November 2, 2010

Ugh, democracy hurts

I am reminded tonight of 2004, and the dark morning after Bush's reelection. That next day, I wrote this angry and sad post. I reread it tonight and remember that pain.

Tonight I am not in as much pain because I am not as surprised. I have expected this. I am saddened, however, as I don't understand the anger at expanding healthcare and rescuing the economy. I don't get that.

Hell, there is so much I don't get. Here in Oklahoma, we passed a law banning the use of Sharia law in our courts. Yeah, that is right. And no, it wasn't a problem before now. And it hasn't been a problem anywhere. No, this is just simply bigotry and racism written into our code. Thank your local Republican for that. Something clicked in the last few years and they have decided that open hatred of Muslims is a good and Christian thing to do. Plus, because it is simple to sell to ignorant and uninformed people, it makes for good politics. "Look, there might be a Muslim hiding behind that tree!"

Unfortunately, it isn't just Muslims, but also Mexicans. Also here in Oklahoma, our new Governor proudly proclaimed her support for the law in Arizona, and in one race, opponents of a Democrat placed Mexican flags next to his yard signs. "Vote for this guy and the Mexicans will bring in Muslims to kill you."

Meanwhile, of course, we refuse to fund anything meaningful and good. That same new Governor promises lower taxes. As God is my witness, I have no clue how taxes in Oklahoma could get lower. I know that support for education could get lower. I know that attention to the disabled and poor could get lower--though that seems hard to fathom.

In all seriousness, I really need a thoughtful Republican to explain to me how the modern GOP can't be described by the following slogan: "I have mine, you can fuck off!"

Even, might I add, if that "mine" came with the assistance of tax-payer money. Perhaps a rewrite could be "I have mine, but have no interest in helping any of you."

As always, I must say that my biggest disappointment remains with the religious right. I grew up among them and thought at least there was a shred of moral consistency. But they voted for David Vitter tonight (in huge numbers). Hiring prostitutes wasn't an impediment to reelection. Passing healthcare, however, was. I look at the conservative church and I see hatred for the poor, for the uninsured, and for the environment. I see fear and loathing for Muslims, and that might not even sum it up. I see people who are so convinced that God is on their side, that they see liberals as their enemies. Not people with whom they can disagree, but actual enemies. A member of our distant family stopped talking to me because I am a supporter of Obama.

As I said in 2004, I will survive this. I will focus more on music and my friends. I resent, however, how this political environment makes me feel as if concern for others is a liability, and that selfishness is a virtue. How does that happen among people who wave that Bible around like a prop? How do selfishness and mean-spiritedness and ignorance and racism and hatred become virtues in that world? How do concern and compassion become weakness?

There are two things I really battle this evening. One is to simply disconnect from politics completely and just say "fuck it," and let the environment and the poor and education go downhill. That is what the people want, they should have it. We shall see if that happens. I hope that this loss will shock the progressive community out of their passivity and get them to fight for what they value.

But the second one is harder. As with 2004, I find myself wanting to be less associated with Christianity. I find so much of it on the right to be so very unchristian and so unlike Christ. I really want nothing to do with it. I want nothing to do with the squabbles over parsed scripture, and the debates about the gays and the fear and the false righteousness and the fact that the religious conservative population has become more conservative than Christian. I still want to believe. But I struggle to believe in a God who's followers are so hateful.

But tomorrow, I will get up and go teach, and hug my wife and my dogs and see some friends. I will listen to music and hopefully find some time to pick up an instrument. And this weekend, my friends will gather to bemoan this election and hoist a drink or two.


Monk-in-Training said...

I know you are frustrated and sad today, however His Kingdom is not of this world. Elections come and go, Republicans and esp Sarah Palin did not do as well as historically would have been the case without the Tea Party.

The Senate should have been theirs, but the Tea Party candidates failed. The Republicans now will be forced to deal with reality, and never forget, Obama is crafty and has been planning for this.

But far more importantly there is a new fairly quiet wave of Faith changing the face of the Church.

Younger people are not joining the cynical Christianist Churches of their parents, but are finding amazing new ways to serve Christ and the poor. Social Justice is very popular with younger persons of Faith. Come to Tulsa some Thursday night and I will show you the action on the ground.

We are unnoticed by the bright lights before TV cameras, but in the darkness of the streets we are growing and spreading a Gospel of love and service.

steves said...

Michigan saw many Republican victories. The Governor, Sec. of State, and AG all went to the GOP. I have never voted straight party and have tried to make my picks based on a variety of issues and pick who I would think was going to do the best job. In the past, it usually comes out as a fairly even split or a slight majority going to the GOP.

Not this time. I voted mostly Democrat. The economy in this state is hurting. I would like to see some fiscal responsibility, but not at the expense of education and other needed services. Nationally, I can't stomach the 'repeal Obamacare' agenda of many people running and will not vote for anyone who has made that a primary part of their platform.

I am reminded of the mid term elections during Clinton's first term. Gingrich et al swept into power with their Contract and didn't do as much as they said they would do. If I had to make a prediction, I would say that the GOP won't be able to do as much damage as some of them want. I also think the few tea party people that won will either go in line with the rest of the GOP or be as ineffective and stubborn as Ron Paul.

It is too bad that religion takes such a major role in your state's politics. I don't see it as much here and didn't really see it at all in this election. I don't know if progressives fighting back is the best approach. I think part of the problem, which has been mentioned before on this blog, was that the Administration did such a lousy job of promoting their accomplishments. Hell, Obama even admitted there was a lot done that people don't know about.