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Kevin Buck: US strength due to its foundation

Posted: November 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.

It has been an exhausting and exhilarating election year and today it comes to a close.

Five weeks ago I wrote that I believed President Barack Obama would win re-election in a landslide, that the Democrats would retain control of the Senate and also pick up seats in the House of Representatives.

I still believe this is what we will see unfold this evening.

However, after the first presidential debate, the race did tighten a bit, so today I am downgrading Obama’s re-election from landslide to comfortable.

I think what has surprised me the most over the course of this campaign is the relentless lack of faith that many conservatives and the Republican Party in general have shown for the United States, our Constitution and our republic form of government’s tradition of democracy.

Time and again, I have been told by people whose intellects and opinions I respect that Obama is destroying the nation or that if he is re-elected, our American freedoms will vanish forever.

Political emails, online opinions and conservative pundits abounded with fear-mongering of the coming socialist, fascist, communist, Kenyan post-colonial takeover of our government.

The situation is so dire that a political shape-shifter, serial liar and upper-class warrior like Mitt Romney was actually even considered to be a serious candidate to become the most powerful man on Earth.

In the reality-based world, we believe the exact opposite, that the state of the union is strong, no matter who controls the levers of power.

The genius of the Founding Fathers’ vision, codified in our Constitution, ensures that the United States is bigger, stronger and more resilient than any single person or political party.

The checks and balances they devised for our government have worked perfectly for more than 200 years, and despite the sky-is-falling rhetoric we hear from the Right Wing Noise Machine, the United States shows no signs of weakening now, nor in the foreseeable future, regardless of who is elected tonight.

The United States has survived revolution, slavery, civil war, two world wars, the Great Depression, military quagmires like Vietnam and Iraq, terrorist attacks and the presidency of George W. Bush, yet we have emerged stronger as a nation each and every time.

Nothing yet has succeeded in bringing down the country because working together (House Republicans excepted), we are stronger than the sum of all our parts.

The checks and balances each branch of government exercises over the other two ensures that even the worst excesses of venal politicians, special interests and political parties vying for power will eventually come to naught.

Republicans are certainly justified to feel despair for their losing candidates and the roadblock victorious Democrats will put in front of their political agenda. Democrats have been in the exact same position many times in the modern era.

American politics is a pendulum; it relentlessly swings both ways.

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia offered some advice for Democrats upset at the 5-4 Supreme Court decision that gave the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush. It may prove useful to many Republicans tomorrow.

He advised us to “get over it.”

Excellent advice in theory, but I can tell you from personal experience that however well-meaning Justice Scalia’s advice was intended, it is impossible to follow.

Political partisans do not get over elections they believe they should have won. Angst-ridden Republicans will get no sympathy from Democrats, but we do know exactly what you are feeling.

Every American, Democrat, Republican or whatever, should rest easy, assured that our ever evolving experiment in self-governance guarantees the nation will endure.

Starting tomorrow, anybody so inclined will have an opportunity to begin a campaign and try once again to change the world.

The most important thing anybody can do today is vote. That is the most powerful political weapon we have.

The Supreme Court may have unleashed the Super PAC Krakens and their unlimited, anonymous hoards of cash upon us, but spending all of that cash has only one purpose and that is to influence our vote.

But if we vote with our minds, our hearts and our conscience, the people and the nation win, regardless for whom the vote is cast.

Kevin Buck is a Santa Clarita resident. “Democratic Voices” runs Tuesday and rotates among several Santa Clarita Valley Democrats.



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