ELECTION DAY 2004
CASTING THE VOTE
FOR THE FORTY-FOURTH PRESIDENT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Hello there dear Mama:
I do hope you are nice a snug there in your little home...
eager to cast you ballot and ready to tune into NBC(?) for yet ANOTHER NOVEMBER ELECTION and to see who will be:
THE NEXT PRESIDENT
OF THE UNITED STATES????
Elections...oh how many you and I have shared together over these many years...
AND THE TELEPHONE RINGS
How can I not forget those late night California to New York phone calls from my very own Mama wanting to get that last inside scoop from little me. Talk about a vote of confidence? I remember, I remember, I remember.
Oh it felt like I was being interviewed by Mother Theresa of the Washington Post - well versed in American Politics and the world stage, my Mama (Mama Theresa) wanted to know which way I was leaning - politically - can you imagine that? Mother Theresa wanted to actually know...who she (we) should believe in this time around.
Well, let me just say, I would have nun of that and I just rolled up my sleeve, pulled in my gut (feelings) and the rest was well...history and it was - every four years.
"WELL PULL UP YOUR WALA BOOTS!!!
GRAB A COOKIE OR TWO!!!
IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN!"
FOR ME AND YOU - MARY!!
This four year extravaganza discreetly shared by two aspiring pundits would filter through the night air every four years on Election eve over a nice hot cup of tea (I liked mine a little bit luked, NOT AS HOT as Mary's mind you) and some luscious irresistible pound cake and some titillating and excruciatingly delicious vanilla ICE SCREAM to boot.
Now sharing a kitchen nook together or sharing one very, very far away, with a nip in the air in New York, and a Santa Ana Wind whistling it's way through the heart of Santa Barbara California it was going to be a long night of political smooze and a tiny bit heavy in the tummy on the ice scream.
. OVER DUE QUESTION
Now Mama I've been meaning to ask you all these years - did you go for an extra scoop of you know what each year - I know I did it!!! Every four years.
MAMA INTRODUCES ME...
TO THE WORLD!
I pretty much remember that first
"...so who do you think is going to win this "ting" this year"
...that happened right about 1976 I believe. It was the year that Gerald R. Ford was running for reelection after taking over for Dick Dastardly (RICHARD (S)MELLHOUSE NIXON) and the busy-body Repub- licans. Although Ford had righted a nation and the Republican Party from near ruins, he was no shoe in during the '76 election and if one was to handicap the race between Mr. Ford and an unknown phononemen from Little Old and unknown Plains Georgia - the Peanut Farmer himself James Earl "But you can call me Jimmy" Carter I would say you would be rather nuts - whether you like chunky peanut butter or smooth this peanut butter sandwich, the 1976 Presidential Election, was going to stick the roof of your mouth for a long time - especially if you could offer a smile as wide as "Jimmy's" in contrast to the somber "grit your teeth" approach offered by Jerry Ford!
But there is more to the "little peanut that could" story.
You see there was a elaborate field of runners back then and Jimmy Carter was just one of the gang - slowly but surely however, with his ever present smile, and a uncanny persistent determination and conviction, Jimmy Carter "the unknown Peanut Farmer from Plains, Georgia" began to make a presence and he bolted to the top of the Democratic Ticket to become the key DEMOCRATIC DONKEY for 1976.
IN THE WIND...
"I like Jimmy Carter" I proclaimed back then "he's a nice man" and so he was and he won that nomination to (much to the delight of me and Mama) and eventually he defeated the incumbent and beleaguered Gerald R. Ford and became the next President of the United States.
A HAPPY TUNE
AND DON'T YOU BE AFRAID!!
And so he (Jimmy Carter) walked and he walked straight down Pennsylvania Avenue to his "LOW KEY - "PEOPLE'S INAUGURATION" referring to himself as simply "THE PEOPLE'S PRESIDENT" with his wife Rosalyn by his side.
Mr. Carter's ever so humble approach was touching and inspiring as a nation quickly embraced his calming sincerity.
It seemed obvious at the time that a new beginning was dawning in our country and a simple man with an adoring smile was going to wipe away all the doubts of a government beset with scandal and lift a country torn by war and hardship as well. You could almost sit it...in his smile. You seem Mama - my vote and yours Mama counted. It seemed as though Mama and I finally had something to smile about.
AND A COUNTRY
1980 saw the United States ensnared in World Politics. The Iranian Hostage Crisis took center stage for well over a year. Mr. Carter's Presidency had been held hostage as well as the nation tuned in each night to a President with his hands tied and priorities engulfed in Foreign Affairs and none of it was good.
A OLD ACTOR
TAKES THE LEAD ROLE
The World Stage was looking for an answer and it was the perfect spot for another "actor" to engage in the "theatre of our times". Ronald Reagan, Governor of the State of California, and former long time actor and President of the Screen Actor's Guild, was ready to put his best face next to a President who's smile seemed to have slowly but surely been wiped away with the agony of yet another day of torcher for his fellow American Hostages.
OF THE ROUNDUP
Reagan shot from the hip and Carter took his best stand but once the dust had cleared the role of PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES was taken over by that long time actor who brought a...how do we say different approach to the White House and Washington.
In turn a fellow by the name of George Herbert Bush, a former CIA Director was his running mate and he became Vice President as well - Mr. Bush would play a key role in the future...to come.
LET THE GAME
OF CRAPS BEGIN
As soon as Mr. Reagan raised his right hand to take the oath of office, the Iranian Hostage crisis ended - they were ALL released - 444 days later. A nation was jubilant and a grand new chapter in American History and the Presidency was about to take shape.
NEAR TRAGEDY STRIKES
Mr. Reagan fell victim to a near assisination attempt early on in his presidency and yet miraculously survived - he went on to reelection in 1984 besting the Democratic Ticket of former Vice President Fritz Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro (the first female ever to run for higher office) - it was another landslide for the man some referred to as THE GIPPER.
BOLD AND RUTHLESS
THE WORLD BEGAN TO WARM UP TO
Reagan became entrenched in the COLD WAR with America's adversary the Soviet Union. After death circled it's away amongst the long time Russian hierarchy a man by the name Michael Gorbachav took center stage with Reagan and the Soviet leader stunned the world with over chores to bring a safer climate of trust and stability between the two super powers.
Now most give Reagan credit for the thaw in relations but it was Gorbachov and his relentless spirit to change the course and set a new tone in the Kremlin, Moscow and the world that proved to be the winning formula.
Both Gorbachov and Reagan played a bit of friendly Russian roulette with nuclear missiles but before any cloud could ever come over the horizon - missile systems were being dismantled, the Cold War was becoming just a touch of the flu and the whole world breathed easier thanks to two leaders that just happened to bump into each other at the same time.
OF PICKING A PRESIDENT
Believe it or not (and being a forever child at heart) I always based my "forecast" for Presidential Timber on who I thought was nice far and foremost and who I thought was like a good father figure who cared about his kids - that being me and you (Mary) and all the rest of the children at heart of the world. It's not hard to imagine why I adopted that "way of thinking" to come to my very PRESIDENTIAL conclusions is it?
1988 to me was a fluke, on one side you had a Democratic Challenger Michael Dukakis taking on Vice President George Herbert Bush. However what really unfolded:
was the beginning of an all out war of ideologies in this country.
The far right wing, the moral majority, Christian (at times) fanatic evangelism was destined to make their biggest mark on this country and certainly not in a very charitable and compassionate way.
Indeed, the 1988 Convention spitted out so much hate and ferment you had to wonder if there really was two Americas - it was the beginning of conflicting polarizing times for this country and inconspicuously yet dramatically:
the Gulf War!
THE BEAT, BEAT, BEAT
OF THE WAR DRUMS BEGIN!
Iraq had invaded Kuwait and with national security (the price of oil) in jeopardy - Mr. Bush marched American troops into Iraq and eventually Kuwait to boot Saddam Hussein and his Royal Guard out - mission accomplished? Or was it - with the Kuwait oil field ablaze American troops had their oil but the mastermind behind this bold excursion into another country my a madman failed to bring him the prize - Saddam himself - he was left behind and he would become an emerging and ever present danger in the world theatre by simply just being Saddam.
THE VOTE TALLEY'S
Well let's see:
In 1976, I picked Jimmy Carter
In 1980, I picked Jimmy Carter (again)!!!
In 1984, I picked Fritz Mondale (he was nice)
but I also liked Jesse Jackson very much
- unfortunately they both lost. I went to a Mondale rally in 1988 in NYC - and I worked briefly for the Jesse Jackson campaign.
In 1988, I liked George Babbit - he was the one that looked like a Rabbit - I liked him a lot!!!
in 1992, I kinda knew that William Jefferson Clinton was on his way - when I heard his life story about his growing years - I knew with all that he had gone through and all of his successes in life - he was a person to admire and look up to.
In 1996, although with faults, Mr. Clinton was still someone I trusted and admired. People make mistakes and I began to realize that many of our past presidents had little indiscretions that were not reported to the media as well. Although, I would not condone Mr. Clinton's behavior - as Shoeless Joe Jackson said in the hit movie FIELD OF DREAMS
"there are others" (who had extra-marital affairs while in office.)
We all make mistakes even Presidents - that's an easy one.
Bill Clinton had a very nice personality and he made you feel comfortable and safe.
In 2000, I didn't like that Al Gore shunned Bill Clinton but I did like his intellectual approach to matters and I simply loved his wife Tipper.
We all know what happened in the 2000 Presidential Election or do we. In a cliff hanger that lasted for days, an unknown child of a President - George W. Bush took office. Not by a landslide but by a whisker (more like a nasal hair) he even lost the popular vote.
But his election was embraced by him, his administration and his party as though it was a MANDATE and Bush and his mighty foreign policy team of Donald Rumsfeld, Colon Powell, Condeleeza Rice, and cohorts made the strategic mistake to take a hands off policy to Middle East Affairs. It was costly - the situation in Israel between the Jews and the Palestinians escalated and some of the worst fighting exploded in fierce ferocity in the region.
A DREADFUL, DREADFUL DAY
IN DOWN TOWN NEW YORK
Then came September 11, 2001 and that was the turning pointing in a world that had gone (in my opinion) way to far to the right and realized in a day of agony just how wrong that approach and conclusion was. The world was in trouble and quite possibly the weakest president in foreign affairs this country has ever seen was sitting in the White House at a very wrong time.
BOMBS OVER AFGHANISTAN
Bombs reigned over Afghanistan as Osama Bin Ladin became a household name - but hidden under all that - as the remnants of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon smoldered - was the fact that during the Afghanistan War with the Soviet Union, America, YES AMERICA had actually funded Bin Ladin's efforts against the Russians - he worked and was considered and friend (????) and friendly to the United States.
THROUGH THE CRACKS
THE BUILDINGS DOWN
To this day we never found Osama he did send America and the world at large his very best just the other night in a broadcast from his safe haven and broadcasted his state of the world address seen all over the world.
"I'M UP FOR A GUNFIGHT!"
TOUTS A JUNIOR PRESIDENT
Meanwhile, Mr. Bush decided to set precedent by declaring war on Iraq to overthrow his father's old nemesis Saddam. He accomplished that mission in his very own unique George W. Bush way but then quickly it was obvious America was in a quagmire - insurgents built up a mighty resistance and over two years later - America and George Bush has failed to secure the peace. Meanwhile, over 1,000 American service men and women have died in Iraq. Countless and countless of innocent Iraq's have died as well. A country is torn, while widows and mothers morn.
So now...let us vote?
With the 2004 Election just a day away now, one thing is certain:
George W. Bush is walking on a razor thin tightrope
- John F. Kerry, the Democratic Nominee has come on very, very strong here as we come down the final stretch run.
Bush tries to paint the picture of "his untested opponent (John Kerry) as weak" yet throughout his tenor "in office" Mr. Bush has exhibited just that - an aptitude of weakness - stubbornness and cockiness that is renowned through out the world.
ARE ALL THE ACTORS?
So we all watch now...for the results...
Saddam might find his current surroundings in an Iraqi jail a bit uncomfortable, but there is an old friend of America's who surely will be tuning in just for spite.
Osama Bin Ladin - he is has been an object of America's attention for many, many years and for very different reasons.
Kerry will win this thing!
Like in a card game:
Mr. Bush (and his cocky Republicans) will call Mr. Kerry's bluff and Mr. Kerry (and the energized and ever so faithful Democrats) will come up with the goods because:
this country should know better
- after all the lives of our service men and women is not a game.
How we are seen by other countries is not a game either.
So Vice President (Mr. Chaney) can huff and puff his way up to the finish line to try and scare us all into voting for GEORGE W. but in the end he will realize his heart is the only one that needs fixing.
AMERICAN IS ON THE MEND
WITH A KEEN TICKET OF
JOHN KERRY, FOR PRESIDENT
JOHN EDWARDS, FOR VICE PRESIDENT
Um...I like Mr. Edwards very, very much - I wanted him to win the nomination. He seems to be a very, very nice, kind and considerate person. A wonderful husband and father. I love his stump speeches and I find him very, very cute - oops!
And so Mary this is the end of the election cycle - I will be thinking about you tomorrow night and wishing that your vote of confidence for the next President of the United States will bring just a bit of peace to this difficult world climate.
I love you
and God knows how much I miss you.
Pull up a chair Mary, cookies, cake and a warm cup of tea,
Hope you win..
Always with Love,
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