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The evening before election day in Shrewsbury….

Well we’ve come to the end of election season at last.  Soon we’ll be able to return to a normal life.  A life without hostility intertwining it’s way into our commercials, a life with no standouts on Saturday mornings, no signs, no bumper stickers and no debates.  Soon, we can all hug and love each other again, and worry about things like how Randy Moss can get fired his first week on the job.

Tomorrow night, we’ll know the answers, and find out who our leaders will be.  Some of the news will be exciting, and other news will be disappointing, and yet the world will ultimately go on.   Why is that by the way?   I mean if we believe what we hear on the television commercials, the world as we know it should stop spinning on it’s axis in candidate a gets elected instead of candidate b.  Yet historically, has that ever really happened?  Would Nixon have done anything different than Kennedy did during the Bay of Pigs?  Well I suppose he might have bugged Castro’s headquarters and had better intel, but other than that would it really have been any different?   If the hanging chads had hung in a slightly different way in Boca Raton, and All Gore were President, would we not have gone into Iraq?  When Obama was elected, wasn’t there a campaign promise to bring all of our troops home in 6 months?

I suppose in the end the question is whether any of our political leaders really have the power to make any substantive change, good or bad, in anything that affects our daily lives.   That doesn’t imply that they don’t all work hard, or have the best of intentions, but rather that the “power” that any one political figure has in our Democracy is so diluted that they really can’t single handedly do much of anything.   I watched with great interest the debate between Jim McGovern and Marty Lamb, and they both insist that one of the primary reasons to vote for them is that they will “bring jobs to the region.”   Now, can any of them actually “bring jobs?”  One of them will most certainly be elected tomorrow.  When exactly will the jobs be here?

Even the President of the United States has no power at all to make 90% of the changes he promised.   Allowing gays to serve in the military, bringing peace and prosperity to the world, brining home the troops, or the famous Obama tag line about working for “Main Street, not Wall St.”  Is that what the huge bank bailout package did? I don’t fault the President. I’m sure he’s doing his best.  It’s just that he can only do what he can get all the other branches of government to go along with.  We don’t live in a monarchy here.  Actually, even if we did…..can the Queen of England do anything she wants?

I’m sure I had a point here, though I’m not quite sure what it was.  I think it basically comes down to a simple acceptance that no matter what the results of the election hold for tomorrow, it’s going to be ok. Life will go on.  Those who lose will cry, lick their wounds, and get back to work, always wondering if people will ever stop thinking of them as “the candidate that didn’t win.”  They wont, by the way…but they will view you with deep respect as the candidate who tried.  Those who win will celebrate, cast a sigh of relief, and then wonder what the hell they got themselves in to.   Their first week will be a whirlwind of excitement and thrill beyond belief, as they feel more important then they’ve ever felt in their lives. Then, reality sets in, as they get into their first meetings, and realize that their idealist views sounded great in the campaign, but their fellow elected officials have other ideas, and building a consensus is altogether different then running a campaign.  In the end, as the old saying goes, “a camel is a horse built by committee.”  You win some, you lose some.

Of course, in the end, everyone will try to do the best throughout their term, so they can to justify coming back to us in two years and asking to be elected once again.  And the circle of life goes on…

“And the seasons they go ’round and ’round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game”

Joni Mitchell

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