Thankful The Election Is Over

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, I think all Americans – nearly split down the middle as we are – can at least agree to be thankful for one thing: that the longest and meanest election period in recent history has ended. It did not end to my satisfaction, but ever a believer in our democratic system I accept the will of the majority. Congrats to all the winners.

Having lived through many political seasons, I can’t remember when we’ve had more shocks, surprises, twists and turns than during and after the 2012 election. Then again, some outcomes were unsurprising.

Predictable: Hawaii has again clinched the coveted title of “State with the Nation’s Lowest Voter Turnout.” Apparently satisfied, people stayed home. With student test scores low, and with food, utilities, fees and gas prices high, as well as a budget deficit, a dearth of doctors, tax increases and a seventh-highest in the nation poverty level of 17 percent, who needs change?

No surprise: An overwhelming Democrat slate of representatives were ushered into congressional, state, city and county positions. Big surprise: the “rail” endorsement via Kirk Caldwell’s mayoral win. I’ve not come across one person who said they supported rail.

Unfortunately predictable: “Irregularities” at the polling stations. Who needs a ballot to vote anyway?

Surprise: Competent Republican candidates thankfully still come forward to run for office to give voters a choice. No surprise: Obama’s re-election. It’s hard to unseat an incumbent.

Twist: A hefty number of electoral votes but only 50 percent and a fraction of the popular vote not providing a mandate for big change. The AP reported that President Obama is the first president since 1832 to win a second term with a smaller percentage of votes than in his initial victory.

Interesting twist: Steve Friess’s article Inside Obama’s Shadow Campaign, Nov. 13, illuminates how a proObama super PAC, Priorities USA, cleverly, simply and relatively inexpensively used social networking, Internet ads and other inexpensive Web-based media to inundate targeted demographic voters with messages painting Romney as a rich ogre out to murder, steal and strip all means of birth control from the clutches of female college freshmen.

Future shock: same women post-graduation, with diplomas firmly in one hand and birth control pills in the other, are jobless and moving in with mom and dad.

Big surprise: Sandy. Who could imagine that an enormous, deadly “super storm” and short photo op of Obama and New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christy surveying damage could sway (according to exit polls) voters by the millions?

Predictable: Slow disaster response continues to heap misery upon New York and New Jersey storm victims. FEMA’s been scarce – just like after Katrina. No surprise: Neighbors and good citizens nationwide, including medical teams from Hawaii, bring help to storm-ravaged neighborhoods.

Shocking but no surprise: a Sept. 11 (duh?) attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. More security was requested multiple times in this unstable, dangerous nation where al Qaida-affiliated terror groups congregate, but to no avail. Four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens, were murdered during an hourlong battle. Surprise: widespread administration announcements that this large-scale terror act was carried out spontaneously by Libyans angry over a YouTube movie trailer.

Shocker: the fall from grace of decorated Army general now retired CIA Director David Petraeus.

No surprise, but disappointing: an extra-marital affair. Like former President Clinton’s Lewinsky scandal, this one’s not about sex either. It’s about lies, potential security breaches and blackmail opportunities. Didn’t you people watch 24?

This Thanksgiving, among many other things, I’m thankful for reminders to not put human beings high up on pedestals from which they invariably fall. And I’m thankful for my grandchildren, who will one day realize – as their “Grammy” has – that truth is indeed stranger than fiction.