THE DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA
We’re days away from an epic, nerve-racking election day and epic conclusion to two campaigns whose theses boils down to “HE’S HORRIBLE”.
One man is the son of a famous and historic presidential contender he idolized so much, he shaped himself in his image; the other never knew his father, and consciously shaped himself the way many heroes in American literature have.
They’re the plutocrat vs. the cool guy, the stiff step-dad vs. the pop-culture icon, “Mr. Capable” who can solve your problems but lacks empathy, vs. “Mr. Likeable” who cares about your problems, but failed to solve all of them in four years. And they were, in this campaign, at war with themselves. Obama is no longer the inspirational, bigger-than-politics symbol, and the shadow of his ’08 self dogged his entire campaign, just as Mitt’s bipolarism damaged his as he veers from severely conservative Mitt to moderate Mitt, like a political version of Sybil.
And it’s been a campaign that’s exposed the fault lines in the American time-warped soul revealing the electorate to have a racial gap and a geographical gap, and a gender gap. But to me, the most frightening undercurrent of the race is one that will live on past November 6th.... That is the TRUTH GAP.
Politically, we are two tribes living in alternate realities, believing only in the polls and facts that bolster our thesis and disbelieving and attacking all data that challenges that thesis. This is human nature. But the American political landscape has a particularly malignant case of selective truthism disease.
This election has shown people wanting to fact check the fact checkers. Like the extreme left dismissing Gallup when it showed a Romney lead, and the right dismissing (well every, but lately) Nate Silver reporting an Obama lead. The overwhelming amount of data and opinions available now allows anyone to barricade themselves in their own reality.
So, we rumble towards November 6th with most of the country certain THEIR guy is leading, and their ideology is about to be vindicated, leaving the left and the right like two Mack trucks racing toward each other. Impact is certain; pain is assured.
No matter who wins, half the country will walk away dazed, hurt and angry, and convinced the election is just one more reason they need not take as legitimate because it doesn’t fit the narrative they prefer. Obama won in ’08 by 7 points and still got birtherism, obstructionism, and the tea party.
After a close election, poll trutherism could morph into election trutherism, and in and an attempt to secede, in a mental sense, where 49% of the country acts on the feeling they don’t need to respect the President.
I’m afraid what will follow the election. Because right now, in America, the American family doesn’t know how to agree to disagree. We are, THE DIVIDED STATES OF AMERICA.