Election 2006: Blue is the New Black
M. Stratton and Beth Quitslund,
Liz Miller (background)
Such a simple and cheesy gesture sums up the initial 2006 Election results for moderates, centrists, Democrats, and liberal educators (among others). But rather than shout out, “Democratic mandate” (whatever such a thing would mean), I’m cutting relief with gravity and determination. In my opinion, many Americans have been betrayed by the special interests of incumbent politicians. Moreso even than rural socially conservative Republicans, yellow dog Democrats and liberals of all stripes have been sold down the political river, fronted by cowards too afraid to stand for the civil liberties of all people under the keep of the United States of America. The undermining of the writ of habeas corpus, the practical repeal of the First Amendment in the service of copyright protections, and the flouting of the Fourth Amendment with widespread, arbitrary, and unmonitored surveillance of all Americans are follicles in the filthy hide of corrupt American politics. For the last five years, the beast of American bi-partisan politics has transformed seemingly principled liberal humanitarians into sniveling, self-interested Republican toadies: too afraid to expire Patriot Act 1 (and adding to the damage with Patriot Act 2), too addicted to plug pork barreling, and too short-sighted to give voice to a true humanitarian politic. I understand pragmatics and practicality, but justice and dignity-loving liberals have been cuckolded. The coats we are wearing aren’t just singed; they are burning.
Yes, the general shape of the 2006 Election is more about our horror that our brothers and sisters (American and otherwise) are dying in a pointless war that should never have been started than it is about some move toward a progressive liberalism that supports people who love as God guides them to love. The piecemeal elevation of the slave wage is not about dignity or security for all who labor as much as it is a constructive, if only partially adequate, expression of political rage over the tallying of record corporate profits while the working poor still cannot obtain either sufficient or affordable health care, let alone retirement security.
Image of Election 2006 outcome on Ohio State Issues (Original source, Columbus Dispatch)
As Virginia inexorably and clumsily embraces its ill-at-ease Democratic senator (who ran against an openly, if apologetic, racist), Americans may be able to reassess the importance of greater freedom in an age of fear, why helping all our brothers and sisters have a chance at shared happiness will increase our own, and why doing more increases life satisfaction better than having more.
Liberal educators UNITE!
left to right: Beth Quitslund, M. Stratton,
Nicole Reynolds, and Johnnie Wilcox.
Liz was tireless as a canvasser, working the long election weekend through Tuesday in Columbus, Logan, and Athens, Ohio. Following Liz’s lead, I learned the satisfaction of reaching out to voters and interacting with even the resistant. Every quickly closed door meant at least five who listened with some interest, and I had nothing to sell except the power of enfranchisement.
The first canvassing assignment Liz, Matthew, and I received was poorly organized, the walking map unmarked and incomplete, and the database printout had been merely alphabetized instead of ordered by geographical contiguity. At the end of canvassing on the first day, I pulled the files for two precincts and marked up the walking maps, cross-referencing the street names against an alphabetical list. The portions of each precinct not represented on the walking maps, I researched using Google Maps. My data obsession and computer nerdiness paid dividends in bottom-up political action. I can’t thank Liz enough for giving me a chance to do something positive with pipsqueak (my 12" iBook).
Spending time with Liz and Matthew on the way to and in Columbus, Ohio, helped break some of the ice around my heart. Their political dedication and emotional generosity are what drive liberal humanitarian political action; they are the moist nuggets of human feeling.