What would have happened had Jimmy Carter been re-elected in 1980? We are about to find out. The most important election in our lifetimes has turned into the most disappointing outcome of our lifetimes.

Obama gets a second term, but even many Democrats could not feel too great about it. The ones that do, I bet, have been in Colorado smoking newly-legalized marijuana. Obama waged the smallest, most cynical, and among the most dishonest campaigns in our history. Congratulations Mr. President. You managed to diminish not only yourself, but the rest of us too.

No hope this time around, and no change. We spent a couple billion dollars and untold shoe leather and volunteer hours to end up . . . right where we were the week before the election. A Democratic Senate, a Republican House, and a re-elected Administration that by most objective measures is a failure. Indeed, Obama did not really win. He just managed not to lose.

The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over again, expecting a different result. (Or, maybe it is just Joe Biden, who despite his instability will spend four more years one heartbeat away from the Presidency.)

Maybe that is why it is so hard to make sense of the outcome. It seems crazy. America just voted to continue Obama's failed policies, government tyranny, and the slouch toward Greece, with only the check of a Republican House of Representatives.

Or actually, Americans didn't bother to stop it. Astonishingly, it appears that while Obama lost nine million votes (over 12 percent) from his 2008 total, Mitt Romney received 2 million fewer votes than John McCain. Romney won independents, which means a lot of conservatives simply did not show up.

If Romney had equaled McCain's total, he likely would have carried Florida, and even Ohio. If he had increased McCain's vote total by even a million votes (by 1.5%), Romney would be the next President. So all the folks predicting a Romney win last week got if half right. Obama's support significantly eroded. The problem is that the GOP "enthusiasm" came up missing.

Obama's re-election thus says more about the American people than about his Presidency. And what it says is not uplifting.

Maybe I should just try life as an "uninformed voter" for a while. Certainly, it would be easier than paying attention. Heck, half the pundits (including me, I guess) were flat out wrong analyzing the election. The other half were flat out lucky.

The "media" are now so slanted as to be dangerously unreliable. Consider: In Watergate, President Nixon was forced to resign by a press that relentlessly ferreted out the facts. In the Libya terrorist attack that left our Ambassador and three others murdered, President Obama lied to the country about what happened, Candy Crowley abetted him in a presidential debate, and CBS News sat on the proof.

So I could just take People Magazine and watch Honey Boo Boo and The View. Well, not The View: I have to draw the line somewhere. But all the current events I need to know, I could pick up wandering through the Madison Wal-Mart. The great thing is that my vote would still count exactly the same.

Or, maybe I should just withhold that vote and be "undecided." Politicians would fawn all over me with billions of dollars, all while I struggle to decide between blue and brown socks, or paper and plastic. If it really worked out, I could land in one of those voter focus groups. Or, better yet, in the audience of a town hall debate in which "undecided" voters get to ask the questions off those recipe cards, sounding out the big words. But then Candy Crowley may moderate all over me, which could be unpleasant.

Nah. I am not going to let Washington ruin my outlook, even as they ruin America's outlook for the future. That is one freedom I won't let them take from me.

As America moves from fall to winter (literally, and metaphorically), I plan to focus on raking my own leaves for a while. More time with my family, and less time writing columns. More Bible reading, and less blog reading. As for Mississippi's Republicans, my advice to them is to stop angling and fundraising for their next offices, and go do the jobs we elected them to do. That is the best hope for getting all those voters to leave Honey Boo Boo long enough actually to vote next time.

Cory T. Wilson is a Madison attorney with the firm of Heidelberg Steinberger Colmer & Burrow. You can follow Cory on Twitter, @CoryWilsonMS or email cory@corywilson.ms.