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1960 Revisited?

By       Message Jayne Lyn Stahl     Permalink
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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H2 10/30/08

Author 1927
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The race is very close, but Obama's lead is consistent! As long as he maintains a steady lead, however small, the White House is his.

Remember, in the 1960 election, JFK won 49.7% of the vote, and Nixon got 49.6% of the vote, hence Kennedy won the popular vote by 1/10 of 1%. With regard to the electoral college, in 1960, it was JFK--303 to Richard Nixon--219. Obviously, the electoral college map will be what clinches this election. Pennsylvania is the crucial state to watch, as is pretty evident.

But, apart from the math which would be daunting to JFK were he to be subjected to the same trial by mainstream media, efforts at disenfranchisement, and voter nullification, is the fatalism with which many approach not merely the polls, but the underlying premise of race, or religion, as a disqualifier.

Think we've come a long way since 1960? Well, think again. If a Muslim or Jew were to run for president, he or she would face the same bigotry Kennedy did back in 1960---so much for the information superhighway, and evolution. So much for intelligent design, too. Only a sadist would allow anything it created to remain stupid for this long.

As for JFK, he knew he had an uphill battle because he was a Catholic, but he was confident that, in the end, his religion would not stand in the way of his election to the highest office of the land. Can we assure the next generation of presidents of this?

If we've learned nothing else from the ugliness of this election, religious intolerance, and bigotry, in this country, is as much a part of the equation as race.

Just as the Constitution holds that there can be no religious test for office, there can be no racial test, either.

Thomas Jefferson, who once said "Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies," was right about something else, too. "The constitutional freedom of religion [is] the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights" as he told the Virginia Board of Visitors back in 1819.
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John McCain's concept of a "Christian nation" is almost as reactionary as his running mate's feigned red scares. Palin may be proud she can handle a polysyllable like "socialist" without screwing it up, but the rest of the world is terrified to think that she may have any input, at all, in shaping our foreign policy, and we should be, too.

Obama will prevail---not by much. He'll get the electoral college majority, and do slightly better than JFK on the popular vote. As long as he maintains a consistent lead, victory will be his on election day.

But, to the victors go the spoils. It will be up to Obama to work with Congress, and the Supreme Court, to take the Bill of Rights off life support, affirm the separation of church and state, and immunize the Almighty from charges of corrupting the morals of a country by taking us to war.

Ultimately, too, it's up to the next president to show that, in the final analysis, the White House belongs to us!
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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.

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