Friday, November 30, 2012

Put Down Your Champagne and Revolvers

Look you guys, about three weeks ago, some serious shit happened and now I'm seeing Republicans declaring that America is dead and Democrats kicking back like the grasshopper before winter coming and the worst part is that there's a part of my mind that wants to be the tiniest bit shocked everyone's acting like children about all this but I can't because I possess both a memory and the ability to look a the mythical realm that exists beyond the end of my own nose.

I like Barack Obama. He is a likeable guy, and if you say differently then you could get Slider-ed through a dozen different realities where he runs for President of the United States, and you will be equally shocked each time he gets elected.

I like that Maine, Washington, and Maryland voted to legalize gay marriage. It's great that Minnesota voted down a same-sex marriage ban. I think it's a fine thing that Maryland passed the legalization of medical marijuana. I support Montana working to responsibly legislate medical marijuana in their state. Oregon and Colorado legalized marijuana. Just marijuana.

By no means did things go poorly for the Democratic party this month. No question. That said, you guys have to calm the fuck down. There wasn't a massive endorsement of your policies. A lot of electoral votes and some gains in The House and Senate do not make a mandate. The electorate barely chose Barack "I'm Incredibly Likeable" Obama over Mitt "Mint-In-The-Box" Romney (blank Deeply Held Beliefs Journal included). You should be quaking in your boots that the numbers were close enough that the media even had the ability to spin this thing as a close race to preserve the narrative.

And Republicans. Look, I get that you didn't want to lose. There's a bizarro world of this election, where the reviled incumbent handily beat the empty suit trotted out to contest him, much to the amazement of opposition pundits. That bizarro world was 2004. I understand that not all of you melted down into histrionic puddles foretelling the end of The United States because of a single election, but throwing hissy fits, declaring The United States dead, and pointing fingers at the alleged chicanery and ignorance of others are the sort of acts that can polarize your base, but rarely ever expand it. Keep the secession stuff up though; it's adorable.

It wasn't the demographics. While I believe the Republicans have drawn a lot of support from the more stereotypical white dudes, the core Republican concepts of responsibility, tradition, and individuality aren't concepts foreign to women or ethnic and religious minorities.  The Republican failure to capture The White House and Senate in 2012 is not part of an irreversible, progressive march. Any of the groups credited with Obama's win can just as easily be treated as inevitable converts to a Republican party with a new coat of paint in 2016. Not even that new of a coat.

The Democrats have no one who can succeed Barack Obama (Who, by the way, is now a member of the living damned; cursed to campaign for Democratic candidates until the end of time in a futile, frustrating effort to fire them up the way he did in 2008.). The perception that they have a mandate implies to the slack-jawed masses that they also have the power to get things done, which a quick head-count of the House of Representatives reveals they don't. And when 2014 rolls around, I get the feeling we're going to see a Democratic party saunter into the voting booth, fattened with complacency, carrying a record that's blank on every issue but bombing all the scary people, and blasting out--at a 100 db--no message at all.

No worries on my end; I'm an independent. Losing an election cycle or two to the folks who don't even think of me as a person isn't a huge worry for me. If I seriously thought that any given arrangement of samey, keep-the-wheels-turning government could bring everything down in four years, I would have left a long time ago. It sounds oddly cynical to say it, but calm the fuck down. Nothing has changed.

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