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Gary Horton: Hope, change a continuous fight for all

Posted: November 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Two years of posturing, primaries, debates, yard signs, and billions of dollars of media blitzing later — finally, you got to vote.

After all the hoopla and flip-flopping, you hit it with your best shot — even on all those initiatives you never quite understood.

For what all this cost in money and human frustration, I hope you enjoyed punching those circles.

This election cycle revealed a great deal about the men running and about our process itself. I’m not sure any of them, or it or us, came out of it unscathed by the experience.

The long, 18-month ordeal has me feeling exasperated and compromised. Having been subjected to all the flip-flops, manipulation and outright lies. We feel slimed and worked over.

We hope it’s all been worth the suffering.

Things don’t bode well for our democracy if, after the voting process, we’re debauched from the experience.

What’s the source of this debilitating contamination? It’s money, of course. The Supreme Court dangerously determined that “money is free speech” — and this election cycle predictably unleashed hurricanes of special interest, integrity-compromising lucre.

This, plus suffering lobbyists in Congress like money-changers in temples, has wrecked what should be intelligent elections and responsive representative leadership.

Plainly, all this has to stop or we risk losing both our democracy as well as our minds.

Pity those poor souls in Ohio, subjected to months-long pounding of ads, robo-calls and fliers. Other nations conduct their election cycles in mere weeks and must look at us like we’re masochistic nuts.

And to think that after all this overwrought silliness, once seated back in Congress, our elected officials are much more likely to represent their chain-pulling lobbyist masters than their tax-paying constituents.

For a local gut check here, check Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon’s voting record on arms procurement and war. While his constituents continue to die under his pro-militant policies. “Young lives for weapons jobs” seems to be the effective policy.

The one single person most tainted this election appears to be “Flipping” Mitt Romney. First running on the fluff of “family values” and some sort of return to all things America of a century ago, the poor man of confessed religious values, either by design or by default, whored himself and prostituted his character to whatever audience just happened to be listening.

Never in my now long lifetime have I witnessed any candidate so willingly morph and lie for the spoils of power.

Even the Salt Lake Tribune spit out Mitt with their endorsement of Obama called “Too Many Mitts.”

Romney plainly stated many times he wasn’t running on his religion. That’s a good thing for Mormonism, as Mitt’s methods left a repulsive reputation behind that’s a gaping disservice to his faith.

“Just say anything — to get elected.” It is downright creepy what these grown men and women will do and say.

If anything good comes from this election, it’s that Obama returns to the White House. CEO’d by Romney, America would have rail-roaded toward another gilded age where even any pretense toward an empowered middle class would be extinguished.

If nothing else, today America has four more years of Obama bulwark while the barbarians at the gate of Congress continue battering and ramming what’s left of our middle class with their unlimited Super Rich-Super PAC funds.

It’s true, we didn’t get all we wanted out of Obama these past four years — but we also got much more of what we didn’t expect.

A Republican Party, fearing a generational loss should Obama succeed, radically dug in against anything resembling productive movement led by this non-white, non-elitist usurper to the White House.

So hope partially faded and change was blunted — but not defeated. America lucked out with a man who adapted for the season — and what we got was “cool hand” Obama deftly steering our battered economic ship off the rocks of depression into much safer waters of recovery.

A Romneyian friend of mine sarcastically asked if “I was better off than four years ago.” She knows my business in housing has truly suffered.

I replied, “Yes, why yes I am.” Four years ago, Lehman had just crashed, banks were failing left and right, America was losing jobs at 800,000 a month, and the stock market sank to 6800, down from 14,500.

Today, we’re adding 170,000 jobs a month, stocks are high, American banks are among the soundest in the world, and housing is coming back.

Yes, we are much better off than four years ago. Four years back, we faced economic annihilation and paralyzing despair. Today, we have real hope for a better future.

In Obama, we hoped for the sun, moon and stars, and we may have hoped too much. We only got the refreshing daylight of the sun from the darkness of Bush’s night. Economic recovery, wars winding down, and increased social justice. Things sure could have turned out worse.

After all the dirty electioneering, good and smartness has eventually prevailed. Still, it’s a long, long road we’re traveling on, and there’s so much further to go until we “perfect our union.”

Let us suffer on, and fight on, so that truth and justice continue to prevail.

Gary Horton is a Valencia resident. “Full Speed to Port!” runs Wednesdays in The Signal.



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