And it all comes down to this; Indiana and North Carolina will have their political voices heard on Tuesday, four months and three days after Iowa began this marathon. An exasperated and exhausted nation will focus its attention on these two key states, hoping for an exercise in the power of democracy and a shift in course from primary to general. Hoosiers and Tar Heels, this is your one shining moment; the whole ball of wax sits precariously in your hands.
Sadly, this is not the case. Save for some rare, cosmic event of herculean bizarreness, Tuesday will likely decide very little, if anything at all. Relief is out of sight, far over the horizon.
What was designed to be an exploration of issues and a vetting of ideas has decayed into a festering pile of electoral refuse, and the sanitation engineers are on strike. It's going to get worse before it gets better. Despite what you read in the paper and see on the news, there is no silver bullet, no zero hour, no one shining moment.
With every state that holds a primary or caucus, we should be approaching a consensus and conclusion. Instead, the parade of blunders continues. Indiana and North Carolina will simply add fuel to the fire, and this national nightmare will endure. Jaded political journalists will gnaw on the skinny old bones of the same tired nonstories, bones from a beaten dead horse. The gross mutation of our democratic process from global example to international laughingstock serves up fresh inspiration to the uninspired. This is how the leader of the free world is chosen?
Iraq, health care, and immigration have fallen by the wayside, replaced with lapel pins, attacks on choices of vocabulary, and a game of "he said, she said" with he and she being anyone but the candidates. Jeremiah Wright and Bill Clinton are not running for president, and though their associations with the actual candidates deserve a minor degree of scrutiny, they do not warrant the endless attention they seem to be receiving. The tired refrain of "it's the media" is partially accurate when placing the blame, but the candidates and their campaigns are responsible for elevating a nation, and a world through the nation. Elevating the discourse of this race must come first. A return to issues-based campaigning is badly needed, for the sake of the electorate's interest as well as the health of the political spirit. The candidates must focus on the finish line, not on each other, and leave the disgusting pandering and irrelevant attacks of the last few weeks behind them. This isn't a food fight, a wrestling match, or a playground scuffle, it's an election. This is how the leader of the free world is chosen.