Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

In Douglas Adams' hilarious Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, humanity was the third most intelligent species on the planet, behind mice and dolphins.  When it became apparent to the dolphins that the Earth was doomed, they left.  All dolphins everywhere suddenly disappeared, leaving  only a single simple message on the bottom of two fish bowls: "So long and thanks...for all the fish."

I'll admit I'm very, very surprised at the results.  I also cannot express the sadness/nausea with which I write this.  I could go into a rather lengthy description of my guesses as to what happened, but ultimately they're just guesses, and I'm just a guy.  What do I know?  (clearly...)  At some point I may ruminate further on what happened, or maybe explore some of the bigger reasons that I think are behind the events of tonight.  But I might not.  I'll have to think about it and get some perspective before I decide.  I will simply finish my political commentary with two thoughts.

I don't know who said it, but it's fundamentally correct: Americans don't necessarily get the government they want, but they do get the government they deserve.  Tonight, this seems like the most frightening premonition I can conjure up.

Finally, my brain is consumed with this analogy.  When you have children, you try to teach them that their choices have consequences, whether good or bad.  If they choose to fritter away their time with unproductive endeavors, they won't learn and grow.  If they are lazy, they'll achieve less than their more industrious peers.  If they treat others poorly, they'll have fewer friends and more enemies.  On the other hand, if they study hard, they'll get good grades.  If they practice hard, they'll get better at piano, soccer, or whatever their chosen activity.  If they save their money, they'll have plenty in times of want.  And so on (though that model may be in the process of fundamentally transforming now...).  The hope of a parent is that you can teach them well enough that they will learn to self-evaluate when they need to, take a good long look at the consequences of their actions before they decide, and make more good choices than bad.

The thing is, this holds true for adults and for nations, as well.  America made its choice tonight, at least insofar as we can be said to have a legitimate election.  Through whatever means, Barack Obama won re-election.  For all you Obama supporters out there -- whether grudgingly or enthusiastically -- I ask only one thing: remember this choice when you deal with the consequences of another four years of Obama.  Obamacare, Obama-spending, and Obama's Muslim outreach come to mind as a few of the biggest potential impacts, but I suspect there will be many, many more.  It may not happen tomorrow, it may not happen next year, but the choice made tonight will invade upon your life at some point in the future.  You will have no one to blame but yourself.

After all, choices have consequences.

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