rise of the red tide

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:08 pm by Administrator

seeing the way that i have reacted to the forum of national politics over the years makes me wonder one thing this morning: how is it that there are americans who unfailingly vote along party lines, decade after decade? what is it about a political party that can inspire its adherents to move with it, change with it, donate to it, and vote for its candidates, predictably and without variation? it’s an aspect of american life that fascinates me. and it’s something that confounds me this morning, as i measure my own reactions to the GOP’s incredible wins at the midterm election.

and my reactions this morning are two-fold. first, i’m happy that the midterm elections signal change—a movement away from what obama’s administration has stood for. but then there is a second and perhaps more deeply felt reaction. it’s too bad. it’s too bad that it worked out this way. it’s too bad that the united states has handed back the Congress to a failed political party that continues to stand for nothing.

when i voted for obama in 2008, i was not participating in a referendum on George W. Bush and his failed presidency. i had a faith in barack obama, in the man and in his principles. i think it was perhaps the first time in my memory that my friends, my family, and i were voting with such heartfelt passion for a person we believed in.

when i think back to that now, i realize two things. the GOP lost so badly in 2008 because Bush’s administration exposed the failure of conservative ideals. the Democrats lost so badly yesterday not because of a failure of their ideals but rather because of a failure of leadership. in most every way, obama’s administration failed to adhere closely enough to its vision for the country. in health reform, they cut a deal with big pharma and took the public option off the table, leaving americans with a healthcare system that hurts a lot of people and clearly benefits only one cohort: americans with chronic conditions who cannot qualify for Medicaid. in the industry bail-outs, the administration lost a public relations battle for the hearts of homeowners and down-and-out americans—the very people the Democrats are supposed to represent. in his ongoing drone attack campaign and his proposed war against Syria, obama skirted the lines of the pacifist stance that he rode into the White House. and on immigration reform and gay rights, two of the hottest ideological issues of our day, obama simply hedged and refused to take a stand, when the stance of the Democratic party should have been obvious.

the fact is that the ideals of the Democratic party could have prevailed; they just required the slow and steady hand of a political operator who had the relationships and skills to properly advance their agendas. for all of his strengths and gifts, obama proved that he lacked these qualities. and now he has the colossal failure of his political party and a plethora of derailed careers to show for his failures.

i am aggrieved by obama’s presidency—enough to understand why the GOP had to win back the Congress. but i hope, amidst the disturbing changes that are happening, that the GOP will not be the party it was. i hope in a GOP that is less ideological on the ethical matters and more practical in its approach to leadership. the country needs to heal, to grow, and to see transparency and optimism in their political leaders. whatever party has the numbers, i hope that yesterday’s elections will give us pause, and a chance to reflect on what the anger of the american public really means

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