The best entertainment in four years

November 1, 2008

Election years have always entertained me.  I love to watch my friends and family get all fired up, along with the rest of the country.  One of my good friends has trained her 17-month-old to cheer “Bama!” when he is presented with an image of Barack Obama. 

Another keeps sending forwarded e-mails saying she “hasn’t decided who she’s going to vote for yet,” that go on to expound on the wonders of John McCain and the evils of Mr. Obama. 

I believe it is important to be informed.  Before I had a baby, I used to peruse The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal every day, to give myself two flavors of information, like a chocolate and vanilla twist cone. It’s amazing how two equally respectable publications can be so equally cherished or reviled, depending on your political persuasion. 

Since my son was born, my primary source of information is derived from parenting magazines.  This election year if there are issues that do not involve education and health care for children, I’m unaware of them. 

Like so many of my journalist friends, in an effort to be objective and balance both perspectives, I find it difficult to take on the same fervor for my chosen candidate as the rest of the country. 

Once I’ve collected enough information to make an educated choice on Election Day, I just sit back and enjoy watching the story unfold.  The human drama that plays out every four years in this great nation is far more entertaining than any debate between the candidates.  And thanks to 24-hour cable news, it’s a round-the-clock free for all. 

And the ingenuity!  I love the NoBama and the McAncient bumper stickers equally.  What strokes of genius!  There is nothing like a national election to bring out the creativity in even the driest Liberal or the dullest Conservative. 

And both candidates have such fun names to play with this time around.  McSame? ObamaNation?  Who knew slaughtering someone’s name could be so much fun?

The passion that both sides exert is inspiring.  I am so lucky to live in a country where we have the freedom to spout profanity in the faces of respected Senators without recourse. 

We cheer when crazy ladies with unruly purple-tinted hair shake their fists and spit curse words into microphones, then go home and scold our kids for repeating what she said. 

It isn’t that I don’t have opinions.  I have lots of them.  And I vote accordingly.  But I can’t help but think that somehow, despite whoever wins from year to year, we remain the most comfortable country in the world to call home. 

And regardless of who gets elected, there are still hundreds of people who die every year trying to cross our borders. 

The truth is, we’re no more likely to become a communist state if Obama wins than we are to become a dictatorship if McCain wins.  That’s what the Constitution has been so successful at preventing for the past 221 years. 

The truth is, regardless of the results next Tuesday evening, we’re still the luckiest people on earth.  Despite recession and the high cost of health care and whether or not we say “under God” in our pledge of allegiance, or how the winner handles these situations, we’re still the place everyone else wants to be. 

As for me, I simply don’t have the energy to shake my fist.  On Tuesday, I’ll quietly fill out my ballot, go home to tuck my toddler into bed, then turn on cable news to watch the best entertainment in four years.  God bless America!

This article first appeared in the Lewistown News-Argus November 1, 2008.