I have physically restrained myself from blogging about the November 6th Presidential Election. For good reason, turns out. What are the latest Presidential Projections? Will Romney win the Election? Will Obama win the election? Who should I vote for President? So much change over the past few months!
By most accounts, Before the first debate, Obama “had it in the bag”. Afterwards, Romney was “headed for a landslide”. After the second debate, Obama “woke up and shored up his base”, but Romney was still headed for a “sure win”. After the third and final debate, Obama commanded it, Romney basically praised him, and the result: it’s “anybody’s game”. What are the latest presidential projections? I’ve lost track.
Then today, Lindsey Graham, South Carolina’s Senior Senator who I really like personally, and who is usually a pillar of “reason” and “soundness”, had an ad on Facebook that really caught my eye:
” ‘like’ you think Obama’s Hope & Change of 2008 has turned into fear & despair in 2012″
FEAR and DESPAIR? Really? (And that’s correct, I did say Lindsey Graham, NOT Jim DeMint.) Insofar as Presidential elections are concerned, South Carolina is a beet RED state and always will be. I get that. Senator Graham is a Loyal Republican and always will be. I get that too. But I am not a Republican and never will be. Neither am I a Democrat , nor will I ever be.
You ask, “and that makes you special because…”
Well, I’m nothing special and I’ll be the first to admit that. In addition to being a personal injury, criminal defense and dui defense lawyer in Columbia, S.C., I do have a unique political history, though. You see, I am the only person who has served as a TRUE independent in the History of the South Carolina General Assembly. By “true” I mean originally elected independent, served their entire tenure as an independent, and retired as an independent. When they go to the polls, a lot of folks consider themselves “independent” –which is cool– but I have actually had to pound pavement to beat republicans and democrats and THEN work both sides of the aisle to succeed in order to “officially” wear that badge. And rest assured, I am proud of it. Enough about me, though. My point is that this is not penned from a purely partisan perspective.
So let’s return to the trigger that finally prompted me to write this.
Merriam-Webster FEAR (transitive verb)
: to be afraid of : expect with alarm <fear the worst>
Personally, in 2008 I feared terrorists – specifically Osama bin Laden. I feared another attack on our soil like on 9-11. I feared that the full-fledged recession was going to lapse into a new Great Depression. I feared traveling abroad – anywhere– unless I put Canadian Flags on my luggage like some of my friends (NOT to be un-patriotic, mind you, but to keep from being physically harmed). I feared that we would remain indefinitely in two wars and possible push for a third in Iran. And I feared that my country was going to continue to be a self-anointed “World Policeman” while we neglected problems within our own boundaries.
: to lose all hope or confidence <despair of winning>
Personally, in 2008 I had lost all hope that the Great American Automobile Industry was going to ever get back on its feet. I had lost all confidence that the powerful Wall Street Titans could ever be held in check. I had lost hope that our soldiers would ever get to come home alive from two wars in which I believed we had no business fighting the first place.
Since my Retirement from The General Assembly, I have been a bit of a Presidential Election-year Political junky. Maybe too much so. My current position requires that I be completely apolitical on the State Level, so maybe in Federal Presidential Elections I’m like that alcoholic who “only gets to drink egg nog at the Christmas Party” so please understand that whilst reading this blog. If you do, I promise I’ll cut myself off Wednesday Morning.
Being that aforementioned Junky, I was hooked on this year’s GOP Convention in Tampa. When the question was posited: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” I was taken aback: literally back in time to 1980 when Ronald Reagan asked the same question of Jimmy Carter, and, figuratively, to what I thought was a fairly rhetorical question to present. In my head, I was thinking that I (as in me, me, me I,I,me) certainly am better off than I was in 2008. But the crucial query should be is the United States of America better off today than it was in 2008? And, if you have read piece this far, based on the fears and despair I held in 2008, you sense that I feel as though we are.
Apparently, this are-you-better-off -than-you-were-in-2008 phrase appears to resonate within the GOP faithful, or at least serve, to them, as sufficient justification for their views. “I can’t take another four years like this.” But those who say they are not better off today than four years ago seem to have completely forgotten what 2008 was actually like.
Do you have a retirement account invested at all in equities? Is it (are you) better off now than 2008? Do you remember how bad 2008 felt? If you retired in 2008, your country owes you thanks and Wall Street owes you an apology. And Money. Fortunately,medicare and Social Security were not privatized, and hopefully never will be. Fortunately, the financial community was not de-regulated (“trust us!”)
Are we better off now than we were four years ago?
In an attempt to make this a positive presentation, and in my Heart of Hearts, I believe that the question presented can be answered without a harsh critique of Mitt Romney: A man whose work ethic in business, dedication to his Faith and Family and love of Country is clear. At least to me.
Just about this time every four years, one of my best lifetime friends, who must go unnamed, is always my “reality-checker”.He’s the guy who –at may own request– throws a bucket of ice water on me as I lay passed out on the floor having drunk myself into an MSNBC “stupor”. God love him for it. This year, he is convinced that Romney will win by a near-landslide. He thinks all or most every “swing state” will break for Romney and turn RED Tuesday. That turned me BLUE, as in triste. Until I read Lindsey Graham’s Dark & Dire Facebook ad and actually thought about it.
*we are adding jobs every single month, and it’s only getting better (5.5 Million since 2008)
*we have ended the Historical Mistake that was the Iraq War
*we now have the cooperation of the major WORLD POWERS behind us in international affairs
*we have successfully located and KILLED Osama Bin Ladin
*No attacks on our mainland have taken place
*There have been no major political or ethical scandals
*Wall Street has been called into check
*we are HALTING the longest US War in History in Afghanistan
*When a devastating calamity like SANDY hits, we have a Federal Govt. that springs into action IMMEDIATELY
*Al Qaeda is a shadow of it’s former self
*interest rates are still at historical lows, while home sales are increasing
*More people have access to affordable healthcare
*Women now have a right to equal pay for equal work
*The US Auto Industry is not only back on its feet, but standing tall once again
*Oil production WITHIN the USA is at an all-time HIGH
*We are collectively trying to reduce our carbon footprint
*home construction is finally increasing, and
Sorry Senator Graham, but a dog named “fear and despair” just won’t hunt right now.
Is the USA better off today than it was fours years ago? Absolutely.
The truth works.
And if it works Tuesday, Barack Obama should get re-elected by well-over 300 electoral votes.
by J.L. Mann Cromer, Jr., who served as the only true independent member of the South Carolina General Assembly from 1990-1998. Currently, he is a general practice attorney in Columbia, S.C., concentrating in probate and estate planning, criminal defense and personal injury law. Additionally. 25 years experience in DUI defense law and DUI attorney in columbia, s.c. simple possession of marijuana and related criminal defense in columbia, s.c.
*Special thanks to USC Lawschool Classmates Charley Beans & Steve Douglas for your advice!