Monday, November 5, 2018

The 2018 Mid-Terms, Love, Hate or the Overlap at the Polls?

For the first time in a very long life of political interest, I have absolutely no idea how the mid-term elections tomorrow will turn out. But I do know this:

There is a very large overlap in opinion that prevents this election from being a referendum on either love or hate for the current state of politics in America. A sweep on either side is unlikely. My hope is that the overlap will show itself.

My ballot was an early one, as I live outside the country and it has already been counted. And, of course, that ballot was marked by choices among candidates, because that’s the system under which we are governed. But individual candidates are a long way from telling the true story. The true story, if it reveals itself, is one of overlap.

Individually, we do not belong safely in those frequently named categories of rich or poor—lower, middle class or one-percenters. Individually we overlap. Most of us are not either with or without healthcare, decent education or opportunity. The large majority reside in a middle world of some of the above and that’s what has the power to bring us together.

A house divided against itself cannot stand. Abraham Lincoln’s words were prescient and we have become such a house, not by the love and truth in our hearts, but by the rhetoric of those who would divide us for their own gain. It’s division that cannot and will not stand. The days of both parties running to their base are coming to an end.

Republicans rant against deficits, while expanding them as an excuse to solve that self-inflicted wound on the backs of austerity and reduced public benefits. But not all Republicans. There is a huge overlap.

Democrats boast of their support for the environment, job retention, universal healthcare and increased safety-nets for the poor, while their record shows a forty-year avoidance of all those lofty goals. But not all Democrats. There is a huge overlap.

Unfettered capitalism, the banks and Wall Street are singled out as the reason behind this beholden political environment. Greedy beyond belief, it is claimed. Interested only in themselves, the investor-class rules—globally, nationally and locally. Yet not all of them fall into this category. There is a huge overlap.

And so it is my view that the life, liberty and happiness of our nation will not be found in the rhetoric of for or against, right or left, liberal or conservative, rich or poor.

It lies safely in the overlap—the enormous spaces in which we find a common ground of understanding the issues that bring us together in the face of an existential threat. 

The threat is not Donald Trump against whomsoever runs against his both popular and unpopular rhetoric. The threat is our misunderstanding of the enormous overlap that unites the right and left, those of us in and those of us out.

The overlap is our strength and it is what makes tomorrow’s mid-term election so difficult to call. As it should be. As it must be, if we are to be the nation of life, liberty and happiness.

Rather than a Democrat or Republican victory tomorrow and in all our future elections, it is my hope that the overlap wins by a landslide.

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