OPINION – There’s a lot of talk right now about how many people are looking forward to Wednesday morning when the votes are counted and all of this vicious, nasty business that has polarized the nation for months now is over.
If, indeed, the polls are accurate, and there is every reason to believe they are, we may not know for quite some time who will raise his hand and take the oath of office in January.
They are knotted right now at about 47 percent each, with the President holding a slight advantage in the Electoral College.
But, everything is up for grabs, as we learned in 2000 when the election was decided by the courts.
Toss in the October Surprise of Hurricane Sandy pummeling the East Coast and it’s anybody’s ballgame at this point.
The tragedy in all of this is that voters have been so hostile, so angry, so filled with venom this election cycle that it will take years, at best, before the nation returns to normal, whatever normal may be.
A couple of months ago, I read an Associated Press report that both sides had already hired attorneys in key states to stand by and file papers in states where the election results are even slightly questionable.
You can bet that with all the blood in the water, the sharks are circling and ready to pounce. Attorneys are like that, you know, and they could prolong this decision until Easter if they really set their teeth into it.
The problem is, of course, that as a nation, we are, traditionally, supposed to work at putting our differences aside and unifying after we go to the ballot box.
That’s not going to happen this time.
This race has been so buried in acrimony, there have been so many lies, so much blood-letting, that I don’t know how long — if ever — it will take to heal the wounds. Even then, the scars will remain.
And, if it goes to the courts, if jurists are called upon to determine who will sit in the Oval Office these next four years, it will compound the ill feelings and drop a heavy veil of distrust between the voters and those who represent them. The full effect won’t be known until 2016 when we will learn just how many people threw up their hands in disgust, distrust, and frustration after the final ballots are tallied and the winner is declared this time around.
We experienced something akin to that decades ago after the McGovern-Nixon election, but for much different reasons.
Nixon clearly whipped McGovern in one of the largest landslides in the nation’s history. Of course, it all came apart for his administration when the President and his running mate, Spiro Agnew, resigned in disgrace.
A lot of voters, particularly many of the younger voters who came from the liberal side of the political spectrum, lost faith in the system, especially when President Gerald Ford, who took the job when Nixon resigned, gave his former boss a pardon.
To some of us, the election of Richard Nixon was a betrayal of all that is/was good with the “system,” further evidence that we were under the control of corrupt leaders who would stop at nothing to retain their stranglehold on power.
When Nixon took office, we felt we had nobody to represent us. We understood that the majority — in that case, an overwhelming majority — had spoken, but we couldn’t shake that fact that our leaders are supposed to represent all of us, not just those who fall in line politically.
It took a couple of elections before some of us returned to the system and ventured into the booth on election day.
It happened again during the Bush years, when many of us believed the President was involving us in an illegal, immoral war and kowtowing to the interests of Middle East leaders — particularly Bush family friends and business associates in Saudi Arabia — and placing their interests ahead of ours.
If this race comes down to a photo finish, with the results Photoshopped by the courts, it will be even worse.
No bad days!
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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