A casual post on election night:
It is amazing to consider how many Americans think their world might be ending. It is tempting to say that the vast majority of Americans think that the election of the candidate they oppose would mean borderline dystopian, but this would be inaccurate. There are many cynical Americans who think they are basically screwed either way, but they are underrepresented in the cultural elite, and not the “real Americans” this elite chooses to represent.
Without doubt, things in life have real consequences for real people. To the extent the elections are a thing, they can have consequences. But people aligned with one of the two parties tend to do a poor job estimating these consequences. They overestimate the damage the opposition would do, and underestimate the damage that would come from their party. In itself, that is not a critique of lesser-of-two-evilism. However, just like elections are things, drones are things, and deportations and prisons and kill lists are things. Legitimizing the use of the term “terrorist” as magic word that abolishes an individual’s basic rights is a thing too. These things also have consequences.
People are also excessively certain. If Romney/Obama wins they know exactly what will happen. This super certainty is on display when one of those people who wanted Joe Lieberman to be vice president explains exactly how a Gore White House would have governed. Typically, this involves not going to war with Iraq. The story is that everything was fine in Iraq until them damn neo-cons came in talking about Saddam and regime change. I have no idea what Gore would have done. However, since I was born in the late 1970s, I do actually remember the 90s. So I know that it was Clinton who made the case to America that Saddam was a threat to the world and that regime change was necessary.
These are the words of Bill Clinton (liberal hero) in 1998:
“And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.”
Speaking of liberal heroes, there is the liberal feminist Madeleine Albright’s famous cost-benefit analysis of a half million dead Iraqi children:
After such an administration it is absurd for liberals like Kevin Drum at Mother Jones (politically, Mother Jones is now the huffington post with less celebrity wardrobe malfunctions) to blame the torture of Iraqis on Nader supporters, while defending the party that advanced the cause for war on Iraq for almost a decade. Yes, elections have consequences. Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Madeleine Albright starving hundreds of thousands of kids has consequences too. Also the bombings. Also the fearmongering.
But whatever – the main point is that the world won’t end. Or, more accurately, its ending probably won’t accelerate either way. The election turns everyone into Jessi Slaughter’s dad (RIP): “CONSEQUENCES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.” Put things in context. No matter how horrific the results are for you tonight, at least we can be relieved that unlike 2011, people won’t elect Green Day as the greatest punk band ever.