Tuesday, November 14, 2006

We Are Not As Conservative As Our Government Has Been

Just because the media has become dominated by conservative voices and the political debate has been controlled by right wing politicians doesn’t necessarily mean that the American public has become more conservative. There has been a distinct shift in attitude toward fiscal responsibility, which used to be a cornerstone of conservative ideology, but now even that is more the domain of Democrats than the fiscally irresponsible Republicans that have been leading this country into debt. And on social issues, we as a society have come along way even if the political debate has not adequately reflected that.

Traditional media have been trying to suggest that the Democratic wins last week do not suggest a shift in the mood of the public, hell, even Joe Lieberman is trying to sell that whopper. And by the way, what the hell is wrong with the voters of Connecticut that they would send this ass back to the Senate just so that he can play spoiler and spoiled brat?! Lieberman is more conservative than many Republicans and now he is going to attempt to pull the Democratic Party to the right and the first time the delegation pisses him off, he’s likely to jump ship and become a Republican despite every promise to the contrary. Lieberman is out of step with the Party and his stance on the war is out of step with the American people, it’s infuriating that he now has the power to decide which Party controls the Senate.

Anyway, this election was a referendum on right wing rule in this country and no matter how the other side tries to spin it, the Democrats DID win and we ARE taking our country back and WILL start to reshape our government to better reflect the attitudes and priorities of Middle America. The idea that this war was a mistake is a majority opinion. That we should have universal healthcare is a majority opinion. That we should pursue alternative sources of energy is a majority opinion. Protecting the environment and attempting to reverse global warming is what the majority of the country wants. The Republicans have been on the wrong side of all of these issues, so to say that the country has shifted to the right is simply ridiculous, the Republicans are out of step (by a mile or two) with the American people and that is why we voted to give Democrats an opportunity to fix what the Republicans have broken, namely our government.

The majority of Americans are working or middle class and we have been getting hosed by the Republicans. Our wages are stagnant, prices are sky high, our public education system is in shambles, we can barely (if at all) afford to send our kids to college, we are racking up a debt that our non-college educated children and grandchildren will be forced to pay off and all the while, the richest 1% is getting tax breaks and corporations are paying less taxes than ever before (which of course means that the rest of us are making up the difference). It’s not at all surprising that the American people chose a new direction, only that it took us so long to cast a vote in our own best interest.

So I will grant that conservatism has taken over in the money realm and that is a good thing. We should have social services and we should provide a safety net for our citizens but we should make sure that our government runs those programs responsibly and in a way that provides the maximum benefit, and that’s what Democrats have learned and what Republicans don’t give a shit about. As far as social issues go, we have come a long way even if progress is slower than many of us would like. Fewer and fewer people each year care about gay marriage and at some point, it will become the law of the land. This country, as a whole, is not comfortable discrimination because fundamentally we believe in expanding freedom and facilitating progress. We have made some bad choices and we have allowed a small minority of regressive thinkers to take control of the debate simply because they were willing to scream louder and they were given all of the microphones, but just because their voices drowned out the rest, doesn’t make them right or even representative of the majority. It’s not that the people of this country need to move to the left so much as we need our representatives in government to move over and meet us where we already are.


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