I am promising myself that this will be my final blog regarding the U.S. Presidential election of 2012. My words here will serve little purpose, beyond being an outlet for my own frustration and confusion. As I listen to the pundits, and the poll takers, and the lovely television anchor ladies, and to all of the great talkers of our day, describe an election as “too close to predict”, I can only shake my head in disbelief. Can it be, I say to myself almost daily, that this many people are going to get it wrong – and if they do, I fear the surprise that may await them.
I have noted the date of August 14, 2012 as the day that my misunderstanding of Presidential politics became apparent, leaving me only with dogged misgivings and doubts about our future as a nation – these feelings too would wane, leaving me with a state of mind I can only call: Chronic Confusion (or, in current text messaging parlance, “wtf”). For it was on this day that I witnessed (via television), U.S. Republican candidate Mitt Romney, standing shoulder to shoulder with a lineup of worshipping Ohio coal miners. My first reaction was that it must be a comedy skit, staged by some clever Obama operative out to show the world just how out of touch the Republican candidate is with the working man.
After all, didn’t the mine owners of years past fight tooth and toenail against any federal regulations that would impose health and safety regulations (and thus cut profits) on their mines? Certainly these miners must know that CEOs like Mr. Romney, a man whose own taste for corporate profits leaves little to the imagination, could have any empathy or understanding of workers who toil beneath the surface of Ohio, drilling and blasting and shoveling and bringing to the surface great heaps of carbonized carbon. It is not work for the faint of heart.
How could it be then, I asked myself on August 14, 2012, that this group of miners could take the stage with such a man – they, dressed for work in a mine, and Mr. Romney in shirtsleeves with the same slick-CEO look in his eyes that I’ve seen in the eyes of other slick CEOs as they’ve taken to other stages to distribute awards and commendations to unwitting employees, while at the same time, office space was being readied in India and China for their replacements.
“The Federal Government has sold you a bill of goods with those expensive gas monitors,” I could almost hear Mr. Romeny say. “Your grandfathers’ used canaries. And they were hardworking men who didn’t need some slack-jawed Beltway bureaucrat coming out here to Ohio to tell you guys how to run a mine. The money saved on those expensive gadgets can go right into your pockets.”
Or something like that.
My friend Rita, who is at this moment living up in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, poised to make a run for the Canadian border with her husband and unborn child feels that a Romney/Ryan victory would be eclipsed only by a polar shift, or asteroid strike in terms of creating global disaster. I am not so sure about that. But I do hear the drumbeats of war. Not since the late GWB have I felt so uneasy about a presidency leading us into another conflict – this time, perhaps Iran?
Rita sent me a text the other night, from the Thief River Falls Wal Mart where she was busy stocking up on disposable diapers for the trip North:
“j L sas Rmny vic in the bag now”
Rita has trouble texting, but I know it meant that her husband J.L. thinks that Romney has it locked up.
“would n’t B 2 sure” I replied.
We shall all see on Tuesday.