Hi everyone - Eric here.
So it's November 5th. We've all had to endure the drudgefest of election season yet again, and here we are, with an outcome not all that unpredictable by historical standards. While I don't identify as a Democrat, I generally align myself with views of the Democratic party, truly only because I feel they are the only major party that seems to understand why empathy, compassion, and equality are important to social progress. Somewhat surprisingly, I don't really feel strongly about the results of the Congressional elections.
When politicians are beholden to those who pay their way to job security (corporate lobbying), of course they aren't going to represent your interests. Would you do something against the interest of your boss? Probably not, and your boss would probably stop paying you. In this way, nearly all politicians, Democrat or Republican, are corrupt. So honestly, I could care less who runs the House or the Senate. We've all voted for people who don't walk the talk, because none of them do. They're all bought and paid for.
So, in the wake of a very normal, predictable, historically-definitely-precedented election, here are some thoughts that are running through my brain.
To the Republicans: It's time to put your money where your mouth is. Or rather, it's time to put your Super PACs money where your mouth was. Not to say you have a mandate; there's always the veto pen, so don't get too excited. To paraphrase Jon Stewart, do you go full Sam Brownback and ruin Kansas (e.g. bankrupt the nation)? I want to see if you are committed to your positions, even though the economy is better than it's been in years, and that seems to be the only issue you care about. For the last eight years, you've done little but obstruct. Time to act on your words, as crazy as I think they might be.
To the Democrats: Don't be so dour. You saw this coming, and you are cowardly for abandoning the president when he has actually been very successful in a number of metrics (not a personal endorsement). Look at the results from the actual issues of the election. Most of the actual issues that are aligned with progressives generally passed. Whether that was higher minimum wage, marijuana decriminalization, or personhood amendments, it wasn't a bad night for the things many of you stand for. Kind of strange that voters want a higher minimum wage, legal pot, and no personhood definitions, yet Republicans win the Senate. To me, that points to the out-of-control Congressional redistricting, which has roots in race and class, but that's a whole other can of corn.
To the nonvoters out there: Vote. Do it. Even if it feels useless. Politicians count on people like you to not vote. We have some of the worst voter turnout in the world, especially among developed nations. Even if the people running don't represent your views, at least vote on the issues. It's a way to feel a sense of responsible patriotism, and you get a sticker to show off to everyone. If you continue to not vote, have fun with your pity party and unwillingness to participate in your own democracy. Your choice.
To my fellow voters, regardless of affiliation: Make corporate campaign contributions a central issue in the next election. Demand it. This issue bleeds in to every national conversation that we have, and clouds decision making on every level. We must fix the way our politicians are elected. I wholeheartedly believe it is the most important issue of our time. Climate change? Women's rights? Gun violence? Banking regulation? Food system? Energy? Police militarization? Foreign policy? All of these things and countless more nation-wide issues are corrupted by the influence of money in politics. We must be united on this front as Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and anyone else.