Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I Voted

Yes, I voted yesterday, and I'm glad I did. I spoke my piece in national politics. OK, granted I actually voted earlier by mail, but my vote counted just the same.

Also, all of my candidates lost—my local representative, my senator, and my governor. I'm not really surprised by any of this, but I still couldn't bring myself to watch it play out on cable news. Last night while Husband watched the election coverage in one room, I watched Oklahoma in another, and I sang all the songs out loud because they make me so happy. Rod Steiger was a stinking, dirty, repulsive character, but he sang so beautifully in his duet with Gordon MacRae. "It's a shame that he won't keep, but it's summer, and we're running out of ice"—one of my favorite lines in the entire film.

I knew what was going on throughout the evening, despite my head-in-the-sand facade, and all I could do was sigh. I sighed, and then I took a look back in history and remembered that politics in America is a see saw. One cycle, you're up. The next you're down. But soon you'll be up again, and you just have to wait for the weight to shift. It always does. One hundred years ago, America voted just as they did last night, and they "cleaned house" by booting out the GOP and replacing them with Democrats, plus one Socialist. At the end of the night, the Democrats were in control of the 62nd Congress 230 to 162, plus the socialist. Two years later, Woodrow Wilson (D) was elected as president, and four years after that, he was elected for a second term.

Fifty years ago, we elected John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, followed by a Republican, followed by a Democrat, followed by a Republican, and so on. We elected George W. Bush as president for two terms, but in a mid-term election, we turned out the GOP leaders in Congress and replaced them with Democrats. And the next day, Bush had to stand humbly before a microphone and say, "We took a thumpin'."

Well, the Democrats "took a thumpin'" last night, but I find it hard to believe the election results are any form of true political statement. We have an angry Tea Party movement stirring the pot, but in years to come, it will be somebody else stomping their feet and winning elections and shifting the balance of the see saw. And when that happens, whoever was on top will be sent flying in the air, only to land hard on their ass in a dirty sandbox.

It's just the way it goes, and the newly elected leaders shouldn't get too comfortable. They're on top now, but it won't last long, even if their elections hold for years. Eventually, it will shift. I'm glad I voted, and I'll vote again, but honestly, I wonder how much it matters. I wonder if the revised Congress will accomplish a single thing of value that will actually benefit us as a whole. I have my doubts. At the moment, I have an idea the group is just going for a see-saw ride.


savannah said...

i voted, too. i came home and went to bed and slept until this morning and then the MITM gave me the highlights version. you're absolutely right, the house has 2 years, the tea party probably just has today and then it's business as usual. xoxo

dive said...

Yay you for voting, Robyn, and a sharp blow on the head of anyone who didn't bother.
The trouble with a system where only two major parties vie for power is that instead of voting for someone whose policies they can believe in, most people vote for one of the two main parties out of fear that the other one is going to get in.
The USA likes to export democracy by force, but how can anyone believe in a democracy so twisted as to ensure that one of only two right wing parties (the Democrats are right wing and the Republicans far-right on the European scale) achieves power? Little wonder they have so much trouble selling it abroad.
there are plenty of independent candidates representing just about any shade of the political spectrum. If only people would vote for what they actually believed in rather than get sucked in by the scaremongering of the two main parties the US might actually achieve a believable democracy.