NOVEMBER 7, 2012

Except for a few political junkies/lunatics, I think it's very safe to say that we are all rather desperately tired of the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election process by now. We are tired of the spam candidate flyers in our mailboxes that go straight to recycling or the trashcan. We are tired of robocalls. We are tired of fundraiser emails that come into our computers or phones every few minutes round-the-clock, promising that for just three dollars more, we can turn the tide of the election to our candidate's favor. We are tired of hearing about "swing states" and the ridiculousness of "undecided voters." We are dead tired of the sickening TV ads that poke into our brains unasked, promising certain societal collapse if you vote for "that other guy." We are tired of the name-calling and the lying and people stealing or defacing yard signs. But most of all, we are tired and utterly disheartened to keep being faced with the disturbing fact that some of our friends, family, and neighbors are not the people we once thought them to be, because of their political stances. Social media makes it all too apparent for many of us to see very clearly the political preferences of others, and in a race so completely philosophically divided, there seems to be no common ground at all. You are with us, or against us has never been more true for either side.

So hurray for November 6, 2012, when the election will be held, everything will be decided, and it will all be over for another four years.

Except that in this case, nothing could be further from the truth.

This is a fact: no matter who wins, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, fully half the country will believe that the election was rigged, stolen, and corrupted, and therefore invalid.

Half of our citizens won't be saying, "Guess the best man won." They will be furious, devastated, bitter, and hopeless. There will be howls of protest calling for a recount, for investigations into shady balloting, and -- you guessed it -- more emails asking for your money to help in the process.

Does this all seem more like the election process in some Third World country, where accountability is nil, there are a hundred different ways to vote and no standardization, where people are afraid to vote differently than their bosses or face losing their jobs? Where special-interest money is shoveled into the red-hot, smoking political furnace, and comes out in a blast of searing lava that oozes and burns and covers everything and everyone? Where apathy, ignorance, corruption, and hopelessness destroy any chance of a functional democracy? Where there is no chance for a nation to compete at the highest levels in the global economy for the devastating effects of "divide and conquer?"

Houston...and Cleveland and San Jose and Milwaukee and Jacksonville and Providence and Memphis and Eugene and St. Louis and Flagstaff and everywhere else, we have a problem, and it's not going to be over on November 6th. Not by a longshot.

Think about where you might be standing on November 7th, and then think harder about how you move forward on November 8th, and each day after that. We have an agonizingly long way to go to even revisit the idea of being "out of many, one" ever again.