minute health care for all becomes CONTROVERSIAL thanks to the Notorious GOP, it’s like “I’ll get rid of Obamacare on my first day … but still try to keep almost every popular provision in it.”
There’s the fact that he seems to think every woman in the United States is currently living in the 1950s-60s Mad Men-era of “Are you a Peggy, Joan, Drunk Betty or Invisible Carla?” Birth control is controversial? Sure it was … in 1960s. Women in the workplace balancing it with their home life is at times difficult? I guess so, but we’ve known that since … the 1960s. Women sometimes get pregnant, but don’t want to be pregnant and sometimes it’s under horrible circumstances like rape or incest? They might be considering abortion or other options like adoption, but want to have the CHOICE to do so based on their individual circumstances? CRAZY TALK WE’VE ONLY BEEN TALKING ABOUT SINCE THE DAWN OF MANKIND.
But it’s not just women-folk that are still fighting off Don Draper’s advances. Romney wants to start shit with Russia for old time’s sake even though the Cold War has been over since Republican God Ronald Reagan smote while riding a velociraptor with a wink and a manly “There you go again” back in the 1980s. Or, for you nerds, in 1991 when the USSR completely collapsed 10 months after “Competent” President Bush (Poppy version) won the Gulf War.
The only thing I know for sure is that Romney thinks if you make a quarter-million dollars a year, you’re “middle income” and he considers hedge funds to be “small businesses.” So, I’m pretty sure if you’re Alex P. Keaton, Romney’s your guy. If you’re Gordon Gekko, vote Romney. If you “Always Be Closing,” vote Romney. Go nuts. It’s the only area where he seems to have some consistency. Money is good. Can you make money? He likes you. He’s like the world’s least dynamic rapper. I’m almost positive that if you distill Romney’s economic views down to its purest level this song starts playing.
President Obama is flawed. He’s not your personal savior or unicorn. If anything, I think he actually has a lot more in common with his more starry-eyed supporters in 2008 because he really did think he could just show up in Washington talking all measured, positive and rational and change the game. But politics is a disease that has no desired of being cured. This is why a true, feral political animal like Bill Clinton thrived so well in that putrid swamp of double-speak and lies. President Obama doesn’t really want that stink on him, but hey, buddy, are we going to do this or what? (That was honestly my response to his first debate performance, where he looked like he’d rather be anywhere than here.)
So, to the president: Stay on 10, stay focused, no matter what you do, if the GOP says the sky is blue, get a second opinion, and try not to get apathetic about your own presidency.
As for Obama’s near catatonic supporters, good lord, no matter what Nate Silver says, go vote on Tuesday. If it’s not a landslide I’m afraid it’ll they’ll call it for Mittens on some obscure technicality. So go vote. And take some other folks too lazy to take themselves to the polls to go vote too. Then spam this post on people’s Twitter feeds and Facebook pages.
Even if you’re an Apathetic Black Obama Supporter, you can never really afford to be an Apathetic Voter. You may notice that the people who have the least time for the political process are the ones often the most affected by it. Poor people don’t vote as much as middle class people, black people (at times) have not voted as vigorously as white people. Working mothers are too busy working and chasing after kids. (Although I don’t quite get how politicians treat women though since women vote more than men and are over half the voting population. Obama should be passing out free birth control while he sings “Isn’t She Lovely” to all of us.)
But it shouldn’t be shocking if you’re in the group no politician cares if they upset. They only care about that vote. And that vote is your power.
Get your leverage, vote and then hold your politicians to it.