Sunday, November 11, 2012
Some election thoughts
My thoughts are all over the place, so here goes some semblance of order:
Gay marriage - Three states: Maine, Maryland, and Washington had voters approve of gay marriage, and Minnesota rejected a proposal to outlaw it. As others have pointed out, the right-wing talking point of "The people always vote against it" is now officially dead. They'll have to make it "The people always vote against it with four exceptions". Shoot, if they're totally honest, it will be: "The people always vote against it with four exceptions and probably even more, including California, if given the chance to vote on it again".
Even when Proposition 8 passed in California, it's been pretty clear where the wind is blowing on this issue. As more and more young people reach voting age, you'll see more of what you saw in this election. I have to wonder about people like Newt Gingrich, who called the issue of gay marriage a "temporary aberration that will dissipate". Do these people really believe that? Do they really think that it's going to swing the other way?
I'm really hoping that when my son gets old enough to understand these things, he will have the same reaction that I did when I learned about separate drinking fountains for black people during the Jim Crow days. I remember thinking that it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. I'm betting he'll have a hard time wrapping his head around it, and I envy him that he'll never have to go through the soul search that I did as I got older, when I actually had to be convinced that gays deserved the same rights as me.
Personally, I'd love to see a proposition to overturn Prop 8 in California. I'm confident that it would pass. Even though Prop 8 doesn't have a legal leg to stand on, it would be a great symbolic gesture.
Prop 30 - This was the one that I had the most invested in, as if it didn't pass, I'd be looking at 11 furlough days this year, 15 next year, and 15 the following year. Even if that didn't mean a serious blow to my personal bank account, I'd still be depressed if it didn't pass, as that's basically getting rid of an entire unit from my lesson plans. Schools have faced cut after cut after cut, and we need to put a stop to it. Unfortunately, the money has to come from somewhere, and that means taxes. One thing that I find interesting is that the counties that have the highest income earners (in other words, those who will be most affected by Prop 30) are the ones where it passed by a wider percentage.
When I went to bed on Tuesday, it wasn't passing, and I was pretty depressed about that. My wife woke me up some time later (not that I was really sleeping) to tell me that it was passing. I felt better, but I was in too much suspense about it to fall asleep. I was definitely happy when I saw that it passed by the time I got up, although I was exhausted and had to go to work. I think I went to bed at about 8:30 that night and slept harder than I had in a long time.
The complaints that I hear are from the usual sorts who have a knee-jerk reaction to any kind of tax increase. I could go into it, but I have the feeling that some folks wouldn't vote to increase taxes by a penny a year if it meant saving the lives of their own mothers.
Anyway, kudos to Jerry Brown. It was impressive how he used strategy to defeat Meg Whitman, who spent a bazillion and two dollars in the gubernatorial campaign, and it looks like he did something similar with Prop 30. I didn't hear or see a lot of ads until the eleventh hour. Perhaps that's risky, but it worked.
California's Democratic Super Majority - The Republican party can't block everything that the Democrats want to do in both houses. This is good and bad for the Dems, as there will be absolutely nobody to blame but themselves if things don't start turning around in this state.
Barry O'Bama - I voted my conscience, which is easy to do when you're left-leaning and you live in California, where the lesser of two evils will win even if you do vote for the Green Party. So, am I happy that Obama won again? Not so much, but I'm happy that the Republicans lost.
The thing is, there are so many legitimate things to criticize of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, but the rhetoric against him has been positively insane, with so many conservatives out there not even approaching reality in their criticism. The man's not a Marxist, nor is he a Muslim nor the anti-Christ nor an atheist nor a Skrull.
I can understand it when some conservatives criticize the way he's handled the economy or even some of his other policies. But the worst thing you can say about him is that he's not doing what needs to be done to fix the economy. Some of these people act as though we were doing just great until he stepped into office, and then everything took a steep decline. We were in this mess when he took the job, and the worst you can say about him is that he isn't helping, but you don't get to blame it all on him.
Not only that, but if you take some time to read some right-wing blogs out there, you have some people believing that Obama's intentions are to destroy this country. I read some comments from a particular nutjob who said that Obama's going to make sure that this is the last free election we have, and he's planning on completely dismantling the military so we can be defenseless.
Shoot, I really didn't like Bush, but I never thought that he was actively trying to ruin the country. I just thought that his choices were bad.
I also find it to be pretty funny, as so many conservatives were just so damned positive that Obama wasn't going to get a second term. I remember shortly after he was inaugurated, a former student of mine put a countdown clock on her Facebook page, with the timer running out when his first term was up. As the election drew nearer, there was even a pundit who said that Romney would win "in a landslide". Landslide? Who the heck won the last landslide in this country? Reagan, maybe?
Let's face it. Obama didn't win because the people were in love with him. Romney lost for the same reason that Kerry couldn't defeat Bush, who was also pretty unpopular when he ran for re-election. Romney was just completely uninspiring, and he even managed to out flip-flop Kerry.
Plus, he was trashed in the primaries as he tried to lean as far right as he could, only to have one right-wing nutjob after the other surpass him in popularity until the public heard them actually speak a bit too much. He eventually came out on top because all the others were too extreme, but by the time he came out, he was too far right for the majority of the country.
The funny thing is, a lot of conservatives are saying that the problem was he wasn't conservative enough. I have to wonder what would have happened if somebody like John Huntsman was the candidate. He could never make it through the primaries because he wasn't, you know, insane, but I think that he might have given Obama a real run for his money, as it would be much harder to smear him, and he would have won over a lot more independent voters.
Would I have voted for him? I'm not sure, but I knew right away that I'd never vote for Romney. With Huntsman, I think that I might have actually had something to consider.