Here we go into the last days of the 2012 election cycle with both major parties embroiled in a massive propaganda war while third and fourth parties scream about being shut out of the debate process. It looks like this will be a billion-dollar cycle, with money pouring this way and that to keep the ads coming and the candidates moving around the country trying to scratch out the necessary votes to carry them to what their supporters will call a victory Tuesday.
Somehow, though, the sense of winning in this year of our discontent (or is it just another year of discontent?) doesn’t carry warmth or a fluttering heartbeat. It feels more like a huge rock being lifted off one’s chest — at last. The carping, bleating, berating, lying, posturing and hatefulness soon will be over. Yes, I said hate.
The vehemence with which the major political parties have attacked opponents is astounding in its unbridled passion. From where did this fury arise? All one has to do is watch Fox News or listen to Clear Channel radio to know the answer. Even the trash-talking against Bill Clinton was mild compared to the wall-to-wall assassinations by conservatives going on today. Progressives are obliged to fight back.
You might recall while George Bush and his minions handed over a trillion dollars to the drug companies, while borrowing another trillion dollars, or so, from the Chinese to fight two wars while cutting trillions in taxes for those most capable of paying them. Remember?
Do you remember the big deal about deregulating banks and altering tax laws for corporate profiteering? Well, the Republicans decided to recapitulate the same rules that caused the economic collapse of 1929. Guess what? It “worked” again with the crash of 2009. The corporations and the super rich have now legally stashed trillions more of our dollars in foreign banks because they paid for rule changes through extensive lobbying. But these folks still have enough pocket change to pay for $50,000 per-plate fundraisers as well as coughing up still more campaign money — as much as they like — because the Supreme Court said it was OK and that money was speech.
So, here we are with the presidential race in a dead heat. According to polls, half the voters say it’s OK to keep letting the rich hide their money and to pay even fewer taxes. The other half says it’s not OK for the rich to avoid paying their fair share or for corporations to hide their money from taxation. One half thinks it’s OK to cut benefits from people who already have had them promised, while the other half thinks it’s OK to keep our promises and are willing to pay for not only universal health care, but dignity in retirement, too. One half wants to destroy public education, while the other half sees public education as our gateway to a successful future in the world community.
I wonder if peace, quiet and remembering how to be friends will come back after the election Tuesday?
Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. His books are available on Amazon.com: "Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status" and "A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools." He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.