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Election Perspectives

One of my favorite sites,, has two posts that provide some perspective on the election.

In the first one, it seems like some conservatives (including the editor of Red State and none other than Karl Rove) have apparently seen the writing on the wall and are not waiting to make excuses for Romney’s loss in the election. Even Mitt Romney himself is making excuses and blaming others.

But the more interesting post is the second one, which reminds us that this election does not signal the end of the world. The US has a sorry history of election antics, going all the way back to 1800 when Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr were tied in the electoral college, throwing the election to the House of Representatives. After 35 votes over the course of a week, Jefferson won by one vote. But some people were so unhappy about this that Jefferson had to have armed soldiers escort him to the inauguration.

Twenty four years later, Andrew Jackson was robbed when he won the most electoral votes, but not a majority, so the election was again thrown to the House, which replaced him with John Quincy Adams. And in 1876 Samuel Tilden easily won the presidential election, but irregularities in Louisiana, South Carolina and (of course) Florida put the validity of the election in question. Congress intervened and in a straight party-line vote replaced him with Rutherford Hayes, earning him the nickname Rutherfraud Hayes.

With partisan emotions running so high in Tuesday’s election, it is easy for people to despair if their candidate loses. But in reality our government is set up so that no one person has very much power (let alone is “the decider”). In a democracy, if we don’t like something about our government, then the blame has to start with us. Our responsibility doesn’t end with voting. Change has to come from us, the people.



  1. No matter who loses the election, hyperbole is going to win the next four years. This isn’t South Park where people come out of their caves and realize that the world isn’t ending simply because the “other guy” got elected. The fact that this one is looking relatively close is proof that propaganda is alive and well in the 21st century, and basic techniques still work demonstrably well. You can place your bets that the people running these social engineering schemes are reveling in that success no matter who becomes or stays as our next president, and they’re not going to stop pulling those strings anytime soon.

    Monday, November 5, 2012 at 4:06 am | Permalink
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    These arguments don’t apply anymore. Now it is possible for a single president to do permanent damage to society and to the environment. Imagine what continued, or even extended tax cuts would do, or what a rollback of the environmental regulations could do. Nature isn’t strong enough to recover from this kind of damage without diligence on our part.

    Also consider the damage to individuals if anti-gay legislation gets in place. It may be replaced four years later, but scars to individuals will not disappear.

    Monday, November 5, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink
  3. Quidam wrote:

    Given that the SCOTUS is now a firmly partisan agent and came within a narrow margin of declaring a law devised by the Heritage Foundation, promoted by the Republicans and actually implemented by Romney, unconstitutional – just because it had been proposed by a Democrat – the next term is very important. Not the end of the world, but likely the end of separation of church and state, teaching creationism instead of science, outlawing abortion and contraception and supporting voting suppression.

    Yes the world will go on, but the USA isn’t going to be a nice place to live and SCOTUS judges are there for a generation.

    Monday, November 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    I don’t disagree that a bad president can do serious damage, like getting us into stupid wars, etc. But I wanted to make a few points. One is that we can all too easily get carried away with partisan rhetoric, and this can do almost as much damage.

    Second, nature is definitely strong enough to recover from this kind of damage. Whether or not humans are part of that recovery is up to us.

    And finally, and the big point I was trying to make, is that it is not the politicians who do the damage. It is us. Someone voted to give the House to the Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections. Someone is voting for Romney. Heck, I have no idea who is voting for Bachmann, but somebody must be.

    Monday, November 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    We’re using different definitions (scope) of nature. Many of the species we have now will disappear. It will be a different environment. By what I take as your definition, even Mars has nature, just not (much?) life.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    Nature includes both flora and fauna, and Mars has neither. Earth has had many mass extinctions over time, and has always managed to recover.

    I’m definitely not saying that abusing the environment is ok. I’m just saying that in the big scheme of things, not only are things like Hurricane Sandy inconsequential, but humans are just a minor blip.

    Reminds me of an old joke “Nuclear weapons can wipe out all humans on earth, if used properly”.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink