I just voted.
My polling place was not too crowded. I couldn’t tell a thing from the crowd; their faces were pleasant and inscrutable. Mostly women at this time of day, many with little children.
I find Election Day to be very solemn. Standing in that booth feels portentous, although this time my one little vote seemed so tiny. I waited in the booth—for what, I don’t really know—for quite a few moments before I could tear myself away. Maybe because leaving the polling place means being one step closer to the moment of truth tonight, the time when we’ll know if America has become something quite different (and more leftist, and more the pawns of an MSM that has abdicated its profoundly important duty) than what it used to be.
I’ve described this as a watershed election, and I mean it. The choice is stark and clear, or at least it should be. But since the the polls are so close, my stomach is in an uproar, and I think that feeling will increase come this evening. If I get good news, it will subside. If I don’t…
When I was younger, I cared about the results of presidential elections, but not too deeply. I wanted my guy to win, but if the opponent was the victor instead I thought it would still be okay. The country might go in the wrong direction for a while, but things could easily be righted next time. I was sad when my candidate lost, but the feeling was something akin to when the Red Sox lost the World Series—depressing for a day or two, but then its importance began to fade.
I was a Democrat back then, of course. I never demonized Republicans, though; I knew that Republicans would keep us safe to the best of their ability. Each party had about an equal propensity to make war, and each one was anti-Soviet. The main difference between the parties seemed to involve how much to expand the welfare state, and in those days that prospect didn’t appear to jeopardize our entire economy (maybe that was a misperception, but that’s the way it seemed).
And then came my political change—which also involved paying a lot more attention to politics, and a concomitant deeper emotional investment in them. During the election of 2004, I got really, really nervous. although I ended up relieved when that election ended up going my way by what seemed like a hair.
The same anxiety beset me for a while in 2008. But after the debates that year, I pretty much knew that Obama was almost certain to win. So by the time Election Day 2008 rolled around at least I wasn’t stretched on the rack of hope vs. despair, as I had been in 2004. I had already “accepted” the outcome, although I was very down about it.
But ever since the first debate of 2012, that hope/despair torque has been sharper for me than it was in 2004. Back then my worry was mostly about Iraq and the War on Terror; I didn’t want it to all have been for naught (a secondary concern was to avoid having to watch John Kerry’s insufferable pompousness for four years). Those things seemed bad enough, but the prospect we face in this election is worse, much worse. It’s about our economic recovery and our economic future. It’s about our national and international security. It’s about a Chavez-like threat to the long-held traditions of our republic, the last best hope of mankind.
I’m not making either any sanguine or any morose predictions for tonight’s election results. I simply haven’t a clue what will happen. I don’t even have a hunch. I change my opinion from minute to minute.
In this I think I’m being more honest than most pundits, who also haven’t a clue but whose livelihood depends on pretending they do. Some of them will be proven to have been correct and some wrong. That’s usually the case when there’s a large number of disparate predictions. But which prognostications will turn out to have been right and which in error is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.