Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Crystal Persuasion

The folks over at Fox are beside themselves over the results in New Jersey and Virginia last night. They will be on the TV today talking about how this is a clear repudiation of the Obama agenda and how this bodes well for the GOP in 2010 and 2012. Of course they will forget to mention that the only election that might affect the Obama agenda went to the the Democrats.

NY-23 went to a Democratic candidate for the first time in over 150 years. The Republicans (Palin, Pawlenty, etc.) decided that their candidate wasn't conservative enough and decided to back the Conservative party candidate even though he didn't live in the district and didn't know anything about the district. The military base is one of the biggest employers in the district, but the Conservative party candidate didn't even know there was a military base there. The Republican leadership decided that there was no place in the party for a "moderate" Republican. They didn't care that their candidate was basically a carpet bagger. They only cared that he was a Tea Bagger.

The exit polls in New Jersey and Virginia show that a majority of those voters approve of the President. These races were decided by local issues. These are tough economic times and people do vote with their pocket books. We have a clear example of that from last November. In Virginia the Democrats have controlled the Governorship for the last eight years in which the state, along with the rest of the country, has swung from recession to boom times back to recession. The voters of the state decided that they wanted to try something else at the state level. They were not voting for or against the Obama agenda (I take that back. Of course some were voting against the Obama agenda, but they would do so in an election for dog catcher as well). The same is true of New Jersey.

The elections of 2010 will be a better barometer of what the country thinks of the President. Those elections will have a direct effect on his ability to push his agenda through. Health Care reform has to pass and the economy (read unemployment numbers) has to begin to show a real turnaround. If those things happen, the Democrats will do fairly well in next years elections. If they don't, then the Democratic majority in the House will be in jeopardy. The war in Afghanistan will have little effect because the Republicans are actually pushing for more troops, while the majority of the country has very little stomach for that.

As is the case in most elections, however, people vote with their pocketbooks. If the President can convince the majority of Americans that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and (to borrow a line from George Bush Sr.) to stay the course, the Democrats should be able to hold on to their margins in the House and Senate. If the Republicans can shape the debate to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of Democratic leadership then the Republicans may well find themselves back in control of Congress and with a much smaller minority in the Senate.

My biggest disappointment over the results of yesterdays elections was the fact that Maine made it 0-31 when same sex marriage initiatives face the voters. I have already written on this subject but each time it comes up it just makes my blood boil. Why do Republicans, who claim to be champions of individual liberty and less government intrusion in our lives, continue to revel in denying a basic human right to citizens of this country? Why would those who believe in "family values" deny people the right to start a family of their own? Why is it anybodies business if two consenting adults want to get married? And why have voters continually taken away a right that has been guaranteed by either the courts or state legislature? Why don't we just start repealing rights that we don't like? There's a justice of the peace in Louisiana who wouldn't mind repealing Loving v. Virgina. Perhaps the Civil Rights Act or Voting Rights Act should be repealed as well. I'm sure there are many that aren't particularly thrilled with the 24th amendment. Perhaps women shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a voting booth considering how fragile and emotional they are. This is all complete nonsense. I have no idea how a nation that prides itself on personal freedom can continue to treat a selected portion of it's citizens as if they are not worthy of the same rights and freedoms as everyone else. It's just plain shameful.

I have very conflicted feelings about Thomas Jefferson, but there is one thing cannot be disputed and that was his gift with words. I'll end this particular rant with one the most famous sentences in the English language. It was mainly the work of Jefferson (with some slight revisions from John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, to name two) and although the idea had been in print before, it had never been and probably has never been stated more eloquently and clearly. One of these days we'll live up to this, but unfortunately, it's not today. And I quote the good gentlemen from Virgina,
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

9 comments:

Vigilante said...

I self-identify myself as a Progressive rather than a Liberal, by which I mean I prioritize and triage on public issues and policies. I feel the gay marriage issue should be consigned to religious institutions. Civil unions is all I care about. I wouldn't object to same sex marriages, I vote for it every chance I get, but I'm not about to fight for it. Too many other mega issues out there, IMO!

Vigilante said...

That said (ventured), kudos for Bill Owens in the 23rd!

Jack Jodell said...

I think you've made a very sound analysis of last night's election here, Mycue23. But I think it is crucial for Democrats to once again start behaving like Democrats of earlier times and boldly push through their agenda NOW rather than wait until after next year's midterms. If they wimp-out all next year the way they have this year, their congressional majorities may shrink or even disappear after 2010. That would be a disaster for both the President and for the progressive agenda, and therefore for the country as well.

I agree, too, with Vigilante that matters like gay marriage and abortion should not be state matters and should be dealt with instead by the churches. Abortion (even thougfh I personally hate it) is an established legal right which should be left alone. Gays should not be discriminated against in any capacity. Live and let live, I say, and let the churches weigh in on both matters if they wish, but not legally or as instruments of the state.

Mycue23 said...

I'm not talking about marriage in churches. I trust religion about as far as I can throw it. Marriage is a state sanctioned institution. If the state doesn't want to be in the business of marriage, then they can certainly opt out, but until that day, it is a matter for the law and the legislature. There is on more imporatant issue than individuals being denied their rights.
I'm sure Civil Rights and Women's Suffrage were considered secondary issues to things like the economy and defense, but this country was supposedly founded on the right of the individual to live as they please.
Here is part of a quote from our President, "For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga. A belief that we are connected as one people...It's that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keeper, I am my sisters' keeper -- that makes this country work."
We all suffer, as a people, when the rights of a minority are denied. Sure, I want jobs for everyone and health care for everyone but if we can't ensure that each of our citizens is treated fairly, then the whole system is suspect. What is this country built on if not the thought that each of us has equal protection under the law?
Gay marriage may not be as all important as jobs (and I know considering the fact that I am currently unemployed) but the plight of the discriminated is as important to me as any other problem that we face. When we turn the other way or de-emphasize rights of an abused minority we diminish ourselves as a country. I want everyone to be free to love and marry whoever the hell they want because that is one of the basic tenants that this country was founded on. Freedom of choice is not a secondary issue. It is not something that should be left to the arbitrary and belief based as religion. Did we leave Civil Rights for religion to fix? If it were up to the Catholic church, abortion would be illegal. If were up to the Mormans gays would be banished from society. Religion can be a great guiding force for the moral compass in this country, but they are not the answer to any issues that are based in the laws of the land.
I've rambled on long enough, but being part of a minority I guess just makes me a little more sensitive to the rights of others being trampled. Especially in a country when our individual freedoms are supposedly guaranteed.

Vigilante said...

Well argued, McCue.

I chose my words, "religious institutions" carelessly. I meant to say "churches". Marriage should be a matter between couples and the churches they shop around to marry them. People that don't like same sex marriage should not marry a person of the same sex, (no 1) and (no 2) should attend churches who won't perform such ceremonies. As long as Civil Unions have the same force of law as do marriages, I can't get too exercised over same sex marriage. I can't even get focused on the issue, obviously, given this inadequate answer.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I'm very disappointed in my fellow New Englanders in Maine. I had always considered Maine one of the more enlightened sections of the Republic. I guess it just goes to show that there's still a shit-load of bigotry that still resides on the "inside" - a bigotry that only shows forth in the privacy of one's ballot box.

Mycue23 said...

Vig,
I think that Civil Unions smack of the "seperate but equal" thinking that marked segregation. If civil unions are indeed the same thing (and they are in Washington, since the voters just passed a measure that says as much), then why make any distinction? This clearly is a matter for the Supreme Court. As in Loving v. Virginia, the court must be the one to make such distinctions null and void. I've been married and it wasn't exactly the happiest time of my life, but I think that gay and lesbians deserve the right to be just as miserable as I was.

Vigilante said...

Here's the best arrow for your quiver, Mycue!

Louisiana Interracial Marriage-Refusing Judge Keith Bardwell Quits.

Or maybe it's the trump card in your hand. If you had played this card, I'd surrender immediately. This time will come for Gay couples, too. We just gotta take care of the greater good for the greater numbers, first. We have to ensure history Progresses. (It's not inevitable. History can regress.) If the Regressives and Retro-gressives can be definitively sunsetted, then all good things will come to pass!

ami said...

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.