Posts Tagged ‘Elections’

Some Plus and Minus

Well, the election is somewhat over. A few races are still undecided with votes still being tabulated and some with perhaps recounts ahead.

All in all, I am satisfied. If you watched only the races that were in the headlines nationally, a Dem might be crestfallen that their rock star candidates — Beto in Texas, Stacy in Georgia and Andrew in Florida, for example– couldn’t break through. They were the emotional magnets for a lot of voters and to see them go down, even in an extremely close battle, hurts a bit.

But when I step back and look at the results and the repercussions of these elections, I am pleased.

First, the House of Reps moved blue with a Democratic majority now in place, providing a clear check on the president*. Committee leaderships move to the Dems now and they can set the agenda for how the president*’s actions are handled. They now have investigative and subpoena power as well as a check on the Senate.

This Blue move includes over 100 women being elected to the House last night. The class picture for the House Dems is a very diverse one that now includes more women, Native Americans, Muslims and people of color. That is fantastic and provides us with a voice that better reflects this nation’s multitudes.

Secondly, a large number of states’ governors switched to the Democratic side. This is a huge gain, especially in the fight against the gerrymandering of districts which is pertinent as the 2020 census looms with the redistricting that comes with it.

I am also pleased that overall, Dems outvoted the GOP by between 7 and 8% nationally. The voters came out. I hope those young voters who invested so much in races that may not have gone their way, such as the Parkland students in Florida, are not disheartened and turn their backs on future political involvement. They made a difference in our political discourse and are close to changing the face of our political class forever, if only they continue their fight.

In the Senate races, the Dems won by more than 12%– but still lost at least 3 seats. We are still strongly divided but the fact that the gaps in races in historically red states are closing gives me optimism.

On the downside, voter suppression remains a problem in many areas and is something that needs to be addressed on a national level. There are obviously systems available that would allow all eligible voters to easily register and cast their vote. Voting should not be set up as a series of hurdles to be overcome. Each citizen deserves to have their vote counted.

While I would loved to have seen a blue tsunami across the board, I believe overall it was a pretty good day for America. It moves us in a more positive direction, towards a government that represents all of our interests.

But to get that point, we have to stay aware and involved. Political change is sometimes slow and incremental. It is not always easy to keep up the energy needed to create change.

Do not be distracted. Keep your eyes and ears open. Stay involved and hold those in power accountable.

Our work is not over with one election.

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Today is National Voter Registration Day. I truly urge anyone who has not yet registered to make today the day that you finally take the plunge and join our democracy.

You are needed more than ever.

We are at a vital point in our history, one that may well rival the Civil War/Lincoln era of the 1860’s, the Great Depresson/FDR era of the 1930’s or the Civil Rights/Viet Nam era of the 1960’s in importance to the history of our country. There are still alternate paths to us going forward and this coming election may well dictate which path this country follows.

One takes us closer and closer to a government ruled by a private governing elite of corporate power that is wholly released from public accountability. This includes privatization of prisons, the military, education, infrastructure and social safety networks as well as the removal of most environmental, financial and workplace regulations.

The citizen will live to serve the corporate bottom line.

The other moves us back towards a government that elevates the rights of citizens over those of corporations, one that looks to insure that the safety net that has saved so many of us from falling into abject poverty over the years stays intact. This path better protects our environment, our healthcare decisions, our workplace protections and our finances.

A government that would exist to serve the citizens.

This may well be the most important election that we will take part in. Some of you will say that is foolish hyperbole, that it will all work out for the country however you vote. In other times I might agree with that. But today that is precisely what they want you to believe. You see, we are at a point where a concerted effort over the past four decades by wealthy idealogues to weaken our public institutions and reconstitute the government in a way that serves and protects their purposes alone is coming to fruition. Part of this effort has been concerned with disenfranchising voters, both in making it more difficult to vote and in convincing would-be voters that their vote means little.

They want us disinterested or distracted. Or misinformed.

Prove them wrong. Be informed. Make your vote count.

I will not try to sway your vote but while I am known as the Red Tree guy, my favorite color is blue. Especially come November 6.


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The waves broke and spread their waters swiftly over the shore. One after another they massed themselves and fell; the spray tossed itself back with the energy of their fall. The waves were steeped deep-blue save for a pattern of diamond-pointed light on their backs which rippled as the backs of great horses ripple with muscles as they move. The waves fell; withdrew and fell again, like the thud of a great beast stamping.

― Virginia WoolfThe Waves


I was planning on showing this painting, The Green Wave, at some point in the future. It’s from French painter Georges Lacombe  (1868-1916) who was part of Les Nabis, a painting group heavily influenced by the work of Paul Gauguin. I am a big admirer of many of the painters, including Lacombe,  associated with this group.

As I said, this was planned for sometime in the future but yesterday’s results in elections around the country prompted me to want to show it today. It was heartening, a big ray of light in the darkness, to have the people of Virginia show up in a big way and make a big statement against what has been happening this past year carrying the Dems to statewide victories. They rejected Ed Gillespie‘s attempt at copying 45*’s  playbook of divisive rhetoric, giving Ralph Northam a landslide victory in the race for governor and won the majority of the down ballot races.

And it wasn’t just Virginia. Across the country Dems, Independents and disillusioned Republicans made very much the same statement– what is happening is not who we are. Longtime GOP seats were flipped in places that were thought to be bulletproof. If the members of the GOP in the house and senate don’t take notice and begin to act responsibly and in the best interest of the country and their true constituents– not the fat cat donors who line their pockets– they most likely will be swept away by this same wave when it comes around next year.

I can’t think of much, if anything, to say positively about the person who some call our president. But I do thank him for waking people up, for making so many more people take an active interest in what has been taking place while we all allowed ourselves to be distracted. They have been energized and yesterday’s victories demonstrates that real results can occur with focused resistance.

And that will only serve to strengthen the resolve of those who are going to make up the coming wave. This wave cracked the seawall. That was shown yesterday but a bigger wave is out there, restlessly waiting to unleash its full fury.

Like a great beast stamping.

A year ago on this day, that election left many of us thinking that this country was beyond saving, that we had succumbed to our lowest qualities. Hatred. Greed. Selfishness. Fear.

But people have come together to take action and to make their voices heard. So be encouraged this morning  but do not relax, don’t think your responsibility has ended in one day or one small act. You snooze, you lose.

Instead, be even more involved. Double your efforts. Add your full force to the gathering wave and let everyone know what is coming.

Like a great beast stamping.


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