#945 – Dick Bernard: Two Weeks before the 2014 Election.

Previous related posts: here and here.
There is no magic in the next two weeks. The difference will be measured strictly by how many people actually vote on November 4.
Vote yourself, and urge everyone you know to vote, and for everyone, to vote with full awareness of the implications of your vote (or non-vote). This is our country, our democracy.
Since President Obama has been made to be an issue in this election, it interested me that Saturday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune had an letter about worst Approval ratings of past U.S. Presidents:
(click to enlarge)
Obama Appr Oct 18 Strib001
Given incessant attacks by his enemies, President Obama seems to be doing right fine, especially given that the entire Republican program for the past six years has been to try to drive down his approval numbers: to make him seem to be a failure.
A day or two earlier, another poll assessed the dismal approval of Congress, very recently another poll apparently gave Congress 8% approval. I looked for a longer term tracking. Here’s one from Gallup. The craziness of we Americans is that people think THEIR Congressperson is the exception to the rule…. (at this link is another poll that says that 24% of Americans essentially are in synch with the Tea Party. One might ask why, then, does the Tea Party wield such out of proportion political influence, local, state, national? It is not a difficult question: for starters, they voted, too many of the other 76% didn’t vote in the previous two elections.)
Soon we’ll know what we Americans decided, by our vote, our non-vote, our informed or uninformed vote, or vote passed on whatever whimsical or factual thing has enamored us, such as “they’re all alike, it makes no difference who’s elected” for instance; “she’s (candidate) attractive and seems like a nice person”, and on and on. We will get exactly what we voted for (or against).
Last week I submitted the below letter to the local newspaper on my personal take on America and Americans. I’ll see, tomorrow, if it made the cut:
“Long ago, November 19, 1863 at Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln made his famous two minute address which included these words: “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”.
For some years now we’ve been engaged in another kind of “civil war”, waged largely in sound bites and made for television advertising.
This war is about who’ll run things, and how (collaboratively, or dominance). It is waged by attempting to restrict access to voting, and to influence voters to make decisions not in their best interest.
Nowadays, in my opinion, what Lincoln’s words (possibly borrowed from a quote by John Wycliffe about the Bible in 1384), have come to mean is the influence of great wealth in managing the political conversation. The words, “The people” have been replaced by “the rich”, in many ways.
Perhaps we all think that we, too, will become rich; that somehow we can prevail and live the high life above the common folks.
As for the rich, a tiny few do succeed, perhaps even in the long term. But they are the very tiny few.
Several years ago I had the unpleasant duty of sorting out the affairs of a relative who’d lost his house and was destitute.
The immediate cause was the Minnesota Lottery. But in the detritus of his possessions I found videos of getting rich in real estate (“no money down”) and Ayn Rand’s paean to greed: “The Virtue of Selfishness”.
Tuesday, November 4, like all election days, is a referendum on what we mean by “we, the people of the United States” (the first words of our Constitution) when we have another opportunity to choose who’ll make government decisions affecting us.
Our choices have consequences, especially so for the rich.
Someone needs to have the money to spend to make Black Friday possible. It’s as simple as that.
Cast a well informed vote November 4.”

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