Well, the midterm elections went pretty much as expected - unfortunately for us all. Republicans won a majority in the House of Representatives, which will most likely give us John Boehner as Speaker and nothing but partisan political witch hunts for the next two years.
Republicans gained in the Senate, too, though not enough for a majority. However, with their constant filibusters, they pretty well control the Senate already, so I can't take much comfort in that.
True, Christine O'Donnell was defeated in Delaware, but she still got 40% of the vote. Yes, Miss "I am not a witch" got 40% of the vote for the United States Senate! Incredible, isn't it? And Sharron Angle, another complete lunatic, lost in Nevada. But Harry Reid is certainly no great prize. We might have been better off if he'd lost.
Well, if you want to wallow in the details - or if you're just curious about a particular race - the TPM Election Center has the results from every state, at least for Congress, governorships, and various referendums. But it's rather depressing. I just can't understand it. How can we be so dumb? I wasn't any more astonished when George W. Bush won a second term in 2004, and that was really unbelievable.
We do seem to be gluttons for punishment, don't we? I'm frustrated at the Democrats, but how could we turn to the same people who got us into this mess - into all of these messes, in fact? We Americans have been on the wrong path for decades now, and it's gotten us into deep shit. So why keep going deeper?
But forget about the past - what about the future? We've got serious problems in this country. We've fallen behind in education, our infrastructure is crumbling (and worse, we're not replacing it with 21st Century technology), income inequality is getting worse and worse, the federal deficit is out of control (and in this, Democrats have been far, far more responsible than Republicans, despite the latter's rhetoric), and we still haven't done anything to wean ourselves from fossil fuels, something we should have tackled decades ago.
Here's Tom Toles:
I don't think I've ever read or heard a post-election analysis that captured what I was intending to convey with my vote, so I won't try to harangue you with any of that. I'll just return to my fears, with which I am amorously familiar. I'll mention three. You may find them familiar, too!
1. Climate change. It appears the chances of addressing this have been set back even further than they were, due to a staggeringly successful campaign of Machiavellian lies. The votes are in, but unfortunately the climate doesn't work by poll, or even election. What we are doing is I think the gravest folly of my lifetime, and possibly in all of human history.
2. Increasing wealth divergence. It really is different now. But the same kind of sleight-of-hand is occurring here as with the climate debate. If you don't see it, it can't hurt you. But it can, and will. (Again).
3. Shifting the country onto a productive track for this century. We seem to have lost the capacity to discuss the future sanely. And no, I DON'T think Democrats have all the answers here. It could be a subject for a productive meeting of the minds! Will it happen? No, I am afraid.
I'm afraid for my country. And, yes, I'm discouraged. As a people, we just aren't very smart. We're unhappy about the economy. Well, we should be. But we should be unhappy with the people who got us into this mess, not the people working to get us out of it. What, did we expect Barack Obama to just snap his fingers and magically fix everything? After all, it took us decades to get into this fix.
And yes, Democrats deserve their fair share of blame. But their biggest error was in timidly going along with Republicans as the latter lead us down the wrong path. Yes, all too many Democrats went along with politically-popular proposals from the GOP. We can, and should, blame them for that. But they don't deserve as much blame as the Republicans who led us there, Republicans who still haven't recognized their errors, Republicans who haven't changed their policies one iota since the Bush administration.
Again, I'm worried about the future, not the past. The past is done. The future still lies ahead, and we simply can't afford to stall any longer - or worse, go back to digging ourselves even deeper into the disasters of the Bush years. But now, it looks like stalling is the best we'll be able to do. I'm afraid.
Well, we just have to keep plugging away. Giving up is not an option. No matter how bad it gets, you're finally defeated only if you quit. If all this were easy, we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place.
Here in Nebraska, I'm used to being in the minority. It's not fun, but it's what it is. Frankly, losing isn't even as bad as seeing the apathy - the laziness - out there. In my county, only 43% of registered voters even bothered to go to the polls. And that's registered voters. How many of my fellow citizens haven't even registered?
Do we even deserve to live in a democracy? If it hadn't been bequeathed to us by previous generations, would we even bother? I strongly disagree with the majority of voters in my state, but at least they vote.
Well, I know that there are a lot of good people in America - intelligent, knowledgeable, and determined people who do vote, and who work in other ways to turn our country around. That's the great thing about the internet. No matter where you are, it's obvious that you're not alone. You know that you're part of a community of like-minded people. And if you give up, you let those people down.
No matter what, we must continue to encourage rationality and evidence-based thinking. We must continue opposing bigotry, superstition, fear-mongering, and ignorance. If you think about it, we haven't done all that badly. We're just one species of ape on a small planet revolving around a minor sun in the suburbs of a nondescript galaxy. We had no wise guidance from any supernatural zookeeper. Instead, we had to figure everything out for ourselves, by trial and error. And looking back, you can see that we've really come a long way already.
It hasn't been an easy journey, and it won't be easy going forward, either. But we wouldn't have made it this far if we gave up when things got tough.