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Will one election cycle be enough?

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Message marc awodey

The punditocracy of "Ballot Bowl" and America's 24 hour news scrum has gotten me thinking strategically too. Either that or I've been sucking on too many lead painted toys.

Like more than two-thirds of my fellow Vermonters, the idea of voting for a Republican president would normally be beyond the pale of a sober imagination. After all we've elected the brilliant Mr. Leahy, socialist Senator Sanders, and our greatest hero in recent memory was "Jeezum" Jim Jeffords who bolted from the Republican fold the minute Bush junior began ruling as the tyrant he is. "The Club For Growth" and other neo-fascist stalwarts called Jeffords "Benedict Arnold" for doing it - but they didn't realize that here on the shore of Lake Champlain we remember Arnold as the hero of the Battle of Valcour Island. His attempt to sell out the United States is easily forgiven, considering the current regime. And when 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean snapped of Bush "He's not my president!" the media gasped, but we Vermonters were ready to coronate Howard president of a breakaway republic. Our view of Bush/Cheney's war of aggression has always been: Found no weapons of mass destruction? Great! Mission Accomplished! Now let's get the hell out of there. The whole point was genuinely, honestly about WMD right?

So you see, I'm nervous about this feeling I'm getting in the back of my head. I'm afraid to even verbalize it. But I'm thinking about voting for McCain in November. It makes me feel like the vampire who said "kill me before I kill again" but I just think the front runner Democrats are too good for this moment in history. I like Hillary, and I like Obama. Obama's better on foreign affairs, and Hillary's better on health care; but I'll take either of them. The weird idea that's percolating within is - I don't want to see our first female president, or first African American president, stuck mucking out the Augean stables in 2009. Let's give the Herculean sh*t shovel to McCain. He'll have so much to do, in order to keep Western civilization from completely collapsing, that he won't be able get us into any serious trouble.

The incompetence of the Bush administration, in every sphere of governmental responsibility, will leave his successor without much room for achievement. Snapshots of the economy read like science fiction: A 9.2 trillion dollar national debt, $100 a barrel oil, a US dollar worth less than the Canadian dollar, federal deficits that make Bush's dad's deficits look like the good ole' days. In foreign affairs - Bush's sweetheart Karen Hughes sure did fine job as an Under Secretary of State for sprucing up our image in the Middle East didn't she? Dominatrix Condi herself has been great too - and so truthful to foreign leaders, congress, and the American people! North Korea made a nuke, that's a high five for the Axis of Evil, and Afghanistan is looking lovelier than ever with all those Taliban enriching poppies in bloom. Here in the "homeland" - environmental protection is no longer within the purview of the EPA, we have an entirely new shadowy bureaucracy called The Department of Homeland Security. No (white) Child Left Behind, Medicare Part K Street; the litany is endless. And how may this endlessness eventually end? Will one election cycle be enough to get us out of Bush world? I'm not so sure. There's a whiff of catastrophe in the air.

So unless the gotterdammerung occurs in the next nine months while Bush/Cheney are still on their duel throne, thus clearly absolving the next president of blame, let's allow our historically wonderful Democratic candidates to keep their distance from the coming apocalypse. Let the GOP reap the whirlwind. McCain can spend the next four years grumbling as he extinguishes the flames, and maybe the slash and burn ashes will have cooled by 2012. Then the first female president, or the first African- American president, can truly build a "Great Society" or "Camelot" reigning over a marginally refurbished America.

On the other hand... I guess he/she can do that in her/his second term too. Maybe even Wolf Blitzer will realize the immensity of the abyss Bush has cast us into when triage begins, and give the first female president, or the first African- American president, a little bit of hard won slack? I suppose Clinton and Obama can take care of themselves without me looking out for them. They do know how to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, which is more than I can do.

Ok - so maybe I'm feeling a little better.


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Marc Awodey is an American contemporary artist and poet. His poetry collections include "Telegrams from the Psych Ward" (1999), and "New York; a haibun journey" (2002). He's also author of the collection of essays "Art and Machine: 95 theses" (2004) (more...)
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