When the vote becomes stressful

First, this is probably a lame attempt on my part to get to writing again about political/issues stuff. I realized sometime this week(end? See, it gets confusing) that I had tuned out political news, especially when its local. This is not good.

Still, if the absurdities of the Philippine political sphere – impeachment again while the world withers on the vine due to the Subprime backlash? I mean, I agree with Manolo that there is something important in the exercise of that particular move, but… naman… – have taken its toll on me that I automatically zone out on it (again, not good for a Mentat), I’ve been keeping an eye on the US Presidential Elections, especially as it enters the home stretch to the Nov. 4 elections. In fact, early voting has finished in some areas, with reports saying that, for the first time, Democrats appeared to have out-voted the Republicans.

Still, its rather… funny, in that dark humor kind of way, when the Democrats, despite all that’s going for them this late in the race, appear to having the opposite reaction: they’re getting more and more depressed. And antsy. And stressed.

In fact, two Huffington Post writers (Larry David and Sherman Yellen) share a common experience regarding this “reverse depression”, both with the frighteningly similar reasons to be fidgety about Nov. 4: that the Democrats have this amazing ability to lose a contest it has effectively won, and that the Republicans have become adept at using tactics and operations we Filipinos all seem familiar with to win.

But I suppose you really can’t blame them. At least twice in the last eight years, they’ve been on the cusp of victory only to see it snatched away. There is something… horrible – and I’m talking in the Lovecraftian way, the kind that makes you go for a Sanity Saving Roll – about going to sleep knowing you’ve won and waking up the next day to defeat. Or winning the popular vote, but somehow losing in that crazy thing the Americans call the “Electoral College” because one state managed to get, uh… defective ballots.

Wow, doesn’t that sound familiar? Karl Rove must have studied here.

Still, its a little frightening to hear that Americans sound as if they’re, well… us. Or any citizen from a non-Industrialized nation when it comes to election woes. I mean, that is America, after all. If Americans can wonder – no, stressed out – over being disenfranchised or having their vote stolen… Dude, that’s, like, the foremost democracy in the world. And ordinary Americans are afraid that their elections will not reflect the people’s will?

Its also quite depressing to see how Doublespeak is alive and well in America. I don’t understand the kind of… logic where one group decries unfairness, denial of freedoms, of an attitude that is “Un-American” yet could actually encourage supporters to go out, not to vote, but to heckle ordinary citizens exercising their Constitutional right to do so, albeit earlier than everybody else.

I mean, this is… retarded: how can John McCain – let’s not mention Sarah Palin; that’s asking too much of her and her $150,000 regalia. She must be Hockey Mom to a League superstar, then – not come out in national television and stop such… Un-American acts by his supporters? Or to come out strongly against the astounding – and frightening – levels of hate-mongering among the GOP base?

Its… insane! Has McCain lost any sense of decency and honor?

And perhaps this is what’s got Democracts all fidgety and chewing their fingers: it could all go wrong. America stands on the brink of history, of salvation from eight years where all its power, prestige and the goodwill of the world’s nations went the way of its Bison. Yet it could all go wrong. Horribly wrong. The person who is willing to do anything and everything, no matter how dirty, to win the White House, and his crazy running mate, might just win.

Elections are necessarily exciting in certain parts of the world; we Filipinos have often been described as “celebrating” our Elections, flawed as they are, as if it was a local fiesta. Its certainly stressful for us who have to run campaigns, get people out to exercise their rights, but its all fun, really.

But its different when you hear of people who can’t sleep, can barely eat, whose very lives are suspended because Nov. 4 is crawling so slowly to the block.

No, this isn’t a laughing matter. Because it just goes to show how important elections can be, the transformative value it can bring to a people mired in fear, distrust and despair.

I only hope that the guy leading the Republicans right now can do that one, last act of patriotism by helping ensure that, regardless of the outcome, the Vote this Nov. 4 truly reflects the will of Americans.

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