There are a lot of people upset about last night’s elections. I could be, I might be, every now and then, and initially I was. But that was before and this is now, when I have had some time to think and when logic, strategy, and what ifs have played out in my head instead of just going off of my emotions (it’s an affliction to those of us who are political, we get all fired up).
Republicans have taken control of Congress, oh God, oh God, oh God! Has anyone else’s Facebook feeds echoed this panicky sentiment. I admit it was my kneejerk reaction on the evening of November 4, because I couldn’t imagine anything so terrible. But now I have thought about it, and I am kind of smiling. I don’t think there is going to be any difference in terms of policy, and there won’t be any more congressional gridlock as before, but I do expect the gridlock to remain. But there is a shift now, and for once the extremists within the Republican Party have backed themselves into a corner.
The last term has been nothing but tantrums, terrible tactics at the expense of our country and its citizens (government shutdown anyone?) and a lot of bitching and moaning. But now, with a GOP controlled congress Republicans are going to have to stop pointing their fingers and actually lead. And the party, for what it stands for, could do that, but the party they have become… not a chance. It’s like a train wreck in the making, but instead of turning away, for once I am going to enjoy the show.
To be fair, I am not some party-promoting hardcore liberal extremist who sees everything in life as two colors: blue and red. I don’t just vote for candidates who belong to my party, I do a lot of research. I look at a candidate’s current agenda, as well as issues they have pushed before. I look at what they are doing in Washington now, and their past voting history if applicable. And that being said, I did vote for one Republican because I felt he was the better candidate (though it wasn’t for a federal office – still, go me). I wish more people did this because I feel like too many are busy fighting for their party that they forget to revaluate facts and what candidates in their party are actually doing.
Do I think that if more people were informed, Tuesday’s outcome would have gone differently? Perhaps, but that is only because it was a close race. Personally, I felt the GOP taking the Senate majority was a sure thing, but that is only because of this country’s patterns. We [the voting collective] vote one way in terms of the President and Congress majorities and after eight to twelve years have such a bad taste in our mouths we go the exact opposite direction. (George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barrack Obama – I am not making this shit up.) But this is as misguided as not being informed and we constantly go back and forth like we’re in a ping pong match or something.
For me, I think both parties are guilty of the same things. Both parties are extreme and refuse to compromise and both parties have lost sight of so many things, but most obvious, the big picture. So then it comes to individual platforms and politics. This is why I am still a Democrat: there are too many Republican assholes running their mouths, making me question humanity as a whole. Maybe I am just a bleeding heart, but it makes me sick how so many Republicans regard matters such as rape, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, equal pay for women, healthcare and education. But this isn’t about bashing one party or another, so if you’re interested the sad, and extreme political stands or statements the candidates who were elected on Tuesday have made/said, trust in the power of Google.
It is like Republicans adopted this perceived moral high ground, that is far from moral and an even further reach from what the party is supposed to be about (more on that in a second). I can’t get behind a candidate that has a hateful agenda. I don’t care about the economic policies and how wonderful they are (although since I’m not rich, Republican tax breaks don’t really help me out at all) because there is a hierarchy of what matters to me the most and what matters less. Equal rights are a fundamental necessity to have a decent quality of life. There (BAM!) is number one. And reproductive rights, LGBT rights, equal pay for women etc. all fall under this category for me. Next comes healthcare and education. The insurance industry is a lucrative business, and it is sad. People who have survived difficult medical ordeals were once uninsurable. I could be rich and still not be able to buy insurance at any cost – that is how our country’s healthcare system was set up just a few years ago. So, as someone who has been there, this hits home for me. And then there is education. I feel like education for those who seek it out, can open so many doors and experiences – I just see it as incredibly important.
For me, most politicians regardless of political affiliations are not people I look up to. They’re so busy focused on themselves they have already left behind everyone they are supposed to be representing (both parties). So for me it’s really about three categories: the tolerable, the assholes, and the fucking scary. When politicians blast single mothers and assume anyone who is on a government program is a mooch, and we should close all our borders to everyone – these are the assholes. When people talk about a woman’s body being able to stop a pregnancy, only in the cases of “legitimate rape” or fight to deny marriage equality to a population and try to impose institutionalized hate for the “greater good” these are the fucking scary. Because if they had actual power, our country would become a very scary place.
Right now, with a democratic president, we still have our checks and balances in place, but what happens with the next election? Imagine these fucking scary candidates in control of everything. Now you see why I call this group of politicians by this name?
My husband and I are very different, and more than just because of our political affiliations. When it comes to candidates we cancel each other out, but when it comes to amendments and actual policies we’re on the same page. So if we agree about all the laws that should or should not be in place, why do we disagree when it comes to those who should be making those laws? Short answer, he’s stupid. Okay not really, the real short answer is he clings to an idealism that the Republican party once represented: limited government involvement when it comes to individual people, small businesses, etc. and lower taxes and better border control (okay I guess border control is the one area of the law that we actually do disagree – we were all fucking immigrants at one point in time).
I asked him to tell me why he was a Republican, because unlike me (I’m really a free agent who refers to myself as a Democrat to have a say in the primaries) he really is a bleeping Republican (I am sleeping with the enemy). And those are the things he brought up with an emphasis on limited government.
“That might be their sales pitch and what they used to stand for, but they don’t anymore.”
Roy was about to argue, but I went on. “Banning abortion, gay marriage, reproductive rights, legal discrimination – these have been the hot issues on a lot of dockets – and they have all been Republicans. No one else from another political party [the Tea Party took over the Republican party so they don’t count] actually fight to get involved in people’s personal lives and deny them things that have no business on a ballot in the first place. And that is the Republican Party today, and has been for the last twenty years, at least.”
Roy had nothing to say about this, because he couldn’t. I was right, and he admitted as much, at least as far as the examples I used went. So my husband is clinging to the idea of a party that was, not the party that it is now. We don’t tell each other who we voted for. This is because I feel he has the right to vote for whomever he wants; even it is in conflict with things he feels very deeply about. That is his (confusing to me, and in my opinion misguided) prerogative. But this is America and he has it. I certainly would never try to sway him. But if he tells me he cast the vote I know he did, it will upset me because he voted for those who are “fucking scary,” so this is the one time that I adopt the “ignorance is bliss” mantra. (And it is the only time!)
For me, I can’t vote for anyone who is in the category of “fucking crazy” because I would be depending on too many variables. I don’t believe that most of America believes that there are such things as legitimate rapes or that contraception should not be available to women, or that women faced with potentially fatal circumstances regarding their pregnancies should not be able to terminate to save themselves (don’t get me started on rape victims). But it doesn’t matter how the majority of Americans feel on an issue, if the people they elect to represent them have different intentions. Because the people we elect represent us. They make the laws, and until their term is up, they control our government, and therefore our lives to some extent. Once they’re elected… it’s anybody’s game.
My husband says he votes on faith. He believes that some technicality or public outcry would stop the scaries from being able to be scary. I vote on facts, what people say and do and have done. Because what is America going to do when that group of politicians take over, because we, the American public, elected them, and the checks and balances are no longer effective? See? Fucking scary.