Thursday, November 08, 2012

Post-election reflection

I don't often pull down my posts for a rewrite, but this one was up for a few hours before I took it down for a rework. Here's the revised edition with a strikeout.
My team won the big one. I read my Talking Point, Krugman, and Salmon, so I wasn’t surprised. On the other hand, since I’m a bit mathic,  I wouldn’t have been surprised if Romney had won either. So not surprised, but very grateful.

My team won even bigger in Minnesota. Voter-ID, anti-gay marriage amendment, GOP State House – all gone. I didn’t expect all of that. So there I’m surprised, and very grateful.

I'm grateful to the Obama and Biden families, to Bill Clinton who may have earned some forgiveness for delivering himself to his enemies so long ago, to the Millenials who seem to like voting (and that will change many things), to all the Obama donors big and small, to my friends Kathy and Lin who won their fight, to Paul Krugman who rails against ignorance, to Obama voters, and especially to the campaign team. I listed to Obama’s acceptance speech, and some parts were obligatory filter – but his gratitude to his volunteers and campaign team was very sincere.

I'm also grateful that, despite some dire predictions, most of the white GOP voters I know seem to be going on with their lives without riot. Even those who claimed they'd go Galt may be sobering up, though there may be rare exceptions. It's as though they didn't entirely believe Fox/Rove TV. Certainly Boehner and McConnell didn't -- they went to bed early on election night.

I’m grateful, but I ain’t exactly joyous. I’m not sure entirely why, but it's not hard to list potential contributors.

First there was the tidal wave of stupidity that infested even commercial-free NPR as both parties fought for the allegiance of the inattentive, uninformed, and unmotivated. It felt like pledge week on steroids.

Then there was the partial success of the House GOP's scorched earth policy over the past two years, and the success of the GOP governors' redistricting policies that keep the House Red even when the nation goes Blue.

The GOP's voter suppression tactics were depressing -- and Florida is still a democracy disaster area. (It's time for a federal intervention). Romney's jaw dropping whoppers were much worse than McCain's -- and they never seemed to cost him all that much. His "budget plan" was a bad joke. Overall, the etch-a-sketch worked depressingly well. He ought to have lost by a huge margin, he lost by a few percent.

Dare I mention the billionaires? Yeah, we learned (again) that wealth is no measure of intellect or even cunning, but I suspect they did more harm than we are willing to admit.

Maybe it’s also a primitive tribal responsibility thing. Sadly, I am not a blue-eyed husky mix. Like John Scalzi, I am “the GOP “demographic” down to the last jot and tittle”. So, while I think it would be crazy for President Obama to feel depressed about black men behaving badly, I feel badly that so many of my tribe [2] of very-advantaged relatively-wealthy and somewhat educated white men behaved like fear-infested pithed fleshbots with an etch-a-sketch memory ... made very bad choices.

*Cough*. Yeah, that's the problem sentence. It's a bit ... harsh.

I'd like to know what's going on in the heads of my white folk tribe. To consider that let's set aside the elderly; they are vulnerable and easily manipulated. Let's set aside the cynical wealthy; for them Romney is a logical choice. Let's even assume that a fraction of the GOP (all white) base is truly opposed to abortion on genuine religious or ethical grounds -- and not just using 'pro-life' as a tribal flag. Set them aside. Lastly, set aside the less educated or the white impoverished who are disconnected from the world.[4]

That still leaves a large group of people who should know better, and whose justifications for voting for today's GOP [3] don't make sense. Except that 80% of GOP voters are overtly racist [1].

So maybe I don't really want to know what's going on in the heads of white male GOP voters.

I think I know why I'm not joyous. Grateful though.

[1] I know at least white GOP voter who isn't, and who was still convinced Obama would destroy America. She may be in the same mysterious category as black Republicans.
[2] Really I have several tribes, but I can't escape the male and pigment-deficient one.
[3] Some have stated reasons, but they are either data-free or contradicted by simple data. This doesn't mean it's impossible to rationally vote for any Republican candidate, just not the ones we have now.
[4] GOP voting Libertarians don't get exempted because today's GOP is less "Liberty" friendly than today's Dems. A third party vote is absolutely defensible however.

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