Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What color optimism?

We won. By we I mean the country of course. Having an election that produces a definitive, relatively uncontroversial result is always to be preferred over a 2000 or a, dare-I-say-it, an 1860. Obama sewed up the electoral vote with surprising speed and eventually prevailed in the popular vote. The Senate went back to Democratic control and some really despicable theocrats (Akin, Mourdock, Walsh) got the swift ticket to obscurity they so richly deserve. The House is still in Republican hands but that wasn't much of a surprise.

I found two things particularly heartening after this election. One, the trends are in favor of progressivism. More of the Obama electorate was young, single female, hispanic and/or African American than 2008. Not only was Obama able to resurrect his winning coalition he was able to expand it. That can only be a good thing. Despite Bill O'Reilly's paranoid rant last night, America doesn't suffer when more people get involved, it suffers when no one is involved. When people don't feel the system offers them anything, they find others means of redress.

The second thing is last night represents a victory for objective reality. Numbers matter. One particularly telling moment occurred on FOX after the decision table had called Ohio and the election for Obama. Karl Rove, paid by the network for his opinions on matters political, began to second guess the call. In a moment of truly thrilling television, the on-hair host went over to the decision table and had them explain to Rove how to count. This for me was the "ding dong the witch is dead" moment I've been waiting for. The same fuzzy math, "greeted as liberators," "just a few dead-enders" relationship Rove and the Bush II administration always had with the truth was shown for what it is: a tissue of delusion. Rove will have the next four years to explain to the plutocrats of this country what exactly they bought with their $130 million; I got my answer.

So is all roses? No. I try my best to avoid Dr. Pangloss' error. We do not live in the most perfect of all worlds. We've avoided dark beards, but I think there's a lot to be worried about. Boehner just made some positive noises about compromise and the obvious need for additional revenue but he is the Speaker for a lot of very scary people. What is the point of having an election if the other side refuses to admit they lost? I hope Obama doesn't have to wade through his next term acting like it's Nov. 5th every day.
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