November 13, 2012
Trying to Make Sense
of the Election
The election is over and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
The election was marred by the usual spate of irregularities: Spanish language voting cards with the wrong election date, votes still uncounted in Maricopa County, home of Sheriff Joseph Arpaio, and billboards in Spanish saying id is required even though the law requiring them was struck down as unconstitutional. Perhaps it was only massive corporate spending, the majority for Romney, and a spate of laws designed to keep the poor, the elderly and minorities from voting that kept the election even close. Barack Obama won with
less than 51% of a vote which consisted of some 58% percent of the electorate — about 30% — hardly what you would call a clear mandate.
Will there be an end to foreign wars? Well, perhaps, sort of. David "Surge" Petraeus, who lost the War Against Iraq (Not by himself. He had plenty of help from his friends.) and was well on his way to losing the War Against Afghanistan, is gone - having resigned over an extra-marital affair. (Huh? Even Bill Clinton weathered the scandal of an extra-marital affair.) I suspect our wars of empire building will continue to morph into drone wars of assassination and proxy wars of regime change and destabilization. I seriously doubt Obama will give up his foreign military bases or his dream of ruling the world. (Almost 70% of us are against the continuation of the War Against Afghanistan, while over 80% of us appear to favor continuing or escalating the Drone War.)
Israel? Obama owes Netanyahu a payback for meddling in the US election and supporting Romney; but I don't see an end to support for Israel - maybe not quite as unqualified support as under the previous few presidents. Many US Jews are finally catching on that Israel's aggressive militarism and expansionism is causing an anti-Jewish backlash, not only in the Middle-East, but at home too. Rumor has it that Hillary Clinton, one of Israel's staunchest supporters, is on her way out. Few will miss her.
Renewable Energy? Hard to expect much here from a president who failed to mention climate change or global warming even once in his reelection campaign - in spite of an unprecedented drought and heat wave that started in March and still continues in much of the United States. Even the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy failed to elicit a mention of Global Warming. Obama might well owe his victory to Hurricane Sandy and the perception that he handled the emergency well, as compared to Mitt Romney who wanted to privatize FEMA and George W. Bush who totally bungled the Katrina emergency.
So where's the hope?
Elizabeth Warren is now in the Senate. She wants to take on the Banking Industry. She is tough. With the help of Bernie Sanders who won reelection to the Senate with an overwhelming 71% of the vote, she may just be able to rein in this rogue industry.
In Colorado and Montana, people voted overwhelmingly (70 and 75%) against corporate personhood. A few more states and we may just get a Constitutional Amendment banning corporate personhood and overturning Citizens United.
And for the most part the worst purveyors of hate and misogyny like Allen West and Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin went down in ignominious defeat. Akin lost by over 15% in a State that went for Romney by almost 10%.
And now that Surge Petraeus has fallen victim to his own surveillance state; maybe we'll even see the unwarranted surveillance of practically everybody reined in to some degree. As Trevor Timm put it,
the "Who knew the key to stopping the Surveillance State was to just wait until it got so big that it ate itself?"
These are the things that give me hope for change - people standing up to the rich and powerful - not Obama's reelection by 30% of the electorate. When government fails the people, the people must learn to work together and help each other. I think that is what is happening now.
Obama is not a dummy like his predecessor in the White House. He is a savvy politician, and if the people speak loudly enough, he will bend rather than jeopardize his legacy. I'm sure Obama is mindful of what happened to president Kennedy. He will not step too far out of line lest his corporate puppet masters retaliate. But if the people speak loudly enough, he and his handlers may have no choice.