By Charlie Mitchell
OXFORD – The conventions are over, the debates are upcoming and then, on Nov. 6, (drum roll) America votes.
Well, first two asterisks:
* Many states have early voting, also available to members of the military. In Mississippi, this is still called absentee voting, but works pretty much the same. Millions will cast ballots before Election Day.
* Also removing umph from Election Day is that most states have already been painted red or blue. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama may make pit stops in Mississippi, but there’s no real need for them to campaign in states solidly in their columns. Mississippi’s six electoral votes will go to Romney. The New York Times says only eight states are truly up for grabs.
None of this means we shouldn’t vote. We should, definitely. It’s our chance.
But there’s no denying that the drama associated with modern elections comes from the music, swirling lights and faux excitement in the voices of the candidates and media folk.
The hype we’re hearing is pretty similar to a sportscaster trying to hold an audience for a football game where, say, Alabama is beating Georgia Teachers College 63-3 at halftime.
This could be fun, though: Let’s put on blinders and listen only to what Romney and Obama and their paid and unpaid staffers are saying about each other. If we do, we learn:
* The Republican nominee despises children, college students, people without jobs, people with jobs, old people (especially old people who are ill), immigrants, minorities and women. He cares nothing for the environment.
According to the Democratic message, Romney doesn’t sufficiently support education funding, student loan forgiveness or a higher minimum wage. He wants people who have no jobs, and that includes people on disability or Social Security, to fend for themselves and he believes Medicare should be slashed to the point that seniors will might as well go hunt for an ice floe.
Romney also believes any person not legally in America, no matter for how long, must be arrested and placed on the next boat or bus to their homeland. And, as Vice President Joe Biden said to a mostly African-American audience, Romney wants minorities “back in chains.” Women? He saves a special loathing them. No respect. Not a smidge.
The only things Romney likes are rich people and mega-corporations that pollute the world. (Yes, Democrats repeatedly tell us Romney would have let General Motors, America’s largest corporation, go belly-up, but that’s just because he wanted workers to lose jobs.)
Now, to the president seeking four more years:
* The Democratic nominee, as revealed in clips from his campaign speeches four years ago, has failed to breathe life into the economy. Based on targets he set and did not meet, he has already conceded that he should be a one-term president.
What’s worse is that he’s completely oblivious to the rate of increase in America’s debt. Thanks to Obama, if America were, in fact, a private business, it would have been shuttered long ago because it doesn’t have enough working capital to pay one cent toward the cost of anything except pensions and interest on the trillions in red ink.
Further, Obama has no respect for the military and is both naampïve and dangerous in kowtowing to foreign leaders, including Arabs. He denies American exceptionalism and doesn’t understand that freedom from government controls and interference is what created the capital that has led to generations of innovation in commerce, science, technology and other pursuits.
Oh, and he doesn’t like rich people or corporations, especially banks. Most rich people are greedy and those who aren’t are begging for “fair” taxes so they can contribute more to government, which has all the answers and all the solutions to all problems, large or small.
And lastly, on Nov. 7, Obama will come to your house and confiscate your guns.
The “little guy vs. big guy” script is certainly not new in American electioneering. It’s almost as common as “insider vs. outsider.”
A person who describes himself as pro-business is characterized by his foe as in bed with those who exploit the poor.
A person who describes himself as the little man’s friend is characterized as failing to understand or appreciate capitalism.
The spectacle of campaigning has not been pretty or particularly gentlemanly at any point in American history.
The good news is that somehow or another, our local, state and national governments manage to soldier on.
Confidence in public officials rises and falls. More important is that we don’t lose confidence in ourselves as an electorate. We still define our leaders. They don’t define us – at least not yet.
Charlie Mitchell is a Mississippi journalist. Write to him at Box 1, University, MS 38677, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.