Thursday, October 9, 2008
The Light At the End of the Tunnel?
I never thought that three weeks away from the election Obama would already have such a large lead that would have nearly everyone predicting a landslide. It almost makes you wonder whether we might actually be seeing the light at the end of a long tunnel.
You might think its a funny thing to say when the financial system is crashing down around your ears and the number of issues being described in Presidential Debates as "one of the most significant challenges that faces our country" now officially runs into at least a half-dozen - the credit crisis, disappearing jobs, disastrous state of healthcare, global warming, failing war effort in Afghanistan, crippling energy costs (happily, the credit crisis might solve this issue for everyone - oil has fallen below $90/bbl). Even the Apocalypse only has four horsemen!
Note that this does not even include issues like the Iraq War and the attendant condoning of torture or immigration or crumbling infrastructure or falling education standards - each of which has been raised by various commentators and even by the candidates as being of singular importance. So yes, it does look like we're entering the dark maw of a very long tunnel - one that we may not trundle out anytime soon - rather than coming out of one.
In the last few days, the only ray of hope - seems to be that of a victory, potentially in a landslide, for Obama. But the same days have also seen the attacks from the Republican side change from being downright dishonest (ho-hum, its a political campaign, you might say) to downright dangerous. McCain and Palin cannot not know what the potential consequences are - of rallying a base by calling the other guy a terrorist sympathiser, directly and indirectly implying treasonous behaviour. A base that by many, many reports contains innumerable nut-jobs looking for an excuse to do something, anything, about the uppity black man who increasingly looks likely to lead the country in the very near future. Well how about saving your country from a man who pals around with terrorists for an excuse? This is being done so blatantly its not even a dog-whistle. As even conservative commentator Kathleen Parker says "words can have more serious consequences than lost votes". Combining the increasing demagoguery on one side with rising, if still a little unbelieving, euphoria on the other, seems to me, to yield a brew fit for sending an unbent individual on a nasty bender.
So I worry that that light at the end of the tunnel that many of us think we're seeing is a high-speed train hurtling towards us while the media is too busy playing the driver-too-busy-texting-to-watch-the-tracks and see the other train thats broken down on the tracks. We know how that turned out only three weeks back.
Will someone tell the driver to get the hell back on the job before its too late? There are some that are standing by the tracks and shouting at the top of their voices, doing their best to alert the damn driver. Will it have an effect? I wouldn't bet on it - the McCain-Campaign-Raising-Ayers story is still new - still worth days of debate - and no new story can die until a newnew one comes along.
Even though all other events seem to indicate that that rabbit foot we've been carrying all along is likely to have belonged to a hare fallen on hard times - perhaps on this one latest game of catch with a grenade, unlike all the other recent ones - we'll all get really lucky. If so, all we'll have is a narrower election on Nov 4 than is currently predicted. I'll take that - even a narrow defeat for Obama (bitterly I might add). But if thats all that happens - it will be no thanks to the media. Or the John "Country First" McCain campaign.