Friday, November 09, 2012

My last election rant, I promise

I think maybe my post yesterday came across as a little more negative than I intended it to...I wasn't trying to be a total negative Nancy.

In an odd sense of timing, I spent a little bit of time with So Midwestern yesterday discussing, via email, the relationship between my two longest-time friends (BFFb and BFFg) and me. And this sort of fits into that narrative. Despite being so very close, we are actually quite different, and have always approached things, good and bad, very different.

BFFg is just incredibly sweet. 100% positive and nice and friendly and caring and everyone who ever meets her for five minutes loves her, because chances are that she loves them as well. She is always, always one to see the positive in people and events and to think about everything else she could do to help. A huge percentage of the people that we went to high school with would describe her as a friend.

BFFb is and has always been the emotional one, as if everything that happens to him is the result of and in relation to something for which he has been incredibly passionate. He is a fiercely loyal and defensive friend (I think I have covered that:-)) and always willing to commit himself 100% to anything, and anyone, that he things is worthwhile.

I guess I have always been the contrarian. When everyone around me is wallowing in misery and pity, I tend to be the voice of the positive. When everyone else overwhelmed with a sense of joy or accomplishment, I am most likely making note of the things we should be concerned about. If BFFb is kerosene to any emotional fire, then I am the wet towel...positive when things are bad and negative when they are good.

So, in times like this, when we seem to be temporarily overtaken by an irrationally positive hope (well, everyone except for equity investors, it seems), I tend to be the one throwing cold water on everyone. I can't help's in my nature. I don't think it takes a psychiatrist to figure out some reasons why, but I tend to skip over emotions and head straight to the facts.

With that in mind, I am going to make one more note about the election and then I am gonna shut up about it for a while. This has to do with the growing number of voices who are reading this election as a definitive statement by the voters, and a clear indication that we are not buying what the GOP is selling, and that the party has to move to the center or die. They cite Republican stances on immigration and abortion most often, but also on taxes and spending and regulation.

I'm sure, given everything I just told you, that you will not be shocked to hear that I disagree with that. And frankly, you don't have to go back too far in history to figure out why.

First of all, I am not talking about Todd Akin. Any party that intends to nominate more people like him is going to lose an awful lot of elections.

I am talking about Republicans who simply hold beliefs that you and I and/or MSNBC may disagree with, but that are not unreasonable or irrational beliefs. In a Democratic society, those people aren't supposed to simply shut up and admit defeat because they lost a Presidential race by 2% of the vote and 7 or 8 seats in Congress. That isn't how this is supposed to work...those people are supposed to re-examine the case they made, and if they still believe in it, to re-present the case again in future elections.

To tell you what I mean, let's jump into the way back machine and talk about same sex marriage...

Until two days ago, no group of voters in America had ever voted to legalize gay marriage. A bunch of courts ruled that it was legal, or should be legal, and some voters elected not to challenge that...but never had a group of voters been presented with the question "Do you think we should begin allowing same sex couples to get married?" and answered "Yes". As a ballot measure, gay marriage had zero wins and a couple of dozen losses...including some resounding losses in very liberal states.

So, after a whole bunch of losses, were the proponents of gay marriage supposed to close up shop, admit defeat and move on? No, of course not...they made new arguments and better arguments and kept delivering their message of civil rights and equality, and now have reached the point where there are a lot of states (with plenty of "values" voters) that will listen and give them a yes vote. THAT is how Democracy is a moving target, and an evolving debate. When you lose a vote, you don't necessarily quit, you think about what you need to do to win that vote.

Another example: in 2010, Democrats took a whipping in the mid-term elections that was much more one-sided than this one. They lost like 50 seats and the House majority, and lost 7 or 8 Senate seats and some Governorships. The major reason? Their incredibly expensive, brutally flawed and very unpopular Health Care plan. By Rachel Maddow's logic, that should have been a message to Democrats that they were wrong and should change course immediately (please don't be mad at me, Ray-Ray...I still love you:-) And it's cool that I call you Ray-Ray, right?)).

And no, I am not going to sit here and try to defend everything the Republican party stands for because, frankly, the current state of the party was the primary reason that I voted to re-elect a President that I don't think is a very good President. They are absolutely too beholden to the crazies within their own camp and need to reign them in or get rid of them.

But there are a lot of reasonable Republicans who hold very reasonably beliefs: that our budget problems are important, and that the problem is that we spend too much, not because we take in too little; and that we need to more effectively seal our borders for economic and security purposes; and that the rights of an unborn baby to live are more important than the rights of it's mother to end her pregnancy; and that the Earth is indeed warming, but the extent of that warming caused by driving SUV's is entirely unknowable; and that the Federal Government has no business being an investor in banking, automotive manufacturing and energy...well, you aren't supposed to just drop those beliefs. You are supposed to come back next time with better arguments and make a better case that people will listen to.

And this goes for the left, as well. Barack Obama retained almost all of the support that he had in 2008, a resounding approval of his time on the job. Does that mean that all of the people who support same-sex marriage, and support the closure of Guantanamo Bay, and support higher wealth taxes, and who support universal health care, and oppose Executive powers of surveillance and assassination, and reject the idea that there is "clean" coal, and oppose fracking...that all of those people should shut up and admit defeat? Of course not. They should keep making their arguments until either this President and Congress or the next one listens to them.

Losers in a Democracy are not supposed to shut up and take it. They are supposed to recognize the reasons for their loss, live with the consequences, and try again to explain to their fellow voters why they made the wrong choice.

Soapbox officially close for 2012.


Kari said...

I love your political posts!

Jessica said...

I agree, I love your political posts. I do not always agree with you but I appreciate the fact that you do not make either sides of the aisle out to be evil people. I full heartedly believe that the majority of people really want a better America, we just disagree with how to get there and what exactly the definition of what a better America is!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

So, I blogged about a similar sentiment yesterday, just from a more emotional standpoint (go figure). ha.

This morning, I heard an interview on NPR that very much supported your stance. The strategist (not sure of his name) said this loss does not mean the Republican party needs to reconsider its values, rather they need to repackage their message.

Also interesting and politically related, so I'm going to include it in this comment ... a friend of mine is from Germany and she is baffled by the social differences between the parties. She said ALL German political parties are socially MORE liberal than our Democratic party, so none of these "human" issues (gay marriage, immigration, etc.) is even on the table over there.

Accidentally Me said...

Nilsa - That is probably for the raging levels of racism! Compared to most of Europe, we are one constant, race-blind chorus of Koombaya...