Trick or Treat – Will This be the Season of the Witch?

2 11 2010

There are always two sides to every story

On October 31st, we were ready.

The candy was in a bowl, there was a pumpkin outside the door (and two more on pillars at the foot of the driveway) and the front door was covered in a mass of cobwebs with an unrealistic spider. Even the dog was dressed in a garish outfit that made her resemble a seasonal fruit.

As dusk fell, we lit the lanterns and waited for the knock at the door. An evening of sitting indoors listening for the sound of children (accompanied by their parents) walking up the path and demanding rewards for not vandalizing our property or pelting us with rotten vegetables. Halloween, the time when ghosts, goblins and scary creatures occupy our attention and ensure that nowhere is safe to escape.

For some unknown reason, the whole business of Trick or Treating has made me think of the mid-term elections.

Like Halloween, the build-up to one day of activity has been going on for what seems like an awfully long time. Ghoulish and spooky figures have been appearing on my television for weeks on end, endorsement for various candidates have battled with negative advertising relishing the opportunity to reveal the skeleton in the closet.

And the chance to scare the electorate into believing that the wrong vote could spell certain doom for the country has allowed fear to reign on both sides of the political debate.

Today the waiting is finally over, America has the chance to give a very public show of support for Obama’s policies or (which is more likely) the electorate will use these nationwide contests – 435 members of the House of Representatives are facing brown trouser time, 37 Senate seats are up for grabs, 37 gubernatorial elections and a whole slew of other local representative appointments – to give the incumbent President and his party a devastating thumbs down.

Tuesday  2nd November, 2010, could even be the day when the candidates backed by the Tea Party may be front-runners to join those in Washington who get to dip their hands in the candy bowl and pull out a treat. Although the thought of a Sarah Palin endorsed group of “Mama Grizzlies” descending upon the nation’s capital to assume some sort of power sends a shiver down my spine – imagine Christine O’Donnell actually having a platform to preach her crazy agenda AND being paid for it!

We believe in "self reliance" - on a daily basis.

Top of the agenda seems to be the fact that the policies put in place by the President to create new jobs and get America working again have not worked. Unemployment is still hovering around the 10% mark, unacceptable for millions who believe that their right to work has been eroded by liberal experiments that have failed. Spam mail sent out by the Republican National Committee accuse the Democrats of “ripping freedom from our hands”,  “plaguing generations with debt” and calling for American voters to remind the Democrats “that individual responsibility, self-reliance and personal freedoms still have value and are worth fighting for.”

Where was America’s individual responsibility when millions of people took out mortgages on homes that they couldn’t afford, lent to them by financial institutions that seemed oblivious to the fact that ALL bubbles burst? What happened to self-reliance when the corporations went to the government begging for help in continuing to provide products that the consumer could no longer afford? How about the personal freedoms of citizens in Afghanistan who have watched as the struggle for democracy continues at an ever-increasing rate, both financially and in the amount of lives being lost?

Am I right in thinking that it has been less than 2 years since Obama was elected in a sea of enthusiasm on a mandate to change from the self-serving government policies that have ensured that the rich could maintain their opulent lifestyles? Are all the problems in America just down to the last 24 months?

There is no doubt that the President has not been able to enact the changes that he would have liked. The much-maligned Healthcare legislation finally was signed into law in March this year despite overwhelming opposition from the GOP and the ‘Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives'(© Matt Taibi, Rolling Stone), any legislation relating to Climate Change has disappeared into the black hole of the Senate, the war in Afghanistan continues to drain much-needed resources and the US deficit – a Pandora’s Box handed to Obama by the former President – is consuming vast tracts of the country’s GDP.

Despite all this, the traditional re-election rate for House of Representative members is normally more than 90%. President Obama himself is not up for re-election, the strength of the Tea Party may have been over-estimated and there are certainly some candidates who the electorate (when faced with the actual task of ticking the box for) may not be the right ones for the job.

Mid-term elections are a barometer of where the country thinks it should be, a sign to the politicians that they may have to adjust the direction that they wanted to take in favor of something more palatable to those who have the right to vote. Today will be an interesting test of how America believes it should progress, the grassroots support for all candidates will be crucial in assessing what damage will be done or what validation will be given for a President who is still only halfway through his first term of office.

Nobody said that it would be easy, to enact change and to get America back on track is going to take a tremendous amount of work. Something that 10% of Americans don’t have at this moment.

But you can’t make an omlette without breaking some eggs, lets hope sanity prevails and that November 2nd keeps the rotten ones from any position of power.

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