No, not in the clinical, weepy, pill-popping sense of the word -- I'm really just plain sad. Weary. Mournful. Depressed. I hope it's temporary. Not so much for my sake, but for the sake of our country.
The past several weeks of ongoing election drama have sent your usually happily-jaded commentator into a shocking spiral of doubt and despair. I didn't think it was possible for me to be any more disgusted by national politics -- or more correctly, politicians -- after the 2000 elections. This year has proved me wrong.
What is happening to this country? We now live in a nation where politicians donít think twice about the public repercussions of turning a memorial service into a partisan pep rally. A nation where laws are made to be broken by politicians and celebrities -- and no one really cares. A nation where you can bash someone for being a homosexual and a hairstylist -- but only if you are a member of the political party that advocates special governmental treatment for such people.
Like many Americans, I watched with horror last week as ex-President Bill Clinton clapped old friends on the back and worked the crowd with his trademark donkey laugh -- in the middle of what was supposed to be a solemn remembrance of eight tragically-wasted lives. I watched as partisan political players, Democrats all, BOOED the minority leader of the United States Senate as he arrived to honor his fallen colleague. I watched as those same Democrats then chanted and screamed for victory, led by the son of the dead.
It was enough to make me sick to my stomach, but it was only the last straw. This whole election season has given me indigestion.
Robert Torricelli -- remember him? Heís a Senator from New Jersey, and heís been awfully quiet since he illegally pulled himself off the ballot because he wasnít going to win. To listen to the media, you would almost think septuagenarian Frank Lautenberg had always been the Democratsí choice for Senator in New Jersey. He wasnít. The New Jersey Supreme Court chose to legislate from the bench and overturn existing state laws prohibiting electoral bait-and-switch. Now, with less than 24 hours to go until the polls open, it looks like the Democratsí dirty trick is going to pay off -- and the people of New Jersey will be at fault for allowing it to happen. (Listen up, Jersey: if you vote for Frank Lautenberg tomorrow, you deserve whatever he gives you . . . or takes from you. Itís just unfortunate his vote will count for the rest of us, as well.)
Then there was Montana. In that stateís Senate race, the Democrats ran an ad containing a 1970s clip of Republican candidate Mike Taylor giving a man a facial at the salon he used to own. In the film clip, Taylor wore a leisure suit and gold chains, as was the style of the day. Unfortunately, the people of Montana apparently regard any man wearing bell-bottoms and touching another man as "gay." Presumably, the Democrats knew this, and thatís why they ran the ad. (So much for fostering a culture of "tolerance.")
Doing very little to dispel the image he was so offended by, Taylor had what is known in the South as a "hissy fit," and exited the race. Lawsuits were threatened. After pouting for a week or so, he had a change of heart and is now running again with the slogan "Countdown to Decency." Decency, of course, meaning that no one will be allowed to call him "gay" anymore.
The debacles in New Jersey and Montana, in addition to some of the more typical, though nasty skirmishes going on around the nation (most notably in Arkansasís and Iowaís Senate races), would have been enough on their own to make this year one for the record books. Add the last weekís inconceivably ghoulish "memorial" service, and you have a recipe for chronic nausea and a bad case of the blues.
To all who read this column, I beseech you: only you can settle my stomach and ease my pain. Go to the polls tomorrow, use common sense, and vote your conscience. Donít vote for those who celebrate a manís death like it was a golden opportunity. Donít vote for those who abuse the electoral system created by our founding fathers. Donít vote for those who say one thing with their voices, but another with their actions.
In other words -- donít vote Democrat.
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