Thoughts on the Election

8 Nov

Well, I didn’t vote. Poor citizen, right? I wanted to vote in New Hampshire via absentee ballot but wasn’t able to register long-distance. I could have voted in the California election, but my vote for governor and the propositions wouldn’t have counted nearly as much as it would have in NH. That said, I was fairly apathetic towards the outcome of this election anyway.

On the one hand, the Democrats controlling the House (and probably the Senate — let’s hope there’s no messy recount in Virginia, though) is definitely good for the system of checks and balances. The neo-cons obviously need a counterweight, and I’m glad that the American people are beginning to see the flaws in their ideology. And hopefully these results will appease those who scream “OMG FASCISM!!1!1!1!!!” at the so-called Evil Republican Imperial Senate. Now they can’t blame the evil Republicans for everything.

On the other hand, I’m worried about political gridlock. The Democratic leadership is sharply anti-administration (this was basically the party’s platform for the election, wasn’t it?), and so I’m concerned that these two polarised forces will do nothing but squabble and fail to solve the real problems we’re facing. If the Dems force a hasty withdrawl from Iraq, the situation in the Middle East is going to become even more chaotic, fast. I would rather they focus on repealing and/or revising the Patriot Act. Based on their gains, the people seem to see what’s wrong with the administration’s motivations, which also means that a sequel of Iraq in Iran or anywhere else is terribly unlikely…fortunately.

Well, it’s not really the neo-cons’ motivations that are the problem, it’s the administration’s execution of them. Given the wealth and power of the Western world, there’s no reason that the rest of the world shouldn’t enjoy the same liberty and right of sovereignty that have made us so fortunate. But making this happen isn’t as simple as the neo-cons would like it to be. It’s the responsibility of the United Nations to work together for real change, but through the Iraq crisis the U.N. has proved itself to be a paralysed and often corrupt organisation.

I sincerely hope that the next president, be they Democrat or Republican, can help to enact this greatly needed change in the geopolitical realm, so that the world can actually do something about Iraq, Darfur, North Korea, Israel, etc… I’m sick of people painting Bush as some kind of heartless, evil mass-murderer, because it’s pretty clear that he’s not really that complex — his intentions are generally good, but he’s done a very poor job of maintaining them. Granted, there probably are some extreme right-wingers with influence in the administration who genuinely believe that American lives are more valuable than the lives of others…and these people need to be ousted immediately.

While I don’t think that he is an evil man who enjoys killing innocent Iraqis, Rumsfeld’s resignation today is a step in the right direction. This move, along with the election results, pleased me because they indicate a shift towards the centre of the spectrum and away from the fringes. Several extreme Republicans (see: Santorum) were replaced with moderate Democrats. Lieberman’s win also made me happy…because Independents rule. New England now contributes (all) 2 Independent senators to Congress, along with 6 Democrats and 4 Republicans (including my beloved Olympia Snowe, who won in Maine by a landslide, as usual). New Hampshire and Vermont did replace their Republican representatives, which probably reflects a loss of faith in the GOP among Independents. Can’t blame them.

Such is the swing of the penduluum.

How about some maps, now? I am bothered by the whole “Red State, Blue State” social concept partly because it defies all conventions – conservatives have traditionally been blue, and liberals have traditionally been red, as they are in Canada and elsewhere. It does give left-wingers another reason to hate right-wingers, though, since red is obviously an evil colour.

Current composition of the Senate:


Blue = 2 Democrats; Red = 2 Republicans; Purple = 1 Democrat + 1 Republican; Green = 1 Democrat + 1 Independent. Black lines indicate a contested race (although this map is slightly old because Montana has already been called for the Democratic candidate…I should’ve just made the map myself!)

Current composition of the House (from CNN):

And governorships:

(Light blue indicates Dem pick-up)

Frankly, I hope the whole “Red State, Blue State” dichotomy gets thrown out of the window in 2008. Although it’ll depend more on where the parties go than anything else.

I can only hope that we get a viable, centrist third party…maybe even the Libertarians if they become more moderate… but I’m probably just dreaming.

As for the results in California…not that I care all that much, Schwarzenegger won re-election. Fine by me. He’s not perfect, but he’s a moderate and it seems like the state is in better shape than it was before he was elected. The best part was his victory speech, when he said “I love doing sequels.” Legend. Besides, he provides invaluable material to Conan and other comedians. 🙂 The Governator!

Prop. 85: Lost. Ugh. This was a proposed law requiring minors to inform their parents before having an abortion. Granted, I didn’t know all the details of the bill, but I can’t believe it was defeated. I think the “No” camp put out a much more aggressive advertising campaign, though (in fact…I don’t recall any “Yes” ads), and besides…California’s just like that. It would definitely have passed in a so-called fellow blue state like Massachusetts. But to quote a certain Angelino on the JC:

A parent has to be notified if a kid recieves medicine at school, if an R film is shown at school, if a medical procedure has to be done, but they can’t be notified if their kid has an abortion? How silly is that? The anti 85 people are trying to make voters think that kids with abusive parents would be at risk if 85 passes. Of course, they completely ignore the fact that if a minor can prove to a court that their parents are abusive, the court/judge will allow for the minor to have an abortion.

Prop. 87: Lost. Would’ve raised taxes on oil from California to help fund research for alternative fuels. It’s obviously well-intentioned, but I’m still not sure whether I would have voted for it or not. Obviously I want alternative energy and cleaner air. The “Yes” ads claimed that it would help CA reduce its dependancy on foreign oil, though, which is clearly a bit of a stretch — if anything, it would greatly increase importation of (non-taxed) foreign oil, until a seriously viable alternative was presented — and who knows how long that could take. But that’s the worst part of the proposed bill — it required no results from the research commission, regardless of how much money they spent. Give me a break!

I think the main reason it was defeated is because it would’ve meant more expensive gas in a state where gas is already pretty expensive compared to the rest of the country. And Californians rely so heavily on automobiles (not that you can blame them…it’s really a necessity here). It could have potentially put a big dent in the state’s economy. Someone needs to figure out a way to save this state from its own smog without crippling the economy in the process. But, hey, the air here is significantly cleaner than it was 20-30 years ago.

I still don’t feel like taking the risk of staying here in the smog.

You know what? I hate politics.

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One Response to “Thoughts on the Election”

  1. db 8 November 2006 at 16:51 #

    I just wanted to get the first reply.

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