2008.11.16 after the fact:

I had the best intentions, prior to the election to write a series of articles about some topics of importance to me, not the least of which was to be a follow-up to my McCain post about why I like Obama so much. Considering the internet's current position as my life's red-headed stepchild, those posts didn't get written. Ah well.

(Also, you may note, I have taken a page from Brian's recent posts, and reinstated the CAPITAL LETTER into my bipolar repertoire.)

So, in light of the fact that the election has already happened, and I now have the President-elect I actually wanted for a change… I thought I'd take a moment to discuss my opinions of the various election results.

(warning: as usual, "a moment" became more like "an hour", be forewarned)

1. President-elect Obama

Well, aside from the fact that this is absolutely hair-tinglingly fantastic, the election of Barack Obama has, in some measure, restored my faith in the people of this nation. Regardless of the historical significance of electing a black man to the nation's highest office (a great thing, to be sure), I saw this election as being about something above and beyond race, it was more about an acknowledgement that the last eight years' fiscal and social policies have, to a large extent, failed. It was about the people finally recognizing that we can only pull ourselves out of this mess, by pulling all of us out of it, together. The President-elect has been a consistent voice of hope and inspiration, a welcome change from past election cycles, where the public discourse, when not dominated by infantile personal attacks and questions of character, couldn't break away from a message of fear and disillusionment. Not so this time. The President-elect was able to maintain his clear message, and speak above the ignorant masses who desperately attempted to demean him by spreading blatant falsehoods.

But I digress… the election of Barack Obama would seem to be indicative of a major shift from the politics of isolationism and moral superiority to one of national unity and moral inclusionism. As I say, would seem to be…

2. Ballot Measures

As with previous elections, there were a few states voting on special ballot measures on topics including women's rights and marriage equality.

In light of the Presidential election results, it is somewhat surprising to see the across-the-board victory of morally repugnant anti-marriage laws. It seems almost unconscionable to me, that an individual or group, in this day and age, would deign to claim a right for themselves that they would deny to other people… Have we not learned from our past mistakes? Other, more eloquent people have spoken recently about the issue of gay marriage, and I fully intend to more deeply explore my reasoning for supporting it at a later time. So, at this point, I'll just say that I am incredibly disheartened that, in this time of unity, understanding, and inclusiveness, that we would do such harm.

It was somewhat enlightening to me, however, to see the results of some of the ballot measures intended to increase restrictions on abortions. Surprisingly, to me (since a significant portion of my family is firmly in the "pro-life" camp), these measures were soundly defeated. I wouldn't say I'm surprised thatthey were defeated, but at the depth of the defeat–there was a measure to amend the constitution in Colorado to define a "person" as "any human being from the moment of fertilization," which was defeated resoundingly at 73% against. That is a staggering defeat of what I see as the most critical point of contention between the pro-choice/pro-life groups. Again, I'm not going to get into my personal feelings about this debate here now.

Somewhat related however, and disheartening in its own way, was the passage of a measure prohibiting adoption by unmarried "sexual partners." While the ballot language apparently specified both same and opposite sex couples, at least CNN lists the measure as a "Ban on Gay Couples adopting children." The reason this irks me to the extent it does is not precisely because "unmarried couples" can't adopt, but because of those–religious and "pro-life" groups–who I'm sure were behind and rooting for this piece of legislation. It just strikes me as… I don't know… frankly mean as well as counter-productive. I mean, you have a group who says, "I'm sorry, but you can't get married because… well, because I say you can't… and because I say you can't get married, well, now you also can't have children. So… nyah, to you." I mean, really? Then, of course, you turn that coin over, and it's the pro-lifers who are saying "Abortion is bad because it's killing kids needlessly… there are alternatives like adoption to consider here! Oh… well, not for YOU people." Like saying there are all these loving families just waiting for children, lined up around the block, and you're now saying an entire segment of the population will not be allowed to bolster your argument just on principle. It's just stupid, and a big part of the reason why I can't align myself with religion as a social organism. But again, another post for another day.

Lastly, it was interesting to see, among the above mixture, some positive votes for, of all things, SCIENCE! In this age of Jenny McCarthyism, measures were passed to allow the use of medical marijuana, and to allow stem cell research (though that last one was apparently a state constitutional amendment, which seems bizarre to me…). So… yay science!

3. Senate and Super-Majority

The day after the election, I pretty simply thought that the populace of Alaska must be under some form of mind-control… to think that senator (and convicted felon) Ted Stevens was actually leading in votes was absolutely incredible to me. Thankfully, as the vote counting has continued, his opponent has taken the lead, and looks likely to be victorious.

I know very little about Al Franken's opponent (the incumbent Senator) in Minnesota, but I do like Al Franken.

With three Senate seats still up for grabs, it's not impossible that the Democrats could pull off a super-majority. I've had a few conversations with friends about the possibility, and basically I see it as a potentially good thing, though also potentially disastrous. For one thing, I think the legislative branch has been stymied for too long with partisan bickering just for the sake of being oppositional. Yes, the Rethuglicans and the Demobrats have genuine differences on some important points of policy, but I think the partisanship in the last 10 to 12 years has been disgustingly beyond the bounds of governmental propriety. The partisan divide has led to bills laden with pork, with incentives and honey pots to get fence-sitters to vote, and with poison pills to get others not to vote. Some good bills have been lost, and many bad ones have been passed, in the name of getting "something" accomplished, and in the interest of saving face. So, if a super-majority can lead to some cleaner un-encrusted legislation getting passed quickly, perhaps it's a good thing. Perhaps it will force legislators to work together to actually write good law, instead of just being obstinate.

That said, a super-majority could also be fraught with peril. The Democrats could run roughshod over the government, pass many questionable–even potentially dangerous and de-stabilizing–bills, and set themselves up as a national menace. They could, at the least, sully the good-will the party currently enjoys nationally, and set themselves up for big losses in the next election cycle.

Fortunately, I think congress will happily follow the lead of the President-elect, and that the President-elect will confidently and intelligently guide them to create good and appropriate legislation to achieve the goals he's set, and put our country back on the right path. So, though I think the manifestation of a super-majority unlikely, and while I recognize the potential pitfalls, I also think it might be a good thing.

The bottom line…

All this leads to the fact that the Democratic party, and liberals and progressives in general, are in the place they've been hoping, wishing, and praying for since Al Gore's loss in 2000. They finally have control, almost exclusively, to push through some far-reaching progressive legislation–to set this country right; to help this nation become a better, more inclusive union; to help stabilize, guide, and enlighten the world; and to set us on a clear path to the 22nd century.

Can they do it? Yes, they can.

But only with our help, and guidance.

- 01:47 am :: permalink :: 4 comments
categories ::  Happy/Love - Politics - Society

4 Responses to “after the fact:”

Paul said:

I went downtown today for the anti-Prop 8 rally. It was chilly and rainy and I'm recovering from a cold. Oh, well. Small price to pay for standing up for something you believe in. Seriously, my marriage would have been illegal in half the country forty-one years ago, so I definitely feel the need to speak out for my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

# November 16, 2008,

m@ said:

Yeah, saw the pics on FB. I don't really have a dog in the marriage equality fight… well, other than that of making this nation a better, stronger, more tolerant one. So, I sign petitions, write posts, and talk to pretty much anyone who'll listen. It's not a lot, but it's something.

# November 16, 2008,

sharon said:

i am appalled at the results of prop 8, and i hadn't heard about the adoption legislation up for grabs. what a CROCK. however, the passing of many questionable scientific methods, in my opinion, is a step in the right direction. with you and most of the world, i'm unbelievably excited and overjoyed that we now have barack obama in charge! who knows, maybe we'll see some significant changes in the next 4 years… hopefully some that will express how progressive we seem to think we are…

# November 17, 2008,

Javan said:

Al Gore WON, that's the funny part.

# November 19, 2008,