The political landscape in the United States has been completely incapable of consensus and compromise for the greater part of the last decade, seen dramatically with the impeachment of President Clinton, and the two highly questioned, litigious, divisive, general elections which resulted in George W. Bush taking the helm. Bush's policies have widened the controversy, as despite record low opinion polls, he and his cronies have pushed forward on an aggressive, radical agenda with mediocre results which may actually have made the economy weaker and the world less safe - and certainly has sullied the American reputation abroad.
As Electoral-Vote.com is showing, this fall's senate and House elections could put Democrats in the majority, if races go the way they are expected. There is a significant anti-incumbent, anti right-wing backlash that has catapulted previous unknowns into powerful swing positions for the party.
But while we see these challenges at the local level, there continues to be white hot discussion around whether you can even trust the results of any election - as allegations of fraud and simple ineptitude are rampant. Unlikely source Rolling Stone magazine has delivered one of the most in-depth investigative news pieces into the discrepancies of the 2004 general election I've seen. Their conclusion? Widespread fraud and manipulation gave Bush the election over Kerry - especially in critical swing states like Ohio. Meanwhile, others, including The Washington Post, are saying that major problems at the fall polls are expected, as mandates to eliminate "hanging chads" are resulting in even less-trustworthy electronic voting machines, which have been proven extremely hack-worthy.
With all that said, the anger and frustration over the current administration has delivered an almost-nostalgic fondness for the Clinton/Gore years, when the economy was roaring, when our budgets were balanced, and war was not on everyone's minds. While Bill Clinton can't run again, and Al Gore has repeatedly said he doesn't see it happening, they remain a huge political presence. With the success of "An Inconvenient Truth" and an upcoming book, planned for release in May called "The Assault on Reason", Gore has gained significant chutzpah, unseen in his uninspiring 2000 bid. Meanwhile, the UK's The Observer says that Clinton will become even more active in protecting his legacy from those who love to trash it, to rebuild his role as global statesman, and set up the opportunity to be the first "First Husband" in the White House, should Hillary go all the way.
Unfortunately, we can't go back to the Clinton/Gore years, and Bush's impact on the globe is both far-reaching and long-lasting. But we can at least hope that we have the opportunity to regain the simple trust that our democratic process is working and that our votes are counted - something we took for granted growing up and cannot even fathom now that things have slipped so far.
Listening to ''Ecstasy (Clubb Mix)'', by ATB (Play Count: 7)
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