“I would equate it (McCain losing the presidential election) with a death.” That’s how Victoria S. Gelais feels according to an AP story in today’s Rutland Herald. Rationally, it is difficult to believe that someone would be so devastated as to equate the loss of her favored presidential candidate to the death of a loved one. Are we really so split as a country that we truly believe the other presidential candidate is that dangerous? I’ll be honest, when I hear people say they are afraid of Obama as president, when I hear people say they think he is dangerous, I cannot rationally understand it.
Dangerous is the drunk driver flying down the highway in his Suburban. Dangerous is the slightly unhinged individual walking around carrying a loaded weapon. Dangerous is the loose dog running free in the neighborhood terrorizing young children. Dangerous is not the other presidential candidate.
I have to be honest again, though, and admit that I’ve said about myself, “I’ll be devastated if Obama loses.” And I will. It’s not because I’m afraid of a McCain presidency, nor because I think McCain is dangerous. It is more that I am worried about a continued reliance on bully tactics and military force to solve problems around the world.I’m worried about the rhetoric making this an us vs them society. I’m extremely worried about McCain’s pandering to right wing evangelicals. If we were just talking about differences in tax policy and the role of the federal government, I don’t think I would be as worried.
But, my devastation would be about more than my personal dislike of the other presidential candidate. It would also stem from the sad realization that a majority of the citizens in this country truly do believe that the other candidate, with his stated policies and senate record, is the better choice. It would mean that people who support the anger, hate, and bully tactics that have been and currently are part of the process, are the majority. That scenario deeply saddens me and, yes, it is devastating.
A political race doesn’t have to be this potentially devastating, though. Here in Vermont we have a very similar race for governor. We have an incumbent republican governor, who is running for reelection, up against two strong candidates, one democrat and the other independent. I plan to vote for the independent. But, if the republican incumbent wins again, which is likely to happen, I won’t be devastated. I’ll be unhappy, but not devastated. Is this because I expect the incumbent to win and I’m not as invested in the thought of my candidate winning? Is this because I am not as invested in my gubernatorial (pronounced goober-natorial) candidate as I am in my presidential candidate? Or is it simply because my gubernatorial candidates differ mostly on tax policy and the role of the government?