I voted for the Green party candidate for Senate here in NJ yesterday. He got 2%, but it felt good anyway. Over the weekend I caught about 20 minutes of the debate between Lautenberg and Forrester and came to the conclusion that the former was just a crotchety old coot and the latter had no clue. Neither of them stood for any of the issues important to me, the environment, campaign finance reform, full civil rights, corporate accountability etc. So I voted for Ted Glick, who had no chance of winning but at least represented my own beliefs.
And I guess that’s the hardest part about what happened yesterday. I’m obviously out of step with mainstream when it comes to what the priorities are in this country. Call it hubris, but I think I’m right (correct) on these issues. I think most of the country must be asleep or under the influence. I just cannot fathom how people cannot see what is happening, or how the cannot care enough to try to change it.
We have a president who lies at his convenience. In a country where white men account for maybe 30% of the total population, white men make up over 90% of Congress. Poverty is on the rise. Crime is increasing. Over 15,000 Americans were murdered last year (not including those lost on 9/11). We’re running out of natural resources. Anyone with enough money and a pretty face can buy his way to a Senate or House seat. And on and on…
But who cares. Let’s make it easier to get guns. Let’s set up some oil rigs up there in Alaska…that’ll show those Arabs. Let’s keep the minimum wage at $5.50, and while we’re at it, let’s give the rich folk and corporations more tax cuts. Let’s send our young men and women into a war that has little to do with terrorism and everything to do with oil futures. Let’s throw even more money into an already corrupt political system. Let’s keep driving toward getting rid of a woman’s right to choose. And let’s thump our Bibles and do it all in the name of that old, bearded, white male God who’s obviously approving of all of this up heaven.
I’ll tell you this: Jesus would not have been elected yesterday. He’d wear his “Love thy Enemy” button and be heckled from the podium.
The good news is that according to my fuzzy math, I’m guessing only about a third of eligible voters in this country went to the polls yesterday. With all of those “close” races, that means that somewhere around 20% of those eligible to vote actually elected the winners in most races. Sad, but in some weird way helpful. There’s a lot of people out there not being heard.
Which leads us to the Democrats, who showed themselves to be the spineless, leaderless, visionless group of knuckleheads that we all hoped they wouldn’t be. My only hope is that this will be a wakeup call to someone in that party to start doing some podium pounding of his (or her) own and point us in some kind, any kind of alternative direction.
There are a lot of people and causes still worth fighting for. Like these people, who in the shadows of our president’s alma mater have to live in tents because they can’t find work. Or the 12 million children in this country who miss meals every day. Or the fact that if SUV’s got 3 miles per gallon more, we wouldn’t need Middle East oil at all. Or that Clean Election Laws in Arizona actually worked! It’s time to get busy.
It’s time because I look at my kids and realize I really don’t have a choice. I’ve been doing little things, buying electricity from a company that generates energy from renewable sources, bringing home my groceries in canvas bags, refilling my plastic coffee cup every morning, installing new shower heads and faucet filters, recycling, consuming less, eating closer to the earth, all in an attempt to minimize my footprint on the Earth. But I have to do more, get more politically active and fight for their future.
I read a recent poll that said two-thirds of Americans don’t think their kids lives will be better than their own. If we just sit back and watch this happen, there’s little doubt that will come true.