Unified theories

We could almost have a theme with this issue, since every columnist made mention of the fact that we close the issue before we know the results of the election. It’s interesting to note the various tacks the columnists took. It might even say something about them and this newsweekly.

Tuesday’s was a historic election. Either we have the first African-American in the nation’s highest office, or we have the oldest person, or the first Vietnam veteran, or the first female vice president. All these things symbolize one thing: change.

Today, the day of the election (and two days before publication), many indicators suggest the Democrats are going to be given power in a huge way. This could be the mandate that George W. Bush claimed but never had. He tried, all too successfully sometimes, to shove a radical agenda down America’s throat. History will not absolve him of his errors in judgment.

So now, somebody’s got to make a decision, be it Barack Obama or John McCain: Am I going to be the president who heals the country, or am I going to continue the divisive policies and tactics that have stalled this country since 1994?

Not knowing the results of the election, it’s hard to say how things are going to play out. We’d like to think that either Obama or McCain will set agendas that work to heal the financial, cultural, political divisions of this country.

If the Democrats win through Obama—with their near-absolute powers in the executive, legislative, and soon, judiciary offices—and choose corruption, we can expect to see our country cross the middle track on the road to a new rut on the opposite side. If this is the case, the Democrats are on a one-way trip to a Republican congressional rout in 2010. They’ve got to look past what they can do, and figure out what they should do.

Peculiarly, if McCain wins and faces a veto/filibuster proof Democratic Congress, he gets lame duck status the day he takes office (unless we’re attacked). And what’s even more peculiar is that it’s hard to predict which John McCain we’ve elected. But it’s hard to believe—unless he chooses the purple way—he’ll be any more effective than George W. Bush has been the last two years.

On the other hand, Obama’s got his work cut out for him, as well. This country’s problems won’t be solved in four years—George W. buried us so deep, it may be decades before things straighten out.

So from a pessimist’s point of view, even if the president chooses to work with the opposing party, it doesn’t really matter because we’re all screwed, and we’re probably screwed for a long time.

But most likely, America voted for change, and change is what we’re going to get. The culture wars declared by the Republicans last century are dead. They elected by the slimmest of margins a radical religious extremist who was unable to stop abortion, gay marriage or evolution. All they got was dead soldiers, a fractured economy and decimated retirement dreams.

The new president must be a president for all of America. We must embrace all our brothers and sisters and move forward as one country.