It’s that time again. Every four years there is the fever, and also The Fear. Time to nominate, and then elect, a president. Across the nation, rookies and veteran citizens and everyone in-betwe en will cast their vote with steadfast confidence, or with a queasy, uncomfortable feeling in their belly. It’s a dangerous time, and it’s a wonderful time. High principles will be evoked though a microphone, and dirty tricks will be fostered in dark rooms. It’s a truly crummy system of electing a leader, but it remains true that it’s the best system any citizenry has ever come up with. America is beautiful, and may God (or the gods) shed his grace on thee.
All I know is that I’m gonna miss my dad on Election Day.
He recently passed away, but back in 1972 I was among the inaugural class of 18-year-olds who’d been given the license to vote, and he walked me through it. I was for McGovern, and he was for Nixon. I thought Proposition 13 was a sensible proposal to ameliorate marijuana laws; he thought that that whole notion was utter folly. Propositon 13 went down in flames, and my candidate of choice carried one, or maybe two states, in the general election. It may remain the largest landslide in American history for a long time to come. (Score: Dad = 1, Son= 0.) In short, Dad knew the lay of the land, and in the election I got my ass handed to me. It was the first time I learned that what I thought was out of sync with our country, but it wouldn’t be the last.
But that’s OK. It’s America, baby. Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug! Maybe you’re liberal, and know that we could do better on basic, human and environmental thingies, given our standing in the world. Maybe you’re conservative, and know that all good things come from economic stability, and a belief in strong moral values. Fine.
All I know is that, every four years, I bust out Fear and Loathing: On The Campaign Trail ‘72 by Hunter S. Thompson to remind myself of what it was like, then, and how it all is played out, even now. May the gods give us strength, and at least a little wisdom.
I’m gonna miss you this election, Dad. It’s just not the same without you. It may be hard to believe, but your grumbling on election night these many years was music to my ears. Here’s to bold leaders of America who have a fantastic vision of the future that is wise. Here’s to a president who is kind to all, aware of far-reaching consequences throughout the world, and someone who’s somehow able to bond ALL the knuckleheads who make up our collective peoples into some kind of red, white, and blue enthusiasm.