I've been following the election campaign - reluctantly - since last year. Now that we have a presumptive Republican nominee, and a running mate for him, things are beginning to get interesting.
The tenor of the campaign rhetoric is heated. The positions are defended vociferously. And the name-calling and character assassination are epic.
The essence of this year's installment of The Struggle for Power is the same as it's always been. Here's my synopsis of what all the candidates, and all their SuperPACs, are saying. See if you don't agree:
"If X (a) gets into office, or (b) stays in office, (s)he will take away Y, which you've had all along. Don't let that happen!"
In other words, this is the FEAR card. This is the card that's always dealt in these campaigns, from the top, the bottom, and the middle of the deck. In fact, it's the only card in the deck.
There are attempts, pretty weak ones to my way of thinking, to not deal in fear, to appeal to a higher emotion. The Hope and Change campaign of Barack Obama in 2008 was such an attempt. Remember how roundly it was derided by the opposition? Remember how Sarah Palin was famous for this: "How's that hopey-changey thing working for ya?"
I've got no use for fear. I'm a follower of the guy who went to the Cross, who knew fear and faced it down, because there was a greater purpose at stake. We followers are told that we're more than that, that we're powerful in our weakness and our inability to do things on our own.
I have no time for this fear-mongering. I have no stomach for it. I know who I intend to vote for. I know the people I support aren't perfect. I know that their opponents aren't demons. I know they're not perfect either, despite what their partisans might have us believe. I know also that I'll rue the choices I make at some point, because circumstances change, as do people and their agendas.
I take all this in stride. I know that this year's campaign will be over the day after Election Day. And that day will be the beginning of the 2014 campaign. At some point, you just have to laugh. We're just such creatures of habit.