I stand (figuratively) here at the official beginning of the 2008 campaign season (the Iowa caucuses) and survey the political landscape in this, our great nation, the U S of A, and I am…. sad? no…. happy? no… relieved? yeah… relieved is a good word. I am relieved to know our political process goes on… it’s not a perfect system, this representative democracy of ours. In fact, it’s the worst governmental system in the world, except for all the other ones that have been tried.
I am glad I don’t live in a straight Democracy, a Monarchy, a Facist Dictatorship, a Theocracy (all attempts by Jim Dobson and Pat Robertson to the contrary), a Marx-ian Socialist State, a personality cult Dictatorship, or anything else. Am I “proud to be an American”? Jury’s still out on that one. If I were to travel in Europe right now, I think I’d probably tell people I was Canadian, eh? Still, one year and 17 days from now, something amazing is going to happen in this country. The existing leader (such as he is) will step out and the new leader (such as HE is) will step in and there will be no blood-shed, no riots, no coup d’état. It will be peaceful and full of pomp and circumstance and we will wake up on Jan 21, 2009 with a new President. And life will go on, much as it has for the last 8, 12, 16 years. So, relief is a big part of what I’m feeling. I look at Pakistan in the wake of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, by all accounts a strong and powerful lady, though not currently an office holder. Even as assassinations have taken place in our own government, a system of succession is in place to protect us from falling into chaos and anarchy.
However next to relief, I am excited. I am actually excited by the election cycle for the first time since my Sr. year in High School. Back in 1992 we were facing the threat of William Jefferson Clinton (I was a staunch Republican back then and a rabid Ditto-head). Now, ironically, we are facing the threat of Hilliary Rodham Clinton. I am excited because, as the Iowa Caucuses began just about an hour ago, we have a close race on both the Dem. and Rep. sides. If I were forced to vote tonight for a Republican candidate, I would vote for Mitt Romney. If I were forced to vote for a Dem, it would be a coin flip between Obama and Edwards. (Personally, I think that would be a neat ticket… on the Rep side, I’d love to see a Romney/Paul ticket). I am also excited because I feel that, despite “W”‘s claim to be “a uniter not a divider” (which he was not!!!), several major candidates on both sides could bring a modicum of unity to the process and to the public square.
My local NPR affiliate (KNPR – southern Nevada) is broadcasting a live results and commentary show starting at 7pm pst and I need to get something to eat first… more later.