Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Echo Chamber

Holy shit. It wasn't a landslide. It wasn't even close. And we can keep calling it "a victory without a mandate," but that's just something we say to comfort our side. I'm sure Barack Obama won't see it that way, and neither will the people who voted for him. As we'll see.

I'm a Canadian, so the results of the U.S. elections are, as I keep saying, just fantasy football for me. Except that it affects the world and its future, so there's that. You'll forgive me if I take my conservative prerogative and use the royal "we" for the rest of this post since the defeat of the Romney/Ryan ticket is a kneecapping for more than just the people who could exercise their franchise yesterday.

It was a serious ass-kicking, and not just because we were so woefully off in our predictions. Allan West lost, as did Mia Love. Scott Brown lost handily to Elizabeth Warren, which kind of sours all the chuckling we did over the Fauxcahontas jokes, doesn't it? Fifty per cent of the popular votes, and 303 electoral college seats. It wasn't as broad a victory as Obama's win in 2008, but it didn't have to be. We were imagining the exact opposite, and I can't imagine that the other side is going to let us forget it.

Obummer. Obozo. Teleprompter-in-chief. The One. Urkel. Barry Hussein. The Kenyan. The Choom Prince. The Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers. Bam-Bam. Obamadinejad. The Light Bringer. The Empty Chair. O-socialist. Obama bin Laden. We've called Barack Obama a lot of names in the last four years, some of them pretty damned clever. (I'm partial to Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers, myself.) But the fact remains that he is, and remains for the next four years, President Barack Obama, and every name we've called him has diminished our ability to take him seriously enough to imagine him actually winning a second term.

If you thought his performance in the first debate would sink him, you were wrong. If you thought young voters were disappointed by the first four years and were going to sleep in, you were wrong. If you thought that the dismal economy had swung the undecided to Romney, you were wrong. If you thought that every stirring YouTube video and damning blog post detailing the disasters of the last four years were one more nail in his coffin, you were so very, very fucking wrong.

If you thought that Benghazi and the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff was a fatal, Watergate-sized blow, you were so wrong that you should get up and try and find a mirror right now, because there's a 50-50 chance you put you underwear on over your clothes this morning.

Yes, we've all seen the video of the young Obama supporters at a campaign rally at Ohio University, admitting that they'd never heard of Stevens or Benghazi. It made you laugh and shake your head, but the truth is that they probably voted, and Ohio was the tipping point that won Obama the electoral college. Sure, they sounded stupid, but that doesn't stop them from voting, does it? Shit, not even death can do that anymore.

We've been complaining that the media carried water for Obama, but if these kids hadn't even heard of what happened in Libya, the fact is that they probably don't pay any attention to TV or newspapers in the first place. Which might be good news, depending on how you look at it.

And sure, we can shake our heads at "stupid Democrats" or "stupid kids" or "stupid Americans" (if you're not one.) But it's a numerical certainty that there are probably just as many idiots on the Republican side of the political dodgeball game. They just don't have blogs.

I can say "you were wrong," but the truth is that we were wrong - I was wrong - because I let myself believe that Obama didn't stand a chance. A few weeks ago I had lunch with a friend from New York. He's also a Canadian, and a conservative, but when we talked about the election, he was sure that Obama would win. I did the usual exasperated stammering - "...comeonman economyBenghazi jobsChina WisconsinIranSolyndra..." - but he was right and I was wrong. We were wrong. We were so fucking wrong.

We accuse the media and liberals and academics and practically everyone else not on our side of living in an echo chamber, but the fact is that we've built our own echo chamber, and it was just sturdy enough to last until around midnight last night. And it would be a big mistake if we went about trying to build it again.

So I don't have a lot of advice for my American friends, except that if you know about any voter fraud committed yesterday, you should pursue it even if it makes you look like sore losers. Because after all, that's not the worst thing you're going to be called. And let's be honest - your electoral system is an absolute fucking mess. It would be more accurate if you all stood in a field and yelled "yea" or "nay."

In any case, you can give up on stopping Obamacare. You'll probably end up going broke in about a year or so, and there's a pretty healthy chance you might have to deal with a few more terrorist attacks, perhaps on your own soil. And forget about jobs; the people who make those will be going to earth for the next four years, since they're going to be asked to pay for a lot of free stuff - about a business week's worth, actually. Everyone else will be on the hook for the rest of the year. Good luck with that.

Me, I'm a Canadian. We'll muddle through somehow, probably by doing more business with China, while that lasts. As for jobs, it's irrelevant to me - I made the mistake of working in the only business that's going to keep declining no matter who's in power. Another year of this and my best hope is finding a gig as one of those middle-aged guys in the orange aprons at Home Depot who tells you where to find the galvanized washers. I love you guys and I'd love to worry more about you, but I have my own shit to deal with just at the moment.

1 comment:

  1. 1. For one thing, I can now open discussions with the statement: "You re-elected Barack Obama".
    2. I can be much less embarrassed by Jean Chretien.