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CURMUDGEON'S CORNER: Election results show America has changed ... and not for the better (OPINION)

November 14, 2012

(Editor's Note: Due to a late production error, we were unable to print Politics as Usual in this week's Standard-Times and have made it available online instead. We regret the error.)

Last Tuesday the voters of the State of Rhode Island and Dependent Population joined a majority of other citizens of the Socialist States of America and decided that increased government intervention in and control over our lives is what they want. In other words, surrender more of our freedom and liberty for government handouts.
Incredibly, less than 12 hours after President Barack Obama was declared the winner, ABC News was reporting that the middle class (i.e. those with household income over $70,000), are facing a major tax increase beginning in January. Where was this information during the seemingly endless campaign? How else, other than by increasing taxes on everyone who pays taxes, do the progressives, including President Obama, plan to pay for the existing programs, not to mention new government giveaways?
The only bright spot in the whole thing is that there won’t be a Republican in the White House when the credit bubble explodes and we are plunged into an economic crisis far worse than the so-called “Great Recession”. Naturally, President Obama will blame the GOP majority in the House of Representatives for not going along with his proposals to solve our woes with more government command and control over the economy.
One thing is certain: the face of national political campaigns has been changed. Obama’s campaign strategy was better organized and executed than Romney’s. Led by David Axelrod, Team Obama’s no holds barred, bare knuckles, Chicago-style, negative political ads right out of the starting gate has set the bar for a long, long time.
The president said in his acceptance speech that he wants the country to become energy independent during his second term. In 1977, under President Jimmy Carter the Department of Energy evolved out of the World War II Manhattan Project. One of its goals was to make the United States energy independent. Today, the department has a $27 billion budget including $2.6 billion for “renewable energy” and has more than 16,000 employees and another 95,000 contractors. How’s that working out for us?
President Obama is a big supporter of electric cars, especially those built by General Motors and subsidized by US taxpayers. Where the electricity to fuel these cars is supposed to be generated is unclear particularly since Obama’s EPA has closed dozens of coal-fired electric plants and is making it virtually impossible to mine coal notwithstanding the president’s stated interest in “clean coal”.
The President and his environmentalist supporters tout clean, renewable energy. Does this mean acres of solar panels in the deserted southwest and huge wind turbines sprouting up everywhere else?
I was shocked the other day as I drove east on Ten Rod Road when I saw the new windmill looming over the Wickford Junction railroad station complex. I suggest everyone take a look and decide for themselves whether this scene enhances the environment.
The stock market reacted to Obama’s second term by falling 312.95 points on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. So much for confidence that the president will reach out to the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives which remains under GOP control. This has not been Obama’s style for the last four years. What would cause him to change now when he is term limited and cannot run for president again?
What can we expect during Obama II? An assault on the First and Second Amendments; appointment of two or three liberal, activist justices to the Supreme Court and judges to the federal bench who believe their role is to make laws –not interpret them; and a run at a government, single payer, socialized health care system.
I will be accused of hyperbole but I believe Obama’s reelection despite his lackluster first term spelled the end of the great American experiment in a representative republic with limited government serving the people. I feel sorry for my children and grandchildren.
November 6, 2012 should also be regarded as the death rattle of the Republican Party in the Ocean State.
At the polling place where I worked, three women in their late 30s – early 40s walked in to vote. One of them explained that she was there to translate for the other two who spoke only Spanish. Turns out they were in the wrong precinct.
After I pointed them in the right direction the translator studied the sample ballot taped to the wall and asked me how to vote a straight Democrat ticket so she could explain it to the other two. One of the women looked intently at the ballot and then asked the interpreter “donde Ciccilline”? My Spanish is a bit rusty but I knew what that meant. After voting in North Kingstown perhaps they were headed to Providence to cast another ballot.
I had to let two voters cast provisional ballots because they claimed they had registered to vote at the DHS when they applied for their SNAP (food stamp) cards. Two others said they registered when they got their driver’s license renewed at AAA and the DMV.
One young man asked how he could vote for president. Seems he is in the military and a legal resident of Florida. He said he asked his election board three times for an absentee ballot and one was never sent.
The wife of a Japanese gentleman had to accompany him to the voting booth to translate the ballot for him because he spoke no English. “How are these people becoming citizens”, I asked myself.
Yes, the political and socioeconomic demographics of North Kingstown are changing.
At the end of election day, only six votes separated incumbent Carol Hueston from independent candidate Colin O’Sullivan for the fifth seat on the town council. After the mail in ballots were counted the margin widened. Nevertheless, this showed the importance of every vote.
It is also worth noting that all members of the town council were elected with less than 10% of the vote.
I apologize to all those who had to wait in line to vote at the polling place where I worked. Redistricting was the state’s idea. The town board of canvassers thought dividing up the voter roles at each polling place into three groups of 700 was a good concept. Unfortunately, if most of the voters whose last name begins with the letters “A” through “H” all show up at the same time, the inevitable result is a long line.
My attempt to call forward voters with other names to keep the lines moving was met with a near riot and for that I apologize to those who thought I was “playing favorites”.
Finally, voters overwhelmingly passed all four changes to the town charter. In 2014, there will only be two seats open on the school committee which will bring that body to five members. Hopefully this will expedite the school district’s work, particularly its budget and the consent agenda at school committee meetings.

Richard August is a North Kingstown resident and a regular contributor to the Standard Times. He served for six years on North Kingstown’s Audit Committee and was its chairman for the last two. His opinions are his own.

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