Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Lesson in Reality

Two likely outcomes:
Next month's midterm elections will leave the president with fewer friends in Congress, and possibly a Republican majority in one or both chambers emboldened to thwart his plans.
Democrats will probably return for the new Congress in January more cautious.

I would like to think that the prediction is wrong. I want it to be wrong but I don't see anything that gives me reason to believe that the next Congress will be anything but hostile to progressive ideas. Especially so, in many cases. As for the congressional Democrats, I cannot imagine how they could be any more cautious but I am sure they will find a way.

This year's elections will likely end what has been the longest string of electoral victories of my life. I've not been disappointed by national election results since 2004. In 2008 I actually looked forward to the election just because it felt good to see a preferred presidential candidate not only win but win but also win big.

But none of this made a difference. American economic and social policy remains firmly based on mass consumption, corporate interest, economic polarization and militarism. "Change" has been minimal and superficial, if at all. Health care reform, the signature accomplishment of the 111th Congress and Obama Administration, serves the health care and insurance industries as much or more than the general public. The US government is still planning on fighting wars well into the next decade. Economic insecurity in America is reaching levels not seen since the Great Depression even as great personal and corporate fortunes accumulate ever more wealth.

So now I've learned that winning elections in America doesn't change policy. Democrat or Republican, we don't get much choice, just two sides of the same coin. Something more is needed. In the meantime, though, I'll cast my ballot this year. In a choice between "less bad" and "more bad" candidates, less bad is better.

My Thurston County ballot arrived in the mail Friday. We have some interesting races and decent candidates for state and local offices. That part of democracy still gives me some hope.



Post a Comment

<< Home