Since Nobody’s Asking…

…here are my thoughts on the US election.

1. The Civil War is finally over. Not only has a black man been elected president by a dramatic margin in a turnout of historic proportions, but he carried at least two, possibly three, states that once belonged to the Confederacy, including Virginia. That’s huge. I think the Nixonian “southern strategy” yields at last to Howard Dean’s “50 state strategy.” If you go to people and talk to them like people, who knows, they might just vote for you.

2. This was my son’s first time voting in a general election. So I hold him personally responsible. Also my daughter, who did great volunteer work though she’s too young to vote. With irresponsible young people like these among the rising generation, what lies in store for our nation and our world? Can’t wait to see, personally.

3. Both candidates gave good speeches last night. I felt sorry for McCain at several points during his: he looked like Victor Frankenstein confronting the monster he’d made and realizing maybe it wasn’t so pretty after all. Indeed, Obama’s best argument has always been the people who were vociferously against him. (Someone on my flist was seriously asserting this morning that Obama voters would be punished by God, in this life or the next. But I’m pretty sure God does not hire out as a legbreaker for any political party.) McCain himself tried his hardest to do the right thing at the end, though, and it was impossible not to respect him for it.

Obama’s speech was superb on every level. The meaningful, important parts of his speech will be analyzed and cherished by others. Because no one else cares, I feel compelled to note the calm, overwhelming crescendo of the anaphora, and the crypto-Latin he kept sneaking in (e pluribus unum; dum spiro, spero etc.). (Omnia meliora Latine.)

4. The sun still rises, no matter who or what won or lost. Life goes on.

V. VI VERI VNIVERSVM VIVVS VICI.

[edited to add the quasi-Fawkesian bit.]

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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36 Responses to Since Nobody’s Asking…

  1. fpb says:

    I never expected you to show any sense on this. You bought into this nonsense to an extent that makes any reasonable doubt your enemy. But since you misrepresent what I said, I will take the opportunity to remind you that the one sin that God punishes in this world and with no intermission is stupidity, and that in my view the next four years will show plenty of instances of this law of nature.

    • JE says:

      You should calm down. The fact that people disagree with you on political issues doesn’t make them stupid, nor does it give you the right to abuse them, nor do you have the authority to speak with God’s voice. More humility, more patience and more charity is the prescription for what ails you. I hope you will be healed someday.

      • fpb says:

        No. The fact that people make stupid choices for stupid reasons make them stupid. And to elect someone out of leftover race guilt and with the only guarantee that he ran a good campaign (in other words, that he was a good seller) is about as stupid a choice as I have come across in a lifetime of observing political idiocy. Come back, Silvio Berlusconi, all is forgiven.

        • JE says:

          My reasons for voting for Obama don’t involve race guilt, leftover or otherwise.

          It would have been extremely unwise to return a Republican to office after the last eight years of disastrous failure on every front. I rarely feel the impulse to vote for a Republican, but there was no chance that I was going to do so this year. The fact that I could vote for Obama and Biden (because of their obvious and proven competence) instead of merely against McCain and Palin (both for their personal incompetence and the legacy of failure they proudly represented) was just a bonus.

          If you had evidence to support your points you’d supply it. Instead, you deliver abuse, including your shameful habit of wielding God like a club. Your tantrums convince no one.

          • fpb says:

            Obama is compent in what? And Biden? You are living on the moon, honestly. Someone who imagines that a few years in the Daley machine amount to proven competence is past any sane argument, and I will just leave it here.

          • JE says:

            Re my residence: I’ve lived in Chicago–the real Chicago, not some cartoon version–and currently live in Ohio.

            There is no political machine that can hand anyone a campaign victory like the one Obama has achieved. If you don’t acknowledge his even political competence, we are certainly living in different worlds.

          • fpb says:

            If your idea of political competence is winning ONE election, I don’t want to argue it. Mine is seeing what the guy does once he is in office. And to say that Obama is untried in that is an understatement. As for the fact that Chicago has no party machine, sure, we all know that. There is no such thing as the mafia either. And all workers in the Soviet Union were happy and free under the paternal guiding hand of Comrade Stalin.

          • JE says:

            Winning an election of this length and type with the decisiveness that Obama achieved against the obstacles he faced with the discipline and dedication he displayed does indeed show political skill of a high order. I’m delighted you’re not interested in disputing that obvious point; I was afraid things might become a little unpleasant in this thread.

            As for what hasn’t happened yet: it hasn’t happened yet.

            Communism is, as usual, just a red herring.

    • Anonymous says:

      The one sin that God punishes in this world and with no intermission is stupidity.

      I’m guessing you’ve never worked for a ginormous corporation or in government. God often rewards stupidity with a long career and a healthy pension.

      • fpb says:

        I know. (I have served in an army, after all.) However, one might argue that even institutional stupidity is bad in ways that the organization perhaps does not realize, but which limit and damage it. But the President of the United States is not a bureaucrat, and his position is not one where responsibility for events can be dodged or shuffled off.

        • Anonymous says:

          One might argue that, but then one might also argue there are times when being slow and inefficient due to institutional stupidity keeps large organizations from making big mistakes. So, again, your one-sin argument looks like hyperbole.

          I had thought you were referring to voter stupidity, but if you’re also including Obama, there I have no concern. Aside from his intellect and knowledge, I’ve been impressed by his leadership and decision-making skills. He’s demonstrated a good balance of ego and temperament, idealism and practicality. I don’t agree with him on the majority of his policy positions, but my first reaction to that is it’s due to differing opinions on government rather than stupidity on his part.

          I do believe that a small majority of voters are willfully ignorant, which qualifies as stupid in my book. I’ve followed too many political discussions over the years to think otherwise. But I also see the claim Obama was elected out of guilt as willful ignorance. I’ve followed too many political discussions this past year to think otherwise.

          –Jeff Stehman

  2. Someone on my flist was seriously asserting this morning that Obama voters would be punished by God, in this life or the next.

    Well, that’s probably true. I think He’s punishing me right now with the headache reading that has given me. I wonder, does this mean I get off scot-free in the afterlife, or is there worse punishment to come?

    • JE says:

      I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Anyone who’s spent a significant amount of time on the internet is probably credited with time served in Purgatory. (Or, if their afterlife doesn’t include a Purgatory, maybe they get an extra houri in the gender of their preference, or a free doughnut, or something.)

  3. sboydtaylor says:

    Hah! #1 is what I told my wife last night and my friends at work this morning! 🙂

    Yes, indeed, the Civil War may at last be over.

    Now to get gays equal rights and, eventually, to get a woman president. As long as she’s not Sarah Palin.

  4. al_zorra says:

    Lawyers know their latin, at least those who don’t go to Pat Roberts’s idea of law school.

    Physicians used to know latin, but not any longer it seems.

    Love, C.

    • JE says:

      Sheesh, that’s another thing to be grateful for, eh? A competent non-ideologue doing the job interviews at Justice.

      • al_zorra says:

        No kidding! That’s one of the hugest criminal acts of this regime — stuffing the doj with all these twittybints from Pat Robertson’s law school. They don’t even know what the 4th ammendment is!

        Love, C.

        • JE says:

          Terrifying. FEMA and Justice rank as the great anti-achievements o the Bush years, I think– above (or below) even the financial mess. In any case, they didn’t pull that one off by themselves.

          • al_zorra says:

            Let us not forget that still going on catastrophe of blood and money, Iraq.

            Love, C.

          • JE says:

            Gulp. You’re right. Must be the denial talking. (That’s some river in Egypt, right?)

            Of course, W had help with Iraq, too–could have never gone there if so many Senate Dems hadn’t caved on that infamous “use of force” resolution.

  5. peadarog says:

    Omnia meliora Latine.

    Can it fix the economy?

    • JE says:

      I say we invest billions in Latin and find out. It’s the only way to be sure.

      Someone (who was probably quoting someone else) once told me that a liberal education “teaches you to despise the wealth it prevents you from acquiring.” If nothing else, Latin will give people a justification for being broke.

  6. Anonymous says:

    McCain himself tried his hardest to do the right thing at the end, though, and it was impossible not to respect him for it.

    I didn’t hear his speech, but I’ve read a few comments today along the lines of, “Pity that guy didn’t running for president. I might have voted for him.”

    –Jeff Stehman

    • JE says:

      Yes, it was a vivid glimpse of the old McCain from 2000 or so. He seems destined to become one of those tragic also-rans or should-not-have-runs–capax imperii, nisi imperasset capable of ruling, had he never ruled (to steal Tacitus’ famous verdict on Galba).

  7. fpb says:

    Incidentally, you seem to forget that the author of the V quotation sold his soul to the Devil. If you use one of the world’s great stories, make sure that you use it all and realize what it really means.

    • JE says:

      “Epicurus,” inquis, “dixit: quid tibi cum alieno?” Quod verum est meum est; perseverabo Epicurum tibi ingerere, ut isti qui in verba iurant nec quid dicatur aestimant, sed a quo, sciant quae optima sunt esse communia.

      • fpb says:

        Si revera tam doctus esses, Graece et non Latine scripseris; nam graecus Epicurus erat, et sodales sui.

        • JE says:

          I was quoting Seneca, not Epicurus.

          • fpb says:

            Quare nunc Anglice? Haec sunt mea verba, neque a Seneca neue a Epicuro ablata.

          • JE says:

            Why not? You’re not responding to my point (or Seneca’s) in any language, by the way.

          • fpb says:

            Your answer was no answer, though it was an attempt to swagger.

          • JE says:

            No, it was an answer. Quod verum est meum est, no matter who said it. I’d have translated it in my response if I didn’t know your Latin skills were up to reading it. What you perceive as swagger was in fact a gesture of confidence, but the eye of malice never sees things as they are.

            Your comment, to which I replied with the Seneca quote, was an attempt to tell me what to write and how to write. That’s not going to get you anywhere with me.

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