Guarded optimism

First off, “commerations” to Pulao on a prelim turn-in!

Secondly, in the upcoming elections, all the winds seem to be blowing in the right correct direction. And I must say, I’m hoping to have a big celebration on election night, but three things caught my eye today. None of these stories suggest that opinion in this country is changing, but it does remind me that it takes more than opinion to win in electoral politics.

It first takes a transparent and clear system for voting. And with the NY Times analysis of voting maching troubles that don’t even have anything to do with the potential ease of tampering, I’m mighty nervous about where we’re headed.

It is also important to remember that in the midst of all this good pre-election news, the GOP is a well-oiled machine. It works on many levels, from the big-moneyed pioneers, the lock-stock messaging of the conservative media members, the massive get out the vote campaigns, and the less-than-level Swift Boat type organizations. Nothing reminded me of that more than this story out of California. US citizens who immigrated to the US long ago have been warned in a series of mailings that if they vote they will be deported. These have been traced back to a GOP operative in California.

So while an increasingly unpopular war drags down the popularity of the GOP and scandal seems to pop up every day: bribery, extortion, sexual misconduct, voter suppression, abuse of power etc. we should all still be worried about machines: GOP, voting and otherwise.

Last point from the news today. Studies that tell you things you already knew to be obvious are in my estimation a recent phenomenon. So, for instance, the idea that, yes indeed, an antiaging hormone, marketed as being able to cease and even reverse the results of aging is a bunch of bunk.

Studies also show the pills claiming to make you fly, breathe underwater, and leap tall buildings don’t seem to work as advertised either. But in some way, we as a society do seem to need studies to prove things we already know to be a little suspect. And even with such studies, people will dismiss them and go on buying this hormone. The power to believe just about anything is one of humanity’s greatest achievements. Seriously.

And speaking of believing just about anything, with things going so well right now in the polls for the Dems, I’ll have a hard time believing it if things don’t go well for the Dems on election day, but I doubt most people will. There will be a convenient narrative for whatever happens on election day. There has to be so that the system can retain legitimacy.

And unfortunately, if things go poorly, there will never be a headline some time later that reads: “Study shows that election results in ’06 didn’t reflect public’s voting intent.” And even if there was, we’ll all go on believing what we want to believe.

 

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