Just 336 hours from now, I will be sitting here at my computer. About 30 inches from me, my little television will be tuned to MSNBC to watch the election returns. At this time, 11:05 p.m., three years and 350 days ago, Keith Olbermann had just announced that MSNBC was calling the election for Barack Obama. I don’t expect this election to end that quickly. Besides, there are 435 Congressional races and 22 Senatorial elections to keep track of, not just the Presidential race.
As of today, Nate Silver “Mr. 538″ of The New York Times is predicting that President Obama will win 289.7 electoral votes with 50.1% of the popular vote. That’s not a mandate, but it’s a second term. (538, by the way, is not the number of elected offices, but the number of electors in the electoral college.)
What is critical is the House and Senate races. Without a co-operative Congress, President Obama will not succeed in his second term any more than he has in his first. We can get away with a majority in the Senate without 60 Democrats but only if Harry Reid or Chuck Schumer or whoever will be the next majority leader learned the undeniable lesson – the 60-vote filibuster rule has got to go on the first day the Senate meets, when rules can be changed on a straight majority vote.
The right wing noise machine, Fox “News” and rant radio, have spent the past four years heaping lie after lie upon the head of our President. These are people who are paid millions, tens of millions, of dollars a year to scare the pants off their listeners and viewers so they will vote for the Republicans. They have done everything they could to convince the gullible that our President is taking us down the road to a communist dictatorship, even though communism is on its deathbed, even though this President hasn’t even done anything remotely socialist. The indoctrination is amazing. No amount of facts or logic gets through. Maybe nothing ever will.
What is the final goal? Well, Karl Rove articulated it back in the early 2000s. He promised the Republican Party a “permanent majority” in Congress and the Supreme Court and permanent occupancy of the White House. There’s a term for that – one-party rule.
In the past 22 months, we have seen 500 Egyptians lay down their lives to end one-party rule. We are seeing tens of thousands of Syrian civilians dying as collateral damage in a struggle to end one-party rule. We have seen a 14-year-old girl shot in the head and neck for opposing those who would impose one-party rule on her country. We have seen a brave woman not only released from the house arrest she was under for 20 years, but elected to the first Parliament in decades that reflected multi-party rule. We have seen a wise king reform his nation’s government to end one-party rule and avoid a revolution, knowing that the tidal wave of opposition to one-party rule would eventually reach his country. We have seen other kings refuse to follow his lead and face endless protests.
All over the planet, people are waking from decades, even centuries of complacency and resignation and taking up the banner of freedom and equality.
And what are WE doing? We are marching into fascism, beaten down by a propaganda machine of unprecedented power and reach.
Benito Mussolini, who invented the idea, said, “Fascism should rightly be called ‘corporatism’ because it is the perfect merger of corporate and government power.” We tried, during the Bush administration, to sound the alarm against the rise of fascism, but were too timid, to polite to call our President and his inner circle the harbingers of death for our republic. The day the Affordable Care Act was passed, Glenn Beck declared our republic dead. We initially treated their hysteria as a joke – the birtherism, the scarey stories about sliding into Greece, the predictions that our debt would bury us and make us susceptible to terrorism. But it wasn’t a joke. We had no idea how completely the right wing had laid their foundation, how they trained their followers to distrust the free press and get their information only from “approved sources.” We were so naive about the threat to our liberty.
One-party rule. Totalitarianism. Theocratic laws passed by the oligarches to obfuscate their true agenda. Words we barely understand because they had no place in our past now foretell our future. Even during the Gilded Age of the robber barons, we never thought of this nation as being run for and by a handful of hereditary lords. Until now.
Be afraid. Be very afraid. This is not hyperventilating hysteria. This is a very real situation.
319 hours from now, the polls will open on the East Coast. If you are not voting before then in states with early voting, please make arrangements to get to the polls. Remind your employers that they are obligated to schedule their employees so they will be able to vote. Remind everyone you know that they need to vote. If you know someone who can’t physically get to the polls, offer to pick up an absentee ballot for them.
There is more involved in this election than saving our social safety net or getting our economy running again. We are fighting for the very soul of our nation, for its future, for our children’s futures. Should we fail to stop this slide into fascism, we fail not just ourselves and our children, but all those around the world who are fighting what we are blindly marching toward. We will have failed Ang San Suu Kyi and Malalai Yusufzai, and all those who look to us as an example of liberty.
There is no acceptable excuse for sitting this one out — get out there and vote.