Election Aftermath: Won't Get Fooled Again?
The results from last Tuesday's election were a long time coming. I'm still pinching myself to make sure this just wasn't a dream. While I abandoned the Democratic Party a while back, signing on with the Greens on a whim, I am indeed heartened that Middle America finally woke up to the propaganda and stagnation that has gripped Washington DC under the Bush Administration.
Reflecting upon what Democratic control of both the House and Senate might mean, I realized that I've spent about half of my life with many of many values and beliefs out-of-sync with the politicians in our nation's capitol. After all, I moved from Wisconsin to California upon the election of Ronald Reagan. Even though Bill Clinton captured the White House for two-terms, the last 26 years have been dominated by conservatives framing the debate and issues.
While the election results do not change the fact that "liberal" is still a bit of a dirty word in today's political environment, the results show that moderates finally had enough of the false promises, arrogance, and self-righteousness of many leaders in the GOP. Given the smashing election victory of Gov. Schwarzenegger in California, the message the voters seem to be sending is that they prefer a divided government as a way of preserving a sense of "checks and balances."
The fact that "San Francisco values" may now shape the nation's agenda certainly doesn't scare me. We here on the Left Coast have been vindicated by the election results. Freedom can take many forms. But we here in California, and progressives through the nation, now have to prove that we can do more than slogans and criticize. We have to make something happen, and quick.
Gridlock in Iraq, on global climate change, on our energy policy, and on our economy, is just unacceptable in the face of these immense challenges to the body politic. The simultaneous trends of globalization and re-localization of the economy will provide a fascinating dynamic whose outcome is far from certain.
But even with all of these new worries, this election was a dramatic sign that despite all of the shenanigans that marred the last two presidential elections, the will of the people cannot forever be stifled. People finally saw through the bankruptcy of the Bush Administration's policy in Iraq and the ridiculous corruption that has engulfed the GOP, the party that got into office claiming the high moral ground. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, indeed.
Along with Iraq, I think one of the most interesting debates over the next two years will be over how to respond to global climate change. The US has been an ostrich, with our heads in the sand. Can we develop a new energy strategy that steers clear of potential boondoggles such as adding to our nuclear power capacity or investing billions in Liquified Natural Gas, and then becoming even more dependent upon foreign fuel sources?
Bush has done a few good things for solar and wind, but has been far more generous to traditional dinosaur technologies that centralize our energy economy instead of democratizing our energy system through nimble, distributed and smarter power sources.
So much to do, now that the election is over. But, on this beautiful day out here in Stinson Beach, I'm still reveling in the moment, feeling more optimistic about this country and its citizens than I have in a long, long time! Hope springs eternal, even as the days grow shorter and the winter nights chill.