Do you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I. I will survive.
— Gloria Gaynor
True story: I know people who made fun of Mitt Romney and his “magic underwear” during the presidential primary season, people (and, no, it wasn’t just Rush Limbaugh) who called the Republican nominee “unfit” to hold office who now have “Mitt” stickers on their vehicles and are declaring the former Massachusetts governor the savior of their party and of America.
I also know people who swore they’d never vote for “that Muslim socialist” Obama yet they’ve since become outspoken supporters of the president’s re-election campaign.
Politics in America is a funny thing. Giving in to the demand for hyperbole, we for some reason try to make a popularity contest — one that in recent years has devolved into a who can make the most money competition — a matter of life and death.
There are plenty of politically minded folks who will swear to you that if we re-elect Barack Obama as president, America will not survive the next four years. They insist we will lose our democratic form of government and will become socialists or, worse yet, will somehow collectively convert to Islam.
There are just as many who insist that if Mitt Romney is elected president, he will engage America’s military in more Middle Eastern wars and will completely eliminate the middle class in this country by taking more and more from those who can’t afford it and giving more and more to those who can.
Supporters of both extreme points of view foresee a world in which America as we know it ceases to exist and some post-apocalyptic scenario unfolds.
To which I’d like to suggest we catch our collective breaths and calm the freak down.
True fact: The president of the United States is the most powerful man in the world (next to Bill Gates). The man or woman (just threw that in to see if you were paying attention ... as if that would ever happen ... that’s about as likely as electing a bl ... oh, wait, move on) who holds the job is the most influential person in the world. It just comes with the territory.
And there’s no question that the person who is elected president will, depending on his personal strength, determine the direction the country will move in over the four years of his term.
But not surviving an Obama or a Romney presidency? Really? Put aside what all the conspiracy theorists on the talk shows say and think for yourself, maybe for the first time. Do you really think any one human being is capable of bringing down a country that has withstood enough calamity to sink other great civilizations?
If you do, perhaps all that patriotism and loyalty you speak so glowingly of are mere words to you. And, as so many have claimed, maybe you would be better off moving to another country.
I’m more inclined to stand with the side that says, “This is America, Jack, and we’ll be there to answer the bell in the 15th round like Rocky did. Just cut the swelling over our eye, Mickey, and don’t you dare let them stop the fight.”
Look, this is obviously going to be one of the hardest elections in the history of our country because we have two monumentally awful choices. But strip away all the rhetoric from this campaign, break it down to its essence, and you’ve got basically the same people looking to do one thing: get more money from the rich people trying to buy their favor.
We can withstand a president who tells us we’re going to end a war and then promptly engages us in another, and we can live through the presidency of a man who won’t even show his income tax records because, as recent reports have shown, he has a whole lot to hide.
We survived Herbert Hoover’s cluelessness, we made it through John Kennedy’s naivete, we lived through the “voodoo economics” of Ronald Reagan, we came out only slightly worse for the wear after Tricky Dick Nixon, we managed to overcome the embarrassment that Bill Clinton brought us. Hell, we survived eight years of George Bush, the drinking man’s president.
So lighten up, America. If we can make it through the Great Depression, two World Wars, Vietnam, Watergate, Irangate, the Monica Lewinsky affair and the drugs-for-guns Let’s Make a Contra Deal, we’ll be able to live through Obama II or Romney I.
Even if just barely.
Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.