Halcyon Days

Columns and reflections by Terry Britt

Archive for November 2008

The Big Choice (Reality Remix)

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It is somewhat ironic that, on the eve of Election Day 2008, both the Republican and Democratic candidates for President of the United States talked it up about how they will implement “change” in the country.

Their respective campaigns have been rather lacking in that quality.

Thus, I went to the early voting line last week exhibiting all the enthusiasm of someone about to have a wisdom tooth extracted, and somewhat relieved to know the wait to the ballot room would be made slightly more tolerable with the golf game loaded on my cell phone.

I’m sure a lot of people would strongly disagree, but I can’t escape one basic feeling about this supposed all-important presidential election: John McCain and Barack Obama, as a choice of main candidates, have utterly failed to convince me that the next four years are going to be “change for the better.”

Neither has said anything that captured my imagination (or my heartfelt backing).  With the economy in the toilet and a finger on the flusher, the quagmire in Iraq continuing and a multitude of job layoffs, business closures and the like, what I’ve heard for the past four months is….

….the same old tired election year rhetoric.

I guess the pivotal nature of the current times here in the U.S. and worldwide had me hoping for better.  The only thing that looks to fall into that category is the voter turnout; at least I won’t have to hear about (or worse, have to write news articles about) voter apathy.  Having said that, I’m already wondering how soon a voter remorse news story will be appropriate – regardless of who wins.

But that’s politics, as the saying goes, and couldn’t be more true than at the federal level, a behemoth so dissociated from low-income and middle-income citizens it makes Mount Everest seem a 30-minute drive from downtown Dallas.

Maybe it’s unfair to expect much out of a presidential candidate anymore, regardless of what that candidate plans, projects or promises in the effort to get your vote.  The bewildering (and probably irreversible) debt this country is in did not happen overnight or during any one four-year term, and it will not go away in the same span of time.  The only cleanup job of this magnitude I’ve ever read about is Hercules and the livestock stalls of King Augeas.

Try as they might and with the most sincere of intentions, neither John McCain nor Barack Obama is going to turn into another Hercules.

Then again, maybe it won’t matter.  Turning to the tales of another anicent civilization, consider this: According to the Mayans, none of us have got more than the next four years ahead of us anyway.

Personally, I would take that as a possible cue to just enjoy the upcoming new Washington D.C. scene as much as possible.  It should be interesting, if nothing else.  In the meantime, find personal happiness and fulfillment in yourself and the ones you love.  You’ll be amazed at how much bad news and bad times you can weather, whether or not your candidate wound up sitting in the Oval Office.

And if the whole world does come crashing to an end in 2012, you might see me taking a guitar and a couple of bottles of wine and riding a bicycle up to the nearest scenic hillside.  I’ll strum a few songs, make a toast and sip long from memories for the last moments.

Anyone who wants to join me is welcome.

When it comes to power, Terry Britt thinks most politicians are like newborn babies: An enormous appetite on one end and no sense of responsibility on the other.  You can reach him at terrybritt@hotmail.com.


Written by terrybritt

November 3, 2008 at 11:51 pm