Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Save Us From Ourselves?

It is the morning after mid-term election day. Republicans have taken the Senate and racked up victories for governorships in many more states. Men like Scott Walker in Wisconsin won reelection after nearly being run out of office just two years ago. Rick Scott won in Florida in a very close race, albeit without a resounding majority. Money, via Citizens United, talked BIG. And our media echoed the money.
I don't listen to TV, so I haven't not heard the barrage of negatives ads. What I hear are comments about how tired Americans are of the endless and unrelenting diatribes. Sadly, these diatribes were highly effective. A fearful people will vote for perceived safety. I find great irony in the face that Americans get much of their news from Fox News, the New Yorker's Andy Borowitz and Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I suspect nine out of ten folks can no longer tell the difference between straight news and editorial content. Where is the next Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Morrow and for that matter, Woodward and Bernstein?
I believe that folks who live in these United States are bewildered and scared. Things aren't going well for most of us, and this makes us easy prey for fear mongers. People appear to know less and less about the world around them - many schools don't teach geography, civics or cursive these days - who writes 'themes' any more?  And without knowledge - and critical thinking skills - folks can be easily led astray.
And who does speak to and 'the people'? Bill Clinton comes the closest and he can't carry it all. Obama appears to stay above the fray, cool, cerebral. He's actually had some wins, the Affordable Care Act being his biggest. And few remember that he took measures to save the country from economic collapse when he first took office. I imagine he'd have made more headway without the unrelenting antagonism of Congress. Wasn't it Mitch McConnell, now the new majority leader of our Senate, who was quoted as saying that his primary purpose was to make Obama a one-term president and to say no to every item on his president's agenda? The Congress of NO has earned itself a 85% disapproval rate.
Do voters really think they created a 'better' situation after casting yesterday's ballots?
I am reminded of the Andy Borowitz election day quote, "I don't want to disappoint a lot of angry voters out there, but even if Republicans gain control of the Senate, the President will still be black."
People are mad and scared and much of their fear is a carryover from the Bush era. Bush left a lot of big messes for Obama. But memory is short and attention span is even shorter.
Yesterday, a friend from The Woodlands (yes, that Woodlands, where Democrats stay hidden in their closets) called to ask if I'd be taking up crochet again. She remembers that I began to crochet compulsively when George W. Bush won reelection. I told her I am not sure what compulsive activity I'll engage in this time. My blogger friend Cynthia Samuels has already posted her lament. She writes that she'll leave MSNBC for awhile and turn to Netflix.
I do know that it will be easy for me to turn my attention from the public sphere. Hell, even the Gus Wortham Golf Course will probably remain a dilapidated public course instead of being transformed into a world class botanic garden. Seems that every local elected official in Houston took time from their busy election day schedules to appear before Houston City Council yesterday afternoon to tout the status quo. Golf will reign. They all turned a blind eye to the economic prosperity that a premier botanic garden would bring to Houston's East End. What are they thinking? NOT
So, yesterday, was for me, under a very dark star. There will be ever more constant rumblings in the back of my mind about the world my grandchildren are inheriting. I wonder if perhaps an outcome of this election cycle is that I become more spiritual. I could relearn to pray, asking God to save us from ourselves.

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