I still don't talk about politics on this site. Really. That's official policy.
But, weird as it sounds, I can’t help being disappointed by the election results.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the Democrats won. My disappointment is that in so many areas it was by such a slim margin.
I’m a mostly liberal guy in a mostly liberal tribe of a mostly liberal enclave of a mostly liberal territory, so there’s no question I get a skewed view of the country’s mood and opinions. But the Republican party’s failures have been so extreme, their hypocrisy so blatant, and their actions so constantly the opposite of their supposed positions, that it really seems like nobody should have wanted to keep them in power. I can understand voting Republican. I just can’t understand voting for these Republicans.
How could a small-government fiscal conservative vote for the people who keep embiggening the deficit and creating new bureaucracies? How could the ‘moral majority’ vote for the people who keep being caught taking bribes and getting into sex scandals? How could the “keep America safe” people vote for the guys who can’t seem to find bin Laden, and who screwed up Iraq so disastrously? How could anyone vote for the people who want to make secret prisons and torture (just so long as we don’t call it “torture”) part of the American way?
Okay, a percentage of people are just allergic to democrats, and will vote R no matter what. Some other percentage just doesn’t pay attention to politics, or vote based on whatever was the last campaign ad they saw before voting. And some percentage of the republican candidates are genuinely better leaders than the democrats they were up against. And, let’s face it, the Democratic party just doesn’t seem to be very good at politics lately. So I don’t expect to look at the map and see 100% blue. But I didn’t expect so many races to be won by just a few thousand votes, either.
Back in April of 2004, the photos from Abu Ghraib came out. I fully expected that would be the end of support for the war, possibly the end of the Bush administration altogether. That there was no way on earth that Americans would tolerate what was depicted there, and no way they’d fall for the story that it was caused by just a few low-level soldiers spontaneously losing their minds (especially when it turned out the same thing was going on in Afghanistan). Emily and I were in Australia at the time, so it was a few weeks before we saw what the public reaction was in the US. I pictured mass protests. An uprising. Throw the bums out.
But a few low-level soldiers went to jail for a few months, or got demoted. Some editorials, some speeches, a lot of shouting on blogs. That was about it. Seven months later we re-elected the people responsible.
So I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised by the results this time. But, honestly, I thought: with all the mistakes and lies we already knew about, plus so much more evidence of failure from the following two years, plus — finally — some signs that people in general were getting tired of seeing so many people killed in Iraq for no apparent reason… I expected a blowout. I really did.
I guess I’m just an optimist.