October is ticking away, and in a couple of weeks, it will be Election Day again. This will be an interesting one, and may be a harbinger of things to come. The Mid-Term election is often taken as a snapshot of how people view the efforts of the current administration. This was likely true some time ago, but, I am not entirely sure that this still holds true. For the past years, it has been quite typical that the control of the Congress has flipped parties from the one in power, to the one out of power. Alas this does not seem like the result of rational and objective evaluation, but rather, a more emotion driven response. Almost like a small child, who says he hates one parent because they are responsible for his life not being perfect, and glorifies the other parent…and then flips again after a bit. Another huge factor in this flip is the apathy of the voters. Too many voters in America are ONLY interested in the Presidential election…which leads to the turnout being low.
Too many citizens have the idea that their vote does not matter, so they do not bother to vote. Or, like one of my relatives (who is young, and as many of us did, is going through an anarchistic phase), they lump every politician into a bucket of being corporate pawns, who ignore everything but the size of the bribes—sorry—donations they get from lobbyists – and as such refuse to vote, or vote for a third party that might get 5% of the total vote, if they are lucky. Another cause of this worrisome apathy is the view of many voters that the mid-term elections are really just a waste of time. They simply do not seem to understand that, while the President is a power in the government, those Congressmen that get elected (or re-elected) in the mid-terms are, arguably, just as powerful, or perhaps more powerful, than the President. Congress is the branch of government where laws are created, or killed. The President can urge for a particular bill/law to be created and passed by Congress, but persuasion is his only tool. Now, I should say that along with the factors I mentioned, the focused efforts over the past decades by the Republic*nt party to control voting populations, and disenfranchise voters has been far too successful.
As a result of this apathy on the part of the voters, It is possible for a party that represents a minority of Americans to take power and control the entire country. There are a number of examples of how this apathy can allow a minority party to achieve its goal of total control. A very strong example of this is the 2016 election. I will not re-hash the many issues that affected the voters in that election, as there are huge amounts of analysis on the Net that give detailed explanations of what happened. While 61% of the registered voters did vote…that number is not quite as representative as one might think. As this study shows, a large majority of the voters who showed up at the poles were whites, and, this majority was rather larger than in previous years. The percentages for various other ethnic groups either dropped quite a bit, or, stayed at the typical low level. Had the various ethnic groups NOT been blocked out of the election, the results might have been very different. Why did we see this change? In short, I believe the tactics of fear and hate that #45 and the Republic*nt party used motivated many whites who had not voted either at all, or for a long time, to come out and cast a vote for #45. There were a number of old, white folks who had never voted in their lives that voted in that election…
Politics in America affects the rest of the world. I recall a comment by a Canadian quite some years about, where they said “we are like a mouse, living next to a sleeping elephant. The elephant may be friendly, but, we are still nervous every time it stirs” One way that the previous administration affected the world was to erode America’s leadership role. The rest of the world discovered very quickly that the level of trust they had in America was misplaced, and so countries, such as Germany, stepped back from working with America, and openly said that they were going to find their own way. I am not at all happy with the idea of America being the top of the pyramid…I would much rather see a community of equals. However, It would have been a far better path had it been a natural evolution that involved trust and communication between all parties. That, though, the other countries of the world realized was not going to happen. This could have been avoided if the millions of voters who did not vote Blue, had made the pragmatic decision to vote Sec. Clinton in as President.
Now, then, what is the path out of this mess we are in. My view is that the 2020 election was a great start. Not only did it put a person in the Oval Office who actually cared about the country and all citizens, but, an experienced person who could negotiate the swamp of politics, and, in general, avoid the dangers. The subsequent events of Jan 6th went a long way towards showing the entire country what could become of us without action. Our Democracy is still very fragile and not safe at all…but…we have a chance to heal it. This, though will take work, and here are a few things I believe must happen.
- Those of us, both democratic, and independent, must come out in November and vote Blue. Even if the candidate is not our first choice…it is more important to flip seats in Congress from Red to Blue, and maintain the seats the democrats hold than it is to find the perfect candidate. As a wise person said…”do not let perfection be the enemy of the good”. And this trend has got to be focused on every level of government, from Congress down to the mayor of your town.
- It is too late to do anything about unregistered voters for this election. However, we must work diligently to get registered voters to the polls. Help out when you can, with what you can, for as long as you can.
- In the coming months, help folks get over the roadblocks to registration and voting that the Republic*nts have built.
- The redistricting that went on in 2020 was blatantly partisan, and designed to allow politicians to choose their voters…not voters choose their representative. THrough legal challenges, we really need to get this changed. There are far better ways now to draw districts, using computers, that will eliminate gerrymandering. For America to have free and fair elections, changing to this method is, I believe, vital.
- Support Blue candidates whenever possible, however you can. Whether by monetary contributions, volunteer work, or a presence on Social Media – debunking lies and spin, every little bit helps.
Perhaps the most difficult part of this process will be developing the patience to see it through. America is like a super-tanker. It can change its path, but it takes a lot of time and a lot of ocean to do it. The process of getting America back onto a positive track is not going to be done in months…it will take years of continual work, and many, small victories. One strength of the Republic*nts is that they understand this process very well. If one looks into history, going back to Richard Nixon, we can find the roots of the fascist ideals that the Party clings to today. We cannot be distracted by petty, family squabbles, or such loyalty to OUR desired candidate that we refuse to vote for anyone else. Individually, we will continue to lose and Democracy will continue to be eroded away, leaving us living in a fascist theocracy…and that is not where I want my young relatives to live.
Oh yes, I mentioned Gerrymandering previously. Before I finish up, I wanted to show y’all this example! Here is a truly egregious example of creating a district where the politician chooses the voters…not vice-versa… There are quite a few similar districts around the country. My first question is “How can anyone think that a representative can truly be in touch with their constituents when the district is shaped like this?” I argue that they likely are not…and rarely show up throughout the district, until just before the election to put them back in their cushy job.
God Help Us All!
Be Safe! Wear your mask; wash your hands; social distance; get vaccinated and boosted.
Bee Man Dave