In spite of my shock and depression over election results, I banged out a short piece titled “Reckoning” the day after the election. It focused on our looming financial disaster and voter ignorance about Obama’s responsibility for it, but there are so many other aspects of this electoral disaster. It showed us so much about what our country has become, and I’ll deal with another part of it here.
Those last three Obama campaign commercials really shook me up. They were appalling, and I thought: “Who would vote for a president whose campaign put these out?” I believed he would be defeated, soundly and deservedly, because Americans were much too decent to approve this sort of thing. They would be as appalled as I was.
But, alas, I was wrong. Obama was reelected.
The commercials were for internet viewers, not for television, and they were detestable. The first featured a young woman with a tattoo on her shoulder saying coyly: “Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy . . . Before, I was a girl. Now, I was a woman. I pulled back the curtain and I voted for Barack Obama.”
I thought: “Wow. The Obama campaign is really misreading the American voter. This is going to backfire on them, big-time.”
But I was wrong. Obama reads America better than I do. How depressing - not because I’m inferior in my perception, but because of what America has become. I knew it was bad. I didn’t know it was this bad.
The second, put out by Moveon.org, started innocently enough at a nursing home. “A Message From the Greatest Generation” appeared in text. Then five elderly residents appeared and the camera zoomed in on one: “Marie, 97 years old.” She said she was born during World War I and first voted for FDR in 1940. Then she said: “If your voter suppression throughout this beautiful country enables Romney to oust Barack Obama, we will burn this motherfucker down.”
Then another old lady said: “If the Republicans steal this election, I’m going to track down Mitt Romney and give him the world’s biggest cock-punch . . .” Then she paused and looked to her side saying: “What’s the matter sonny? You never heard that phrase ‘cock-punch’? Hah-hah.” Then she grimaced, held out her hand as if to squeeze something and said: “Right in the nut-sack!”
Then an old man said he was a veteran of World War II and that if their offspring let the Republicans steal the election again, they’re going to look down from heaven and watch them have sex.
There was a sick comedic attempt in this second one, but the third was deadly serious and the most shocking.
In it, a series of young girls begged their mothers: “Please, please, please vote for President Obama. Otherwise, your vote is a vote against me.”
If mothers were to vote for Mitt Romney, they would be voting against their own children, the commercial purports. Why? Presumably because Romney would appoint judges not supportive Roe vs Wade - the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court decision preventing individual states from outlawing abortion. Neither Romney nor Roe are mentioned, but the implication is clear.
Each of the girls depicted, ranging in age from about five-years-old to twenty-something, all beg: “Please make the right choice so that when I grow up, I can still have one.” What each aspires to have, of course, is an abortion. They’re begging their own mothers who didn’t kill them in utero to vote for Obama so they can kill their own babies - who would be their mothers’ grandchildren - when they grow up.
This is what my country has become and it’s why I’m so depressed. I’ve always known there were lots of Americans who think like the people in the commercials, and that their numbers were growing. What I didn’t realize was that they’re already in the majority. America has changed, perhaps irretrievably. The concrete of our Brave New World had set while I wasn’t looking.
My view had always been that when people became cognizant of what we were turning into and why, they would choose to reverse course - but that’s not what last week’s election showed us. Now I realize that most of my countrymen believe it’s wonderful and they want more of it.
The commercials may be repulsive to me, but they’re not to the new majority. They’re not ephemeral zeitgeist. They’re what we are.