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Gratuitous Election Season Screed

It will come as no surprise to those who have been reading here for any period of time, that our house is "into" politics, and hence increasingly focused on how the pending mid-term election picture will play out.

I know that we have lots of readers from places outside the U.S., and I do apologize to all of those folks for foisting our crazy political wrangling on all of you.  Too, I am certain that there are many, many U.S. based readers who hold political views in opposition to ours.  If you are one of those people, and you are inclined toward the politically conservative end of things -- this bit is just going to annoy you and it is entirely unlikely that we are going to change one another's minds about anything, so feel free to click away from what follows.  What I have to say here tonight, is really aimed at those who would typically find themselves aligned with us -- politically liberal and/or progressive.

We were Obama voters in the 2008 election.  We weren't naive.  We knew he was young and relatively inexperienced, but we saw in him great potential, great intellect, and that remarkably eloquent facility with language that was such a relief after 8 years of utterly inarticulate babble.  We acknowledged our doubts but chose to vote for the potential and the promise.  We were completely thrilled and amazed when the results came in on election eve and our country elected Barak Obama for the highest office in our government.

The disappointment set in very, very quickly for our family.  Obama's invitation to Rick Warren to offer the invocation at his inauguration, gave us a jolt, but made it clear that our newly elected president lacked a viable understanding of the most basic of political tenets:  "Always dance with them what brung you."  We'd had great hopes that this new president would work to implement some of the changes that would begin to improve the quality of our lives and the lives of others like us  -- that he would end "don't ask don't tell," dismantle the "defense of marriage act," pass and implement the employment non-discrimination act" (ENDA), get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, pass real health care reform, reign in the corporate welfare state, and make our lives better in a dozen different ways.  These two years have been a nearly continual round of disappointments.

Feeling especially betrayed by that Rick Warren invitation, we very quickly declared that we'd not invest another dime or another hour of effort to support this administration.  That has been our steadfast stance.  We've watched with dismay as President Obama, along with the democratic legislative majority in both The House and The Senate, romanced and wooed the political right, compromising and giving ground, delaying those "controversial" liberal agenda items that might stir up the conservatives -- until finally there was nothing much left of the dreams we'd once dared to dream.

So, now, another election looms.  Next week, on Nov. 2, we'll go once again to the polls to cast our ballots and make the choices and decisions about who will lead us for the next two years.  Like so many others on the left, we are angry and frustrated and tired of all the compromising.  It is awfully tempting to use our votes to "teach the democrats a lesson."  How simple it would be to vote for some alternative, but not viable, candidate -- a green party or marijuana party vote...  Even simpler to simply stay home and not bother to participate at all.


This year.

Doing any of that would very likely turn the government over to those who would determinedly and deliberately hurt and harm us.  Not some theoretical "them," but US.  The ones to whom power might pass in this election are people who would pass restrictive laws about marriage and family, who would work to appoint anti-gay, anti-sex, anti-abortion, anti-female, anti-worker justices to the supreme court for decades to come, who will gerrymander the House districts all over this country -- ensuring reactionary government well into the next decade, who would repeal minimum wage laws and work to roll back what minimal progress has been made on health care reform, who would eliminate the equal protection language from our constitution and finally accomplish the dismantling of the public school system, who would privatize social security, who would limit assistance to those without work, or with too little work, who think they know better than we do how we might best live, who choose to believe whatever it is they choose to believe -- and then decide, arbitrarily, that all the rest of us must believe that as well.

I am so angry at Barack Obama, and even more angry at the democratic leadership in the House and Senate.  They had our votes and they had the majority and they frittered it all away, trying to compromise with the opposition when it was abundantly clear that there was no shred of compromise to be had with that bunch.  I am frustrated, and I dearly wish there were a way to "teach them all a lesson."  I am not willing, however, to hurt myself and my family in order to teach anyone a lesson.  "They'll be sorry when I'm dead," might have had some sort of emotional appeal when I was a child contemplating running away from parents who seemed somehow unreasonable and unfair, but this is no time for childishly emotional acting out.  I think this bunch has been foolish and inept and just plain stupid by times, but I KNOW, without any doubt that those others who would seek to replace them are far worse.  They are mean, narrow-minded, hateful -- along with foolish, inept, and plain stupid.

If you are, in any sense, in any part of your life, like US, then please -- do not stay home next Tuesday; do not vote libertarian or green or whatever; do not talk yourself into believing that it is better to have someone in office who openly hates you than to have someone who claims to be sympathetic while acting contrary to that claim.  Be angry.  Stay angry.  Vow to show them all, over the next two years, exactly what they are supposed to be doing with the trust we've placed in them, but act in your own best interest and vote.



  1. Impish110:40 AM

    Right now, I'm angry at everybody. I keep that at home to myself, and I speak in measured tones sharing what I feel and why because I feel reasoned discussions can help us all. I will never give up my right to vote although I am greatly saddened by the number of times I vote for the lesser of two evils instead of someone I trust and believe in. I'm tired of the lack of reasoned discourse and discussion in Washington, in my state and district, and in my neighborhoods. The absolute polarization which allows no discussion hurts us all. When we can discuss ideas freely, we allow for understanding, and even where we cannot agree, we may at least find compassion, soften hard lines, find compromises where they are possible. Find that those we think are so different may be more alike than we think. There are compromises that should never be made. My core beliefs don't change, but I will always be working for them, talking about them, willing to explain the why behind them.

    Swan, I respect your anger, I feel it many times too, but that feeling back and forth in our government is, I think, what brought us here. Too bad they did not read and head your entry and also leave that tit for tat in childhood.

  2. Impish -- thank you for your reasoned and sensible comment. If only we, all of us, could learn again the tenets of intelligent and civil discourse. Perhaps we could begin to demonstrate that to those who would rule in our names, and things might begin to be better. It has always been true that intelligent people of good faith find themselves at odds with one another, but I do remember a time when people of divergent perspectives could still discuss and disagree without becoming disagreeable.


  3. I think Bill Maher said is best:

    "When it comes to voting, when we only have two choices, you got to grow up and realize there's a big difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy."

    I am angry that certain people were appointed (Rahm for one). I am angry they take our vote for granted. I do not think it was wrong to attempt bipartisanship...but *early on* it became clear the repubs were not going to play. At that point Obama should have quit trying to appease them. The Dems are just as in bed with the lobbyists who work against the interest of the american people, and at times it seems hopeless so why vote?

    But my god...the alternative is terrifying. Republicans and Tea Party people are intent on killing the middle class and turning the nation into a plutocracy. They don't understand the most basic tenants of the first amendment, and they glorify stupidity. It's suicide to not vote in this election given the agenda the other side has in store for us.


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