It’s Wednesday, November 7, and I’m officially breathing a sigh of relief. I went to bed last night knowing gleefully that the only thing Mitt Romney is president of is the Wicked Losers Club. Yep. If you’re from Massachusetts, things almost couldn’t be any better. Elizabeth Warren is officially Senator Warren today. She made history, becoming the first female Senator from the state of Massachusetts. I like the sound of that. Scott Brown is officially a one-term senator. I like the sound of that too. Joseph Kennedy III (yes, those Kennedys) easily took retiring Barney Frank’s seat and promises to pick up where Frank left off. But it wasn’t just about Massachusetts. Great things happened all across the nation.
In Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin, who has served her constituents in Congress without fail for many years, became the first openly gay Senator in this country. Tommy “The Thing That Won’t Go Home” Thompson tried to make her sexuality an issue, but it did not matter in the end. The people of Wisconsin knew Baldwin stood with them. Tammy Baldwin was succeeded in the Congress by another openly gay member, Mark Pocan, marking the first time that has happened in the same district. More LGBT Americans than ever are openly running and many are winning. Here’s a little rundown of some of the winners and losers in yesterday’s race. In Maryland, same-sex marriage was upheld and in Maine, same-sex marriage won on the ballot. Tammy Duckworth put Tea Party moron Joe Walsh out to pasture, Claire McCaskill took care of Todd “legitimate rape” Akin, and Joe Donnelly made fast work of that other expert on rape and God’s personal mouthpiece, Richard Mourdock. In fact, the good news is that five members of the GOP who had some pretty extreme views on rape lost their races. There’s no place in government for these snotty-nosed twits.
And, wow, I almost forgot Sherrod Brown — who was a primary target of the GOP with more outside money poured into the campaign to unseat him than anybody. He was reelected. At the end of the day, all that dirty money got washed down the GOP drainpipe. But, oh, the sweetest of it all is that Mitt Romney carried one “swing” state — North Carolina. That was it. At the end of the night, Barack Obama had more than 300 electoral votes. Not only is he the first African-American president, but he’s now also the first African-American president to be reelected (both times with 50% of the popular vote). The only thing that would have made the night better is if the Democrats took back the House of Representatives. But, alas, the Goons on Parade (GOP) still own that. That is unfortunate.
It’s unfortunate because Mr. Chicken Face, also known as Mitch McConnell who, incidentally, once cited the GOP’s main goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term president, immediately made it clear that the GOP would not be changing their ways during Obama’s second term:
“The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control.
“Now it’s time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office.
“To the extent he wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we’ll be there to meet him half way.”
Here’s what I’m taking away from McConnell’s terse statement:
Of course, we also have the torment of working with John Boehner yet again, who vowed that he’d never let the people down. Right. Frankly, the GOP has done nothing worthwhile since taking back control of the House in 2010. All the GOP has done since then is waged a war on women and LGBT Americans, blocked every jobs bill (including the Veterans Jobs Bill), tried repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and worked to strip the good citizens of this country of every safety net they’ve earned through hard work and taxes. If anyone is more full of shit than John Boehner, I don’t know him. (Oh, wait, I forgot about Mitt Romney).
The Romney machine was true to form last night. While the Obama campaign made themselves accessible to the media all night long, the Romney camp remained holed up and didn’t answer media calls. The highlight of the evening was when Karl Rove had a melt down when FOX News called Ohio for Obama. It was a thing of beauty. Then, Romney refused to concede Ohio. Since nobody could really get in touch with the Romney camp, I had to use my imagination. All I could picture was a sniveling, pouty little millionaire stomping around in some hotel room. He probably couldn’t figure out how Ohio went to Obama since his son, Tagg, owned the voting machines. Give me a break. Like I said earlier, Ohio — another of those crucial swing states that Romney couldn’t manage to win — went to Obama by a margin of 50% to 48%. (See the final state-by-state results here.)
Then, we had the usual excuses from the conservatives. The most absurd was that Hurricane Sandy broke Romney’s momentum. Oh, puhleeze. Excuses like that show just how out of touch the GOP is with reality. Romney lost because he and his party are an insult to women nationwide. The issues of contraception and abortion were non-issues for years until the GOP made them 2012 election issues all over again. Instead of dealing with the many problems facing the American people, the GOP spends its time debating the definition of “rape.” Come on, children. Women are smarter than that. Romney lost because the GOP refuses to accept the changing demographic of this nation, and continues to marginalize African-Americans and Latinos. The GOP spent a considerable amount of time and money trying to suppress the minority vote. All you have to do is take a look at what went on in Florida with Governor Rick Scott. To put it plain and simple: The GOP got trounced on the minority vote, and deservedly so. According to Mike Huckabee, the GOP has done a poor job reaching out to people of color. I hate to rain on Mike’s parade, but it goes much deeper than that. For the GOP, it’s not simply a question of “reaching out.” It’s a question of changing their ass backwards positions on a number of critical issues. And Mr. Romney may have somehow gotten the endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans (hey, I never claimed that all of my gay brethren had brains), but I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of LGBT Americans voted for Barack Obama. This should be no shock given the GOP’s position on same-sex marriage (Romney doesn’t even favor civil unions), its desire to reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and their reluctance to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Finally, at the end of this election cycle, the American people simply turned aside the politics of the 1%.
Where do we go from here?
Anyone who reads Revolutionary Radar knows that I’m no Obamabot. I take issue with many things Barack Obama did and did not do in his first term. However, I do know is that the Democrats do not waste time and taxpayer dollars legislating morality and playing the politics of oppression. I also know that things would be a whole lot worse under Romney/Ryan. The GOP is not the answer.
- Protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Simply take it the hell off the table. None of those programs should be up for negotiation on any deficit reduction conversations. Those safety nets belong to the American people, paid for by hard work and taxes.
- Overturn Citizens United. This is crucial to protect the integrity of our election process. Corporations are not people. The people have spoken, and the billions of dollars that the Koch Brothers and their millionaire power brokers poured into the election was for naught. We must end this, if not by the midterm elections, then by the next presidential election.
- Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The time is now. DOMA has been declared unconstitutional in an unprecedented eight federal courts. It’s time for John Boehner and the GOP to stop wasting taxpayer dollars defending an unconstitutional, oppressive law that should never have been signed to begin with.
- Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a real no-brainer that has been bouncing around Washington for about 17 years now. All this law does is prevent employers from firing their employees simply for being gay. People should only lose their jobs if their performance is suspect.
- Pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The GOP sent themselves on vacation without addressing this legislation, probably because they got all caught up trying to figure out what “legitimate rape” is.
- Pass the Veterans Jobs Bill. You remember this one? The GOP had the hubris to filibuster this legislation, then they claim to care about our veterans who fight and die in America’s follies in the Middle East.
- It’s time to get serious about climate change. There’s no longer any denying that we’re in trouble on a global scale. Let’s kill the Keystone XL Pipeline and say a big, fat “No” to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It’s time to end our dependence on fossil fuels and move our energy policy toward renewable resources. If the big oil and coal companies do not want to move there with us, tough. It’s not about them. It’s not even about us at this point. It’s about our children and their children.
- We need to bring an end to drone warfare, secret “kill” lists and indefinite detention. And, while we’re at it, we need to stay the hell out of Iran. What’s the problem? I don’t see a war shortage anywhere. We’ve got plenty. It’s time to stand up to Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel. Enough is enough.
- Sooner rather than later, the wealthy have got to pay their fair share. That means a graduated income tax like we used to have. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy must be allowed to expire. There’s no reason that Warren Buffett and his secretary should be paying taxes at the same rate. Oh, and by the way, Mitt Romney paying 14% in taxes on $13 million in income? It’s outrageous.
- We need comprehensive immigration reform. Enough of these idiotic Tea Party bigots advocating putting up a wall and opening fire at the border (read: Joe the Plumber). It’s time to stop this call for violence and come up with a plan that is fair and just.
- Filibuster reform. I’m sure there was once a good reason for this legislative technique, but where the GOP is concerned it’s like giving a baby a handgun.
However, let’s make no mistake about this: Over the next four years, Barack Obama’s success in bringing about “change we can believe in” is as much up to the American people as it is to him. Government is ineffective today because we’ve abdicated power to the politicians. This is supposed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. They work for us. Legislators come home to the district, so pay them a visit and talk about your concerns. They need to see you and hear from you. In Colorado and Washington, marijuana was legalized because the people pushed for the legislation, not because some Senator woke up one day and decided to file the bill. Let’s face it. The majority of Americans go about their business and wait for their elected officials to simply “do the right thing.” Not going to happen, and that’s not the way the system was intended to work. We all have to take an active part in our government. We seem to have lost sight of that fact, or maybe we’re just too damned lazy.
Here’s another thing we can all do over the next four years. Should the GOP continue to obstruct and impede progress, there’s always the midterm elections. Vote the rest of them out and take back control of the House. That would be a real act of patriotism.
No sighs of relief are warranted. Only pangs of anxiety and exhalations of the surrounding stale air, which is laden with resignation about the SOS (same old shit). We have been saved and/or rescued from nothing, but rather re-anchored in stagnation and a colorless, beige, boring existence. Nothing has changed and nothing will change: we have simply done minor modifications to the arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic. We have the same administration, the same legislative branch and the same judicial branch that we had before. Or, as Jon Stewart put it, “After 2 years and $3 billion dollars, we are right back where we were four years ago”.
The government we have is now self-employed, self-sustaining, self-medicating,self governing and self monitored. It operates based upon its’ own gain and at the behest of corporations and the banking industry, and those are driven largely by the demands of a military force, which is a monetary and resource consumptive monster, which has a return on investment of zero, minus bloodshed, death and anguish.The military obsession is society’s ethical tuberculosis.
The government operates and thinks regressively, haltingly, conservatively to a fault and only works to its’ own advantage. As long as it is allowed to run unchecked and un-tethered, it will pay heed to no one and thwart the progressivism that society so desperately needs to advance and remain even vaguely humanitarian. On top of that we are racist, under-educated, biologically ignorant and morally hypocritical and perverse. And we have allowed what was onece intended as a “representative” government to represent only itself and its’ own best (financial) interests. it is negative energy.
Somewhat amazingly, we can maintain all of these grotesque behavioral facades and still go to church and be essentially bland and numb, unquestioning and mind-numbing. The nation is driven only by sameness and nostalgia, consumerism, and heterogeneous, low-energy, ideological fumbling.
This nation remains, after this faux election, mired in the ethos of status quo (even a FOX News commentator call us “shallow”) and longs for retrograde policies that will not only maintain that stale stance but drive it even further into the past, because it so fears the future (and mostly the decline of the power and supremacy of white, heterosexual, rapist males…and the heterosexual part only applies if you are not a football coach). This election has definitively re-cemented the status quo of complacency, same-old, same-old, and a public resignation to near-serfdom for anyone who does not sit on a board of directors or owns a bank or runs a hedge fund.
There is perhaps much truth in the old adage about the differences in the democracies in American and France: In France, the government fears the people (they still have guillotines, you know?), and in this country, the people fear the government.
But please, spare me the sighs of relief. relief from WHAT?
Well, have to tell you, Ivan, that I am breathing a sigh of relief. All of the things I dislike about Obama would be worse under Mitt Romney. And so many other things would be catastrophic: women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights, health care, you name it. You’re right. Things won’t change unless the American people force that change. Politicians don’t do it on their own.