Monday, November 03, 2008

This is the night / That either makes me or undoes me quite

Those were the words of Iago, as his audacious plan to destroy his enemies reached its crisis point, and here we are on the last night of the American election campaign.

I think that Obama will win, tightening polls notwithstanding, because I'm naturally pessimistic, and I heard the same wishful thinking from Kerry and Gore supporters the day before their candidate lost. Also, as I wrote before, I think that this is more than a mere "business as usual" election; I think that there are supernatural forces moving, and it is no accident that the United States is entering its period of crisis, breakdown and refining, just as so many other organizations and institutions are.

But even putting aside such mystical themes, I think that democracy has run its race, and is now faltering, even in the place where it was most powerful and successful. Even if McCain wins, it will only put off the crisis for 2 years, or 4 years. Every contest is now a life-or-death struggle, a desperate battle on the edge of the Reichenbach Falls. How can any party or government or people even spare a moment to think about improving their country, when every moment is perceived as mortal combat with an evenly matched opponent at one's throat?

Elections didn't used to be so important, and it's a sure sign of the way society has decayed that they are now ALL-important. I'm beginning to feel that the situation is the same as the description of fighting terrorists: "We have to succeed every time; they only have to succeed once." No political party can win EVERY TIME - it's impossible. And yet every election is seen as possibly the last one, if the enemy should succeed in taking the walls. And if it WERE possible for Republicans to win every election, then what sort of democracy would the United States be, really? The whole idea of democracy is that there should be a swing from one side to the other. It's based on the idea that your opponent isn't really all that different from you. Once that basic similarity vanishes, democracy goes with it. Now elections are just war by other means, and half the country is convinced that the other half is making war upon it.

It's more than "polarization" - it's two different nations at war, each resolved, once in the ascendant, never to let the other rise, lest he fly at his throat. The dressings of democracy and freedom will last a little longer, but I think the reality is gone forever.


Anonymous Sibyl said...

Isn't the division and polarity the same one that is also dividing the Church?

5:34 pm  
Blogger Allen Lewis said...

Well, it has happened. The electoral vote is quite an impressive landslide for Obama. Yet the popular vote is not as wide.

Obama made a very good acceptance speech. Yet, the devil is always in the details. We will just have to see how his presidency shapes up.

I hope that the Democrats do not start characterizing all opposition as being "partisan." That would really be just too much coming from them - the experts at partisanship.

So, we shall see.

1:21 am  

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