I've been voting a long time, every election since Bobby Kennedy. He was shot and killed that night. I was pregnant, my husband was out - later determined to be not a good thing - and I suppose it was the beginning of my adult reality check. Cheating husbands, and to my way of thinking a God that would let John and then Bobby be murdered. It was wrong, not just wrong in the legal and moral sense but in a world order sense.
I have waited a long time to feel something approaching optimism. Oh sure, I worked for McGovern, Muskie, Dean, even Perot caught my fancy, hoping that someone could make the system work. Instead we got Nixon and Reagan and - I can hardly say the word - Bush, not one but two. Someone once said we get the government we deserve. Hoo boy did we as a nation do bad things to get that bunch of greed-is-good and war-is-better gang. Well, of course greed isn't limited to government, apparently, we elected those who would satisfy our very own greed.
But finally, I believe we have figured out that we went too far. The rich get richer and the middle class get screwed while the poor at least have little to lose. So this election has finally given me the optimism I seek; that finally voters have become actual voters, studying the issues, listening to the candidates, really trying to figure out which one of them can lead us into something approaching decency. Sure, we need strength, there really are bad guys out there trying to harm us. We need lots of attention to economics without bailing out every corporate crook out there. Here's a concept: stop them before they suck out the marrow. The housing crisis was preventable, and a credit crunch followed and now a debt overload looms. Bush's answer to 9-11 was BUY. Show those terrorists we won't be cowed, buy and buy and buy some more. Hey, it's easier than diplomacy.
The pendulum has swung. Finally, voters are actually grabbing the reins. The fact there is no clear front runner yet and all the attention is on an election almost a year away is both an offshoot of too many news shows - even if most are closer to entertainment - but even so, it's about who will lead our country. Yes, the media has to manufacture controversy, like Senator Clinton's remark about LBJ and MLK, but even that gets a discussion going.
I am optimistic if for no other reason than every single candidate running - including those who have dropped out - are solid candidates. They have experience and intelligence and a desire to make us better. I would prefer McCain not be such a hawk especially considering his past but it's maybe because of it, I don't know. But I know he's sincere. Romney appears plastic but I think he's competent. I love Obama, such style and class and an ability to soar above the venal. Clinton I'm tired of but I believe she will be a great president. Huckabee is a charmer. I know Edwards deserves more attention than he's getting but the fire just isn't lit - but he's truly the best about America. Whomever becomes president will I believe set us on coarse to be the country we really do deserve to be.
It's about time.