What a glorious mess!

What a glorious mess!

Summary: We vote. And by exercising our very messy, glorious right to vote, we determine our future. It's a mess, yes. But it's a glorious mess. And it's what makes us all, together, Americans.

TOPICS: Government US

It's over. The debates. The speeches. The robocalls. The never-ending email solicitations for cash. The campaigning is over, the votes have been approximated, and we have our answer.

Same ol' same ol'.

The House remains in the control of the GOP. The Senate remains in control of the Democrats. And President Obama remains President Obama.

Today, I'm not writing about the winners and losers. There will be much time for us pundits to pontificate on partisan politics and prognosticate about the pompous popinjays who will provide personality and perspicacity to the parties politic.

Today, I'm writing about the glorious mess that is American politics. For it is messy and ugly and chaotic and crass and often crude. It's almost always disappointing. The lies and fibs are demoralizing and disingenuous and deceiving. The divisiveness that reaches deep into our demographics is disturbing and daunting.

And yet. And yet we get together and we do something amazing.

We vote. I know, some of you feel that voting is a waste of your time, that it doesn't matter, that there's no difference between the candidates, that you have better ways to spend a Tuesday.

But other people know better. These are the people who worked their hearts out all last week and last weekend in storm-damaged New York and New Jersey to make sure polling places were available for everyone.

These are the people who -- despite the cold and the disorganization -- were willing to stand in line for four hours or more, just so their vote would be counted.

These are the people who are America's heroes. For they understand. If you ever meet one of the people -- annoyed and cranky, yes, but dedicated to their core -- who stand in line for hours upon hours for the ultimate privilege of voting, you'll begin to understand.

We vote. We have more than 300 million people (which means we have more than 300 hundred million strongly-held opinions about just about everything).

We bicker. We argue. We cajole. We mock. We scheme. We spam. We advertise. We complain.

We vote. And by exercising our very messy, glorious right to vote, we determine our future.

It's a mess, yes. But it's a glorious mess. And it's what makes us all, together, Americans.

Topic: Government US


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • A fair point...

    ...except you forget the large number of the population that isn't of voting age and the other part of the population that is legitimately uninterested by politics (they may even vote to appease a child, sibling, parent, etc). I would say you can probably chop 1/4 - 1/3 of that 300,000,000 number off due to age alone. Either way, it is mighty pathetic that we have such a small percentage of the eligible population voting. Other countries have more a significant majority that votes regularly...granted that also have fewer votes... one reason why small, local ballot issues have so few people participate.

    One point you forgot to make (or chose not to) is that anyone that is eligible to vote and does NOT has no right to complain about the decisions going on in the country. That said, it would be lovely if those that dislike the President refrain from racist comments. Ultimately, the person being racist looks uninformed and of course racist. If the biggest knock someone has is the color of his skin, you were clearly born in the wrong decade in America.
    • Let's be honest here

      The quality of candidates can be attributed for our dismal voting participation rate. There are many of us that knew before election day even started that no matter what the result was going to be, we were all losers. And look, we were right.
      • well

        I'm gutted Obama won..... He hates the UK with a passion because his grand daddy got tortured in Kenya... They way he has treated our country is beyond belief considering the history and friendship we shared. His wife is a massive racist as well!
    • what racism?

      This is the divise speech that put this socialist in the White House!
      F@%$ing Sanndy, f@%$ing Cristie praising Obama and the lamestream media are responsible for 4 more years of darkness in America. Romney should have choosen Sarah Palin as VP to energize the real Americans and expose the slimy devilcrats and Obama as what they really are.
      May God have mercy on America untill 2016!
      LlNUX Geek
      • YOU'RE A LOSER...

        ...one more time. HAHAHAHAHAHAH. :-)
        • yeah. right....

          we'll take revenge in 2014 and 2016.
          We'lll repeal Obama care and all the regulations against the job creators.
          LlNUX Geek
          • Revenge?

            You are not a real American,
            Just some partisan cry baby who cares more about winning than America.
      • What racism?

        First- Someone sounds a little emotional. Please move to a socialist country before making bogus claims. I hear Foxconn in China is hiring. When you come back (if you make it out), please, tell us if the US is run in any way the same as in China. I think we would all be interested to find out.

        And I'm not sure what invisible, cognitively-created beings have to do with the success or failure. If you disagree with me, then you also must recognize all the other eras in which different and more invisible, cognitively-created beings were worshiped. Otherwise, you're proving my point. Religion is learned, and that's a fact.

        It's well documented the economy will heal on its own regardless of the person in office. The fact the FED can't do a thing should be enough to show you that one person can't make or break it... I don't care what their background says.


        Second- On ZDnet, it's nothing compared with other comment sections. Go read Yahoo or something in which Obama is mentioned. It's really quite disgusting the things some people are saying. Those that suggest lynching the President should wake up to the reality that it's not the 1800s any more. This is just one of the many things I regularly read on various sites. I don't care if you don't like Obama, it's wrong to make those connections... just like the billionaires that compared Obama to Nazi's. The difference is they publicly apologized (albeit probably continue on in private). There are certain things that are just not acceptable and those are what I'm talking about. Just to reiterate, I'm not implying you said anything racist.
        • The FED can't do anything???

          They print money out of thin air, cause inflation, raise our national debt, and give that new money to all the rich bankers and govt. They use that money to pay lobbyists who buy legislation towards the billionaires agenda (who all do you think sits on the FED's board of directors?)
          • ...tell us something new

            And what other departments and politicians don't do that? You would fix a ton of problems in America if lobbyists/special interest groups/Super PACs were illegal.
    • Other countries have votes that count

      Even though President Obama won re-election by electorial and popular vote, we live in a country where even though more people can choose one canidate over another, the canidate with less votes can actually win the election.

      It sad that on such a huge choice as chosing a president, it all comes down to winning a particular handful of states with a large share of electorial votes to render much of the countries votes immaterial.

      Even though votes split almost 50 evenly down the middle as a whole , the winning candiate is walking away with by far the most electorial votes to have called the election well before the couting was done.
      William Farrel
      • If you don't like the electoral system,

        and it's easy not to, than work to change it.

        Electoral colleges are messy. They were created because the founding fathers didn't trust the mass of average Americans to intelligently elect a president.
      • Funny how republicans only compain when they lose

        The electoral college system is silly because it is old fashioned. It does not take into account technology such as the Internet - but how could it.

        Now we have the ability to do better, and we probably should. And that applies to us here in Canada, the UK and everywhere else.
  • Only an patriotic optimist ...

    ... could convert all the negative words Gewirtz used ... into 'glorious'.
    His idolisation of The American Dream in preference to a fast-encroaching realism ... is the sort of fiddling Nero did as his city and his civilisation burned to the ground.

    It's the same over here in the UK :-(
    • I find a strange parallel between politics and the Surface RT ...

      ... as James Kendrick says 'opinions are all over the place'.
      This is worrying.
      If we cannot see reality and the truth clearly ... then we are lost.
      • "Reality" and "truth"

        How can you see reality and truth when you are brain washed as a child? American are fed a whole bunch of "truths" (including various religions) almost from birth, from the questionable to the ridiculous.

        While still rich and powerful, with many (potential) strengths, it is simply not the "greatest country on earth", unless your only yard sticks are $$$ and military might, which, while while perhaps important, do not do most of its citizens much good.

        Most Americans are kind, generous and decent people. They are unfortunately positioned with their heads firmly stuck in the sand.
        • One slight disagreement there

          I'm not sure it's just Americans that are fed that. Unless you grew up on an isolated island with parents that were also on the same island, you were fed their beliefs/values/etc, at least as a child. This isn't a bad thing by any mean. You can still be taught morals, integrity, values, ethics, etc. without religion, believing in entitlements, etc.

          I do agree with you 100% that most of us Americans have our heads in the sand...
          • I do agree that .....

            any culture is inherently "brain washing". You "adhere to" the food, clothing, and standards of conduct of your culture.

            There are however too many "truths" that most Americans do not seem to question, such as the greatness of their country despite ample recent (in historical terms) evidence to the contrary, certain "inalienable rights" granted by their Constitution despite overwhelming evidence that they are damaging to their society while at the same time allowing their government to at times flagrantly violating some of these rights in the name of "national security", religious beliefs from almost the middle ages, etc.

            Americans are raised to not question these "truths". It is shocking to me that the American electorate does not summarily dismiss most of their elected representatives just to teach them a lesson and then threaten to do the same with their replacements unless they implement certain reforms, such as term limits perhaps.

            The problem is that man wants "bread and circus", and Americans, perhaps due to their very successful most recent half century, want that more than most.
            As long as they have their "bread and circus" they are reluctant to rock the boat.

            Is the end, in a democracy, you get the government you deserve.
          • The U.S. isn't a Democracy

            It's (or at least it was at one time) a Republic. Do you remember Benjamin Franklin's famous quote at the close of the Constitutional Convention?

            "A Republic, If You Can Keep It."
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • People are trying to rock the boat...

            but they get promptly crushed by media bias and big wallets of special interest groups and bankers who want to stay in power.