In a matter of hours, America will be making the fundamental “Decision 2010.” Whether it is change for better or worse is anybody’s guess. What we cannot afford to leave to conjecture is the reality that extremism reeks all over the “tsunami win” prognosis for the Grand Old Party (GOP). If you don’t vote, you’ll see the reversal of all that you think is not enough ‘progressiveness’ under current Democratic leadership. You the people are powerful – at least till the end of today.
Across the country, $3 to 4 billion has been spent on this election cycle – most of it to bombard the citizenry with ads and to staff campaigns. Times are hard, but somehow special interests can pony up lavish amounts to get your vote and support. I don’t know that Karl Rove’s American Crossroads or Citizens United are getting money from corporate investors who love you so much that they want to save you from the Democrats.
There is a clear dichotomy between the Democrats and the Republicans who will return to Washington. Democrats are trying to create jobs, invest in education, infrastructure and clean energy among other things. Republicans want to cut spending and taxes and simultaneously balance the budget. Fantastic! Basically, if the polls hold, they will have the purse strings of the nation in their hands, and health care repeal, Social Security phase-out, tax cuts and more on their minds.
The establishment Republicans are already muttering discontent over the exuberance of Sen. Jim De Mint’s lieutenants, “young guns” like Marco Rubio and Ryan Paul. If sound bites of them and what they stand for are bankable, the word to describe them is actually “extreme.” For that reason above all else, I get this nightmare that all of 2011 will be wasted in a gridlock, while the American people (and their ‘welfare’) will be held hostage for tax cuts particularly for the rich, deregulation of Wall Street and blocking any energy law. The could-be leaders of both houses of Congress (McConnell and Boehner) are clear that they are hellbent on making Obama a one-term president. And Obama has veto power, at least until 2012.
Sure, the Republicans may mistake good fortune and protest votes to mean overwhelming support. They will get emboldened and overbearingly obstructionist. The Tea Party Republicans will set the agenda, as their leaders will be incapable of corralling them. Independents who don’t especially love Republicans will be ticked off enough, and vote in 2012 to stop the extremism.
Even as they are known to be liberals, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, in hosting the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,” have done something we are going to need aplenty next year: the return of civility and sanity in national discourse. “Out of the mouths of comedians, cometh words of sanity,” I soliloquized the other day. That is something we have missed for well over a year.
I read with delight the Christian Science Monitor’s account of a woman who flew to the event all the way from Tennessee. She had voted for Bill Hasslam, a Republican for Governor, but she wanted to be counted as “one more body in the sanity column.”
In his 1994 book Out of Order, Thomas E. Patterson detailed the ways in which the 24-hour media drives presidential politics. What Patterson did not see coming is the very partisan, activist, stark and jarringly propagandist media emerging. Blogging and the over-reliance on social math (polls) have not helped, either. Patterson was concerned about the issue of journalists as agents provocateur, but today that seems stale. Now, the road to Senate or Congress passes through some TV and radio talk shows. Absurd! Why else will those millions go into ads if they didn’t know we are suckers for sound bites and ads?
The only way forward for registered Democrats is to go out today and vote to salvage the damage of the so-called tsunami of a victory for Republicans. By so doing, there will not be a landslide that will portend an overwhelming national mandate for Republicans. There has to be some form of compromise reached to avoid government shut down. And we know the arrogance that comes with such overwhelming victories, fortunate or not, right or left. I, for one, am tired of watching our national politics play out as punditry ping-pong on FOX or MSNBC.
This election cycle is not just about a simple mid-term anti-incumbent or anti-establishment wave. This is about the future of democracy and opportunity. Big business is set to buy off regulation and ensure tax breaks. If they have not provided jobs in a decade under George W. Bush, what is the likelihood they could do so now?
FAYIA SELLU can be reached at email@example.com.