To demonstrate my youth I must say that the presidential elections of 2008 will be my first. I'm still a little unsure about where my vote goes, though my only question is which candidate truly represents the left, and which are faking to get votes. In any event, my thoughts about the election are (no surprise here) largely negative. I have several very real fears about what this next year will bring. I'll outline them here in order from what I think least likely to most likely.
First, and perhaps most crazy sounding, is that come January 2009 democracy in the United States will end. Though I'm told by many that Cheney is more likely to be the offending, I perhaps gives Bush more credit than he deserves. When people say, "well, finally we'll be rid of Bush," I answer, "if he accepts the election." This man and his cronies (Loyal Bushies?) may or may not have stolen elections already, throwing our ideas of election into chaos. Is it not conceivable, then, that after elections have taken place and a winner has been announced that Bush or Cheney or whoever declare a state of marshall law and hold office indefinitely? The executive branch will have no problem keeping the armed forces on their side, to strike fear into the hearts of those who cry foul. Is it not possible that Bush might, after some glorified democrats triumphs, declare (with backing from the DOJ) that the elections were corrupt or defunct and put off re-counts pending an internal investigation that the legislative branch and US people should not worry their feeble little minds about? Most people seem to think that revolution will follow and no doubt attempts will occur, but depending on the immediate reaction of the military these rebellions would be little more than brief bloody skirmeshes, uprisings of the power-hungry liberals to subvert true "American" values with their rigged elections and messages of change. This situation I consider least likely, but nonetheless a very real possibility.
Second, and most frightening perhaps, would be the assassination of the leading opposition candidate, indeed the one that offers hope to many and would seem to have the election in the bag. Many of the great people of the world have been cut down in their prime before their true dreams were lived. Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy in the 60s, Salvador Allende in Chile, Mahatma Ghandi and Benazir Bhutto (for a modern and recent inspirational flair) are but a few. Close-mindedness, indoctrination and misunderstanding create real feelings of fear in some brought on by progressive change. There are plenty of people in the United States today, indeed significant unified percentages, to whom the idea of a black or woman as president of "America" would be unacceptable in the extreme. Despite his low approval ratings Bush still has loyal followers and many republicans don't veer from the "Bush America;" conservative, religious ideas of morality and values. For 6 years there has been a relative peace in the United States. But now, in a time that many are expecting and waiting on drastic change, nothing could be more devastating than the assassination of the leading democrats who seem to offer the most hope to many. I do not wish to see this one, of all three, come true, but there are many similarities of my generation now and the hippies of the sixties, and I think between our current democratic front-runners and the young Bobby Kennedy. Let us hope these similarities are largely superficial.
Finally, and most likely I think, is that despite the overwhelming likelihood that one, if not two, of the democratic front-runners will win the office, that the majority voter turnout will be republicans and conservatives who I believe care more to protect their nation, than do the liberals who are riding on a wave of assumption. Come November I wonder if a great number of people will see their vote as pointless, that the Iowa primaries decided the election nearly a year before. I don't think though that conservative republicans and the religious right will consider their votes lost, but instead work much harder to counter the rise of liberalism. The outcome might be a fearful upset and the continuation of the political path towards the right that this country is on.
Whatever the case, two things are certain, two things that should not be forgotten. One is that voting, however futile it may be, is the only chance that the public has to weigh in on the future of the nation and that we should never take the future as granted. Second is that Georgie still has an entire year to continue to screw things up beyond recognition, another year to start another war, another year to waste money on the military, another year to utter idiotic mumblings that have made the US the laughing-stock of the world.
5 weeks ago