Politics / Presidential Race 2012

Reflections on the Impending End of the Endless Election

With her tearful statement, “I’m tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney,” four-year-old Abigael Evans became the voice of the nation. Like many of her compatriots, Abby has heard one too many reports on the 2012 presidential campaign and she’s reached her breaking point. Luckily for Abby and the rest of campaign weary America, in four days the seemingly endless slog for the White House will be over. But for political junkies, November 6, 2012 will mark the end of an eight-year saga.

Eight years? Yes, eight years. In actuality, the race began back in 2004, when then Illinois state senator Barack Obama delivered his dazzling DNC keynote address and then Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney began his foray into the GOP big leagues, making his own primetime appearance at the RNC. Their shadow campaigns came forth in 2007, when Obama and Romney each competed for their party’s presidential nomination. Now, with just four days to go until Americans cast their ballots, the campaign is as close as could be, promising a thrilling ending for those of us who have been following from the beginning.

But I find the election’s impending conclusion somewhat sad. In fact, I relate it to my experience watching another epic drama – Gone with the Wind. By the time the movie reached its final hour (it’s four hours for those poor souls who haven’t seen it) I was getting pretty antsy. I’d had just about enough of Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley and the cast of characters whirling around them in the state of Georgia. But at the same time, I didn’t really want the story to end because it was exciting and I knew the characters.

Likewise with the election. I’m about ready for Ohio to fade back into oblivion. I’m tired of the sniping between the candidates and their surrogates. Mostly I’m tired of not knowing what the result will be (Romney or Obama? Rhett or Ashley?).

Yet Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are so familiar. In turn they’ve been infuriating, funny, disappointing, and inspiring. Sure, they’ve gotten somewhat boring because their familiarity has made it hard for either man to surprise anyone, but it’s nice to know what to expect. In a highly volatile world, it’s nice to have a little stability.

Of course in the end, one of these men will be elected President. He will grace our TV screens and newspapers for the next four years, becoming ever more familiar to those who are watching. But the loser, particularly if it is Mitt Romney, will fade from memory, perhaps making the news from time to time, but largely forgotten by an audience that was exceedingly tired of him.

So when all of the ballots are counted and the winner is chosen, the loser will be faced with the same dilemma posed by Scarlett O’Hara – “Where shall I go? What shall I do?”

For the vast majority of Americans the response is Rhett Butler’s- “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” But for me, I’ll be feeling like Scarlett. What shall I read about everyday? What shall consume most of my thoughts?

As Scarlett herself realized, “Tomorrow is another day.” And on November 7, the race for 2016 will be underway.