Election day

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2012 at 11:33 am

Today is the presidential election, and I have a few thoughts. First, I’m predicting a decisive win for Obama. Calling a landslide prior to the election is in almost no one’s best interest: it reduces the election’s value as a news item (so media outlets won’t do it), encourages voter apathy (so campaigns won’t do it), and exposes the predictor to the possibility of looking extremely foolish (so people with reputations won’t do it). Probably for these and similar reasons, all elections look close beforehand; but I’ve never thought we were anywhere near to electing a President Romney, except perhaps for a few days after the first debate, when the electorate seemed to wonder if Obama still wanted the job. In my opinion, Obama heavily outclasses Romney in political acumen and personal authenticity; his vision for the country seems basically right rather than almost completely wrong; and his performance during his first term more than qualifies him for a second one. So without any evidence, I trust that the aggregated judgment and intuition of the American people will produce an Obama victory.

Second, I wanted to remark on and celebrate the tolerance of most Americans during this election, which, it has been delightfully easy to forget, is between a Mormon and a black man. For such an election to be fought mostly on the issues, both political machines must have calculated that attacks against a candidate’s racial heritage or religious faith would disgust rather than energize voters. How strange and admirable that we struggle more to accept Romney’s personal wealth in a time of national hardship than we do his conviction that Jesus will one day rule from Missouri. Noticing these markers of progress as we work to develop a literally catholic culture makes me excited to live in this country.

Last, I’d like to express my gratitude for and faith in the American experiment itself. This country is like a family, and like most large families we experience a great deal of conflict, much of it extravagant and harmful. But particular occasions—weddings, funerals, reunions—can bring families together, and at these occasions the power and sanity of the family bond becomes apparent. Tonight is a reunion for this country, and even if half of us go to bed horrified by the judgment of the other half, we will have had the opportunity to glimpse the enduring strength of the American fabric. That’s something to celebrate.

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