Tag Archives: romney

Election 2012: The Recap

The election is over. I spent that night watching TV, and the results came in so fast that I almost missed the announcement. I had read all of these articles the day before saying how that, under certain circumstances, we might not have had a clear victor until mid December. So when all of the networks started calling it before 11pm, it was kind of surprising.

I wonder what it must have felt like for Mitt Romney, a guy who has been campaigning for President since 2006 really. Even the day of the election, he’s out there, holding rallies, firing up supporters. So was Obama. Up until the very end, everyone said it was anybody’s game, and so I guess each side had a legitimate hope that they could win. But as Pennsylvania went for the President and then all of the other swing states followed suit, and then NBC starts calling it and eventually Fox News does the same, I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like for Romney, for his team.

To get so close, only to be denied right at the very end. I can’t see how these guys can go out in front of their crowds and make concession speeches. How do you hold your head up like that? I’d want to just crawl away somewhere and disappear. And you have to get on the phone and call up your opponent, the guy who you’ve been trading barbs with for the past year, lobbing insults across the airways.

And then what’s the next day like? To all of the sudden have a campaign go from running at full capacity to the very next day just shutting down? It’s not just like losing your job. It’s like being the head of a business that overnight just goes belly up, dead in its tracks.

I can’t stand the gloating on Facebook, which is super hypocritical, because I’m right on the frontlines of it. I’m like a lieutenant, a Facebook amateur political commentary lieutenant. But I hate it. I hate it when I see comments from the other side, the opposing political viewpoint. A part of me just says, OK Rob, just take a deep breath and let it go. Just ignore it. Don’t feel like you have to post something of your own. It’s going to be a very fleeting sense of satisfaction at best.

Sometimes I’ll listen to my own advice. Other times I can’t help myself. I’ll throw something out there, something partisan, something divisive. Whatever, I already said it was stupid. But it was all of these small little comments, these occasional back-and-forths that, over time, they built up into something that made me feel like I had a personally vested interest in who won the campaign. And this was all very outside of the issues, outside of politics. A bigger part of it came down to, I didn’t want to have to go on to Facebook and see all the gloating from the other side if Romney won. It would have eaten at me from inside.

I kind of know how it felt. During the 2004 election, the first one that I could vote for, I was positive leading up to voting day that John Kerry was going to destroy George W. Bush. But what I felt as I watched that night unfold on TV, as the results came in a way that I hadn’t anticipated, that sinking feeling, staring at the screen, hoping for some “Breaking News” update that would tell me it was all a big joke. And then afterwards I would watch these political commentators and these smug right wing guys in suits would say stuff like, “Well, it’s evident that America is a fairly conservative country.” And I just sat there, boiling with impotent rage, unable to even properly let out the frustration that was building up inside. But why? Why was I angry? Was my life going to be that fundamentally different than it was before?

During this whole election season I had the same fear that it might happen again. And when it didn’t, I experienced a very hollow but palpable sense of elation. It’s over. I didn’t have to face a reality that I had not properly thought out. But the first thing I did was log onto Facebook and write “Four! More! Years!” a big middle finger to all of my online friends who happen to have a different way of looking at things. I felt great for like ten minutes, but then I felt terrible, realizing that I’m no better than everything I hate. I tried writing something sincere afterwards, talking about moving forward, of not letting ourselves get carried away by national politics, but it was too late. I could imagine a Republican doing the exact same thing and all I would feel would be a strong bitterness for some cheesy, magnanimous sore-winning.

And it’s all going to come back someday. Democrats can’t be in charge forever. That sense of loss, of being let down, of feeling politically marginalized, it’s all waiting for me four, eight, twelve years from now. It’s important, politics, but it’s all so silly. I get so fired up over people I’ve never met, will never talk to, about a system that I’m only very marginally a part of, policies and legislation that depend very little on my opinion or point of view. And I use it all as ammunition to make people that I’m close to feel inferior, not as smart as me, why can’t you see things like I see them? So yeah, I’m glad it’s all over. And I hope the next round of elections might just be a little farther away than the ones we just had.

Let’s talk politics

I always hear people saying stuff like, don’t talk about politics. Keep it to yourself. Don’t get political. But that’s just one person’s opinion, to not talk about politics. My opinion is a little different. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. I like to only talk about politics, to everybody I meet. It’s one of the first things that I start talking about when I meet somebody. That’s not entirely true. It’s actually the very first thing that I start talking about, even before I formally introduce myself to a new person. My goal is to just bombard people with political opinion, and somewhere amongst this onslaught of clever commentary and smart insight, you’ll feel like you know me, know where I’m coming from, and I’ll consider us introduced. Obviously I won’t have asked you about your political opinions. But I don’t have to, because my critiques are always so fresh, so spot-on, that whoever I talk to always winds up automatically seeing things from my point of view, and once they’re there, they like it better, so much better in fact that they always discard whatever rudimentary political beliefs they had previous latched onto, and replace them instantly with my patented brand of clear-cut no-nonsense award-winning analysis.

People get frustrated talking politics. People get bored. They say why waste the time and energy talking about this stuff? It’s not like you’re ever going to actually change anybody’s opinions. But that’s only because you’ve never actually changed anybody’s opinions. I refrain from talking about politics on this blog because I don’t want history to think that I unfairly swayed the outcome of the 2012 election. Because if I started talking about politics here, my views would be so welcome, so needed by our misguided public, that word would spread way too fast, and everybody would try to log onto this web site at the same time, and I’m not paying GoDaddy enough money to support that type of traffic, and I don’t know what their business model is like. Would they permit the traffic and then send me a ridiculous bill afterward? Or would the crush of page loads simply destroy what I’ve built, rendering it completely inaccessible?

And it wouldn’t stop. Once I start talking about politics, people always wind up saying to me stuff like, “Well Rob, you’ve got my vote!” I can’t run for office. I don’t need to be the center of a cult of personality. Because that’s where it would lead. My views are so all-inclusive, they’re so what’s needed right now, that I’m not sure how I would change and react to such a tidal wave of national support. It’s only honest to think that I’d be changed somewhat. What do they say about the power of celebrity? I don’t know. That’s one of my writing tricks. Whenever I can’t think of something to say about something that I was talking about, and I want to switch topics without making it seem too abrupt, I ask an open ended question, like “What’s that they say about open-ended questions?” And I end it by saying, “I don’t know.”

But what’s that they say about not talking about politics? I don’t get it. We’re one day away from the election and, before Hurricane Sandy leveled the Northeast, it was all I heard anybody talking about. Politics. Barack Obama. Mitt Romney. Seriously, before the storm, what else was there to talk about? I wait tables for a living and, pre-Sandy, as I would walk around the restaurant, every single sentence I would hear from every single table would be about politics. “When Romney finally gets this economy moving again …” “I just don’t get why Obama doesn’t press Romney about his tax returns …” over and over and over again.

But whenever I open my mouth somebody invariably tells me to stop talking about politics. Usually it’s somebody who has differing views from me. Maybe I come across as a jerk. Maybe I don’t really give anybody else equal opportunity to talk. Maybe I get a little too physical when I’m trying to drive home my point of view. Maybe I don’t necessarily need to grab people by the collar and get all up in their faces, little foam spittle flying outward from my mouth. But what does it say about us that we’re only allowed to talk about politics if everybody in the group that we’re talking to shares the same beliefs?

This is pretty important stuff, politics, leaders, policy. We are the nation that we are because of the culmination of all the small political decisions that have been made in our history. And for each decision that was made there had to have been a counter argument. All of the arguments that won, they won because they were argued successfully and convincingly. So if you believe that something should be a certain way, you don’t just shut up about it because you’re not supposed to talk about politics. No, you get in there, you grab that guy sitting at that table with his family by the collar, you tell him that he’s wrong, tell him his family is a bunch of idiots, you tell him that he better listen to you or else there are going to be some serious consequences. Tell him it’s not a threat it’s a promise. Ask him to see some ID. Wrestle him to the ground and force the wallet out of his pocket. I know it’s hard to aim the foam spittle, but try to get as much of it as you can right in his face, right in his mouth. Because politics is important. And we should all be talking about it.