By Chez Pazienza: There's a scene in the movie Alien 3 that's come to mind several times over the past few days, as the 2012 presidential race finally winds down to an end. Deciding that she's had enough and reeling from the revelation that she's pregnant with an alien fetus, a bitter, exhausted Ripley descends into the depths of the prison on Fiorina 161 to confront the creature that's tormented her for the better part of six decades. As she stalks through the darkness looking for it, makeshift weapon in hand, she says out loud, "You've been in my life so long, I can't remember anything else." They're words that convey emotional devastation, words of utter resignation directed at the seemingly unstoppable evil that's left her psyche in tatters and has systematically annihilated everything she holds dear.
I know the feeling. I feel the same way about the 2012 race for the White House. It's been going on for so long, overwhelming every aspect of our culture, eating us alive as a society and generally making us all so fucking crazy in so many different ways that I can't imagine what it's going to be like in a few hours when it's, hopefully, all finally over.
While I'm fully expecting to spend the foreseeable future in therapy to treat the PTSD I'll likely suffer from -- I still crawl under the nearest table, clap my hands tightly over my ears and whimper pathetically every time I hear anyone mention three 9s in rapid succession -- it'll be nice to spend at least the next six months or so not hearing Mark Halperin's opinion being taken seriously by anyone other than the idiots on Morning Joe. Yes, should Obama win we can expect the virulent madness coming from the right to increase exponentially; hell, Mitt Romney has even used that certainty as a closing argument, preemptively blaming Obama for the rage sure to be directed at him from Republican lawmakers who will hold the entire country hostage rather than give the president the inch they deprived him of for the four preceding years. But the ridiculous horse race will be over. And at least that's something.
When you look back on the last year-and-a-half -- Jesus, year-and-a-half -- it's almost unimaginable that we survived this thing. The Republican clown car primary alone, with its game of frontrunner musical chairs, endless debates and relentless internet meme generation, will go down as one of the most embarrassing displays of political and intellectual bankruptcy our country has ever been forced to suffer through. If the fact that both Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich could once claim frontrunner status for the Republican nomination for President of the United States wasn't enough to make you weep openly for the future of the republic, nothing would be. And in the end, what did we get -- who was the last "meh" standing? Mitt Romney, the no-shit worst possible candidate for the GOP to run at this point in our nation's history, after all we've been through. A tone-deaf choice of last resort if ever there was one. A privileged plutocrat who can barely mask his disdain for a substantial portion of the electorate -- who comes across as painfully awkward and insincere when he tries -- and who believes he's entitled to the White House because, well, that's just the way things are for men like him. A cringe-inducingly ingratiating cipher who thinks nothing of running one of the most audaciously dishonest campaigns in the history of modern politics as long as there's a chance it will get him to the figure he wants to see at the bottom of his balance sheet. A guy for whom the United States as a nation is essentially meaningless because he exists outside of it in the realm of the multinational corporatocracy, a rarefied stratum where money is all that matters and it moves like lifeblood from faltering, harvested companies to tax shelters in the Caymans and Switzerland. Romney is the living embodiment of the selfish worship of unrestricted greed that gangbanged the global economy and got us into the very mess he and his Ayn Rand-worshiping running-mate now blame Obama for not getting us out of fast enough.
And right there -- there's your choice.
Yes, we're all worn out. We're tired. We want this over. As much as some of us have thrived on the occasional exhilaration that apparently comes from inundating Twitter followers and Facebook friends with various pearls of political wisdom, we want to go back to our lives, at least for a little while. But we have one thing left to do. One last thing, and it's more important than anything we've done up until now. We have to vote. That's what this has all been about, the impetus for all this insanity. For months, a desperate and resentful extremist political faction within the United States, the remnants of the once-great party of Lincoln, has fought with ruthless abandon to ensure that it holds its tenuous grip on power. It's proven that it will do anything for your vote -- lie, cheat, fear-monger, spend billions and billions of dollars -- and anything to make sure your vote doesn't count should you not be swayed by its insidious efforts. With the unavoidable fact that it's being demographically pushed to the brink of extinction always firmly in mind, it has responded with the kind of ferocity only a cornered animal can muster.
I still believe in Barack Obama and what he represents to the future of this country -- what he stands for, what he fights for and who he is. When placed against the regressive, reactionary and thoroughly cynical candidacy of Mitt Romney, I'm not sure there's ever been a clearer choice in a race for President of the United States in my lifetime. Put simply, agree with all his positions or not, Obama cares about this country and its people. He cares about what this country means for the world and what kind of country our children will inherit, whether it will be an inclusive and compassionate nation of which they can be proud. Romney on the other hand would return us to the catastrophic economic, domestic and foreign policies of the last Republican administration -- the one the GOP has tried so hard to make us all forget during this protracted campaign -- and go even further by cementing an almost unimaginable level of economic inequality and possibly turning us into a robber baron nation for decades to come while likely relitigating nearly 50 years of social progress for women, minorities and gay Americans.
You can't let him win. You can't let them win.
Today's the day you can make all the difference in the world.
It's in your hands.