November 05, 2012
As I've noted before, I'm wary of the apocalyptic mindset. Once the province of the religious right, Matt Ridley recently documented in Wired magazine how it's been thoroughly embraced by the secular left. Doomsday economics is currently all the rage, with "fiscal cliffs" and monetary meltdowns in Europe and Japan, and the like.
In the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, archeologists pointed to the numerous stone markers found in the coastal foothills of Japan, warning future generations not to build permanent dwellings below that elevation. Warnings that were forgotten in a generation or two. So much for learning from history. And yet Japan remains with us.
And so we gamely muddle on. As Michael Wood points out in The Story of England, many towns and cities across Europe took centuries to recover their pre-Black Death populations. And yet not only did they do so, but in the process relegated that cataclysmic event to the stuff of entertaining PBS documentaries.
Mother Nature could squash us like bugs. It's our job to scurry out of the way of her big feet like cockroaches. Which we've gotten very good at over the past 10,000 years of human civilization. If nothing else, human beings are the masters of muddling through. The Greeks will, the Japanese will. And so will the American voting public.
Regardless of what happens tomorrow. I'll just be glad when it's over. Though I can't complain too much. One advantage of living in a solidly Republican state like Utah is being spared most of the electioneering hubbub.
Only the newly-created 4th district is a close race, as it includes a big chunk of Salt Lake City and its liberal (!) enclaves. I switch the channel every time an ad from either side comes on the air. I can't imagine what it'd be like to live in a state like Ohio, where the voters are evenly split.
The local punditry has concluded that veteran Jim Matheson erred in switching from the 2nd to the 4th. He expected to run against a bland Republican newbie. Instead, Mia Love currently has even odds of riding Romney's coattails to Washington and becoming the first Republican African-Haitian-American woman in Congress. Change!
In the 3rd district, where I live, Chaffetz is leading his challenger 68 percent to 15 percent. Nobody wastes money campaigning with polls like that, for which I am very grateful.
One of my ideas for saving the Electoral College would be a quasi-parlimentary system that allocated Electoral College votes according to each House district. Winning the House would (usually but not necessarily) win the presidency. Of course, that would turn contests like Utah's 4th into scorched earth battlefields.
So, maybe not. In any case, on November 7th, the proper reaction to whatever happens on November 6th is to shrug and continue muddling through.