Opinion | Feeling less than brave in 'land of the free' after the election
Well it's over. Homeowners can relieve their overwhelmed lawns of their flimsy political sign burden and Ohio can return to its role as overlooked and unimportant in the eyes of the rest of the nation.
Political season has come to an end and for most of us here in the Buckeye State, a time of relative peace is upon us.
Not for me, though.
This election, the first in which I was eligible to vote for president, was an eye-opening experience for me. My attempts to find evidence of candidates' worth that was clean of partisan influence were often for naught, but I expected that and was unsurprised. What I didn't expect was the effect that the obvious image shaping of the respective parties' candidates would have on me; today I feel less than brave in the "land of the free."
Nov. 6, 2012 was the first time I voted and it very well may be my last.
My idealistic viewpoint of the world was so totally shaken by the willing participation of both parties in fueling the American class clash that I almost feel morally obligated to remove myself from the system entirely.
Leaving the polls at Shriver Center at 7:30 a.m., I felt wrong. I found myself hoping against hope that my vote (which I changed at the last minute, choosing one political candidate at first and then skipping back to electronically switch my selection) would not be the one to tip the scales one way or the other, since I had absolutely no conviction behind my decision, only fear and confusion.
President Barack Obama's backers made me fear the neglect of the indigent, the criminalization of sex and the rise of plutocracy. Mitt Romney's camp frightened me with warnings of a culture of government reliance, the criminalization of business owners and the loss of American efficacy in global politics.
Torn between a thirst for social justice and a fondness for capitalism and freedom, my decision about who to vote for had never been a clear-cut one. I longed for a candidate with values and plans that ignored the biases of flawed political ideologies in favor of logic and reason.
What I found were strategies aimed less at educating the American public about the man they should vote for and more at scaring them into submitting to one or the other party's will regardless of their candidate's merits.
The tactics employed by both sides painted pictures of their respective opponents as unsympathetic to the needs and problems of a particular subdivision, either the lower class (Romney) or big business (Obama).
Fox News analysts evaluating President Obama's victory in the wee hours of Wednesday, Nov. 7, noted that his campaign had been more successful at predicting the number of voters, by race, who would support their candidate than Romney's had been.
Basically, Team Obama did a better job of profiling its supporters, analyzing where it needed more support and catering its message accordingly. Simply put, it scared the right number of people in the right demographic at the right time.
Now that election season is over, we Americans are left weakened in the aftermath of a race we suffered through anxiously.
The aftershock the citizens of the United States are feeling post-Nov. 6 includes a fear of the power politicians have convinced us they can exert over us and distrust of those in social classes apart from our own, whom we have been persuaded are out to get us.
The rich fear the poor milking them for all they're worth.
The poor fear the rich will strip away the government programs that keep them subsisting.
The rest of us are confused about which side we should be on and how long this is going to keep up.
At the end of the day, it seems the happiness, disappointment or ambivalence each voter felt when President Obama secured his second term is now at least subtly tinged with fear and anticipation.
Instead of a feeling of relief that the election is over, I feel lost and nervous about the political climate perpetuating class conflict.
Noting the incalculable influence our most powerful politicians have imposed on society at large, I have questions about what will happen next it the U.S.
Where is our country going, I wonder?
What is going to change?
And do we have the power, should we need it, to make it stop?
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