Levellers

Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Political Victories and Losses

Winners on the 4th:

  • Pres.-elect Barack Obama & VP-elect Joe Biden
  • DNC Chair Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy which was much opposed by the Clintonistas but embraced by team Obama and the Netroots–and led to increased Democratic Party victories in ’06 and ’08, though falling short of the goal of 60 Senate seats (unless a miracle happens in the all 3 elections still out–Alaska, Minnesota, & the run-off in Georgia).
  • Democracy–a higher U.S. turnout than any presidential election since 1920, the year women’s suffrage became enshrined in our national Constitution.
  • A somewhat better context for those of us who work for peace and justice–though how much so is yet to be seen
  • Immigrants
  • Equal Opportunity
  • Latinos-Black relations (one of the underreported stories behind the Obama success is that all those pundits who said that Obama could not win Latinos were wrong–He got 67% of the Latino vote and that made the difference in AT LEAST the following states: New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, New Jersey, and even Virginia).
  • Women–The McCain people expected women to vote for them because of Sarah Palin. Instead, they voted for the team that put women’s rights and concerns as a major priority.
  • Grassroot empowerment and community organizing.
  • A chance for progressive moves in healthcare, the environment, labor, education, employment, sensible economic regulation and competence in government.

Losers:

  • Sadly, one of the big losers on Tuesday were Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered persons and those of us who are their friends, family and allies.  The silver lining in this cloud is that anti-gay ballot measures and rhetoric WAS NOT able (unlike in ’04) to be used as a successful “wedge issue” to ensure progressive defeats. Nevertheless, Arizona and Florida amended their state constitutions to ban same sex marriages and California actually voted to do the same–tacking AWAY the right to marry that the CA Supreme Court had just granted only several months earlier. And another state banned adoptions by gay couples.  Truly sad and it shows how far we have to go for justice on these matters.
  • The “Southern Strategy” of Nixon & Reagan to use racist whites to win presidential elections. 
  • Tom Delay’s dream of a “permanent Republican majority” (although Dems would be foolish to believe in the same type of fantasy.  There are no permanent majorities in democratic politics–thank God).
  • The Religious Right.  It is far from dead, but it’s influence took a major beating.  Progressive faith groups and defenders of religious liberty for all and church-state separation made progress, though this struggle is far from over.
  • The politics of fearmongering and smears.
  • Rightwing radio and TV demagogues–as their every prediction proved false.
  • The divisions that began in the late ’60s (as opposed to the promise of the early ’60s). McCain was the 3rd Vietnam Veteran in a row to lose the presidency (VP and Nobel Peace Laureate Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) were the other two–both opposed the war but, coming from families of privilege, decided to serve rather than let others be drafted in their place).  The two Baby Boomers who dodged the Vietnam War (Bill Clinton and George W. Bush), one who opposed it and the other who supported it as long he didn’t have to fight it, won the presidency but had difficulty governing and increased national polarization.  The chance to heal comes with the first post-Boomer presidency, the first 21st C. presidency.
  • Voter apathy.
  • Apathy and cynicism among the young.
  • Free market fundamentalism.

Anything else?

November 6, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

10 Comments

  1. Winners:
    -America
    -the world
    -smart people (Barack and Michelle Obama and Joe and Jill Biden all have experience working in high education)

    Losers:
    -Alaska (especially if Stevens keeps his narrow lead after absentee ballots are tallied); they’re still stuck with all their corrupt politicians

    Comment by Kyle | November 6, 2008

  2. On the day America almost proves the world how grown up it is, overcoming racial prejudice and voting for a black President, it goes and votes to discriminate against gays. The perils of democracy in a deeply prejudiced society – the minorities always get stomped on.

    As Kyle says though the world is a winner with this election. Although it had nothing to do with him, thank God.

    Comment by steph | November 7, 2008

  3. Sadly, one of the big losers on Tuesday were Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered persons and those of us who are their friends, family and allies. The silver lining in this cloud is that anti-gay ballot measures and rhetoric WAS NOT able (unlike in ‘04) to be used as a successful “wedge issue” to ensure progressive defeats. Nevertheless, Arizona and Florida amended their state constitutions to ban same sex marriages and California actually voted to do the same–tacking AWAY the right to marry that the CA Supreme Court had just granted only several months earlier. And another state banned adoptions by gay couples. Truly sad and it shows how far we have to go for justice on these matters.

    That’s why I couldn’t write the post election piece I wanted to write, but instead had to be a bit of a wet blanket.

    Comment by Sandalstraps | November 7, 2008

  4. In California, black folks voted yes on Prop 8 in larger numbers than whitle folks–that is, they supported traditional marriage. Just can’t trust those black folks to do the right thing. They’re all a bunch of homophobic bigots, I suppose.

    another point. talk about screwing the peace and justice folks. Take a look at the background of the guy Obama picked as his chief of staff. Rahm Emmanuel–A JEWISH HAWK. The guy volunteered for the Israeli army during the first Gulf War. And the guy supported the Gulf war. And check this article out in the Jerusalem Post:

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1225910047157&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    In an interview with Ma’ariv, Emanuel’s father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, said he was convinced that his son’s appointment would be good for Israel. “Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel,” he was quoted as saying. “Why wouldn’t he be? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.”

    Sounds like a warmonger neoconservative has been picked as the most important aide to Obama.

    Comment by JimR | November 7, 2008

  5. whoops. should have said Emmanuel supported the Iraq war. rank hypocrisy on the part of Obama

    Comment by JimR | November 7, 2008

  6. Interesting post and blog. Relevantly, many prominent experts and publications have pointed out that Obama is part of Generation Jones, born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and GenXers. You can find some of these leading voices talking specifically about Obama’s identity as part of Generation Jones on this page (including excerpts from publications like Newsweek and the New York Times, and videos with over 25 top pundits)…
    http://www.generationjones.com/2008election.html

    Comment by ElectionWatcher | November 7, 2008

  7. Oh . . . so that’s what community organizers do. They help people win elections. What a fascinating job description. Hmmm, if only someone had told that to Sarah Palin and John McCain.

    Comment by haitianministries | November 7, 2008

  8. Michael,

    While California enacted Prop 8, there is good news here, though it is not immediate good news. The vote was close, signaling that the nation remains divided on this issue. If you don’t believe this, talk about it in church! Gay marriage is not something we as a nation have worked through.

    However, the demographics suggest that this is a generational issue. Yes, African Americans by and large supported Prop 8, but they are a small percentage of the California population. More important is the age issue. Older voters supported it much more heavily than younger ones. Because it only takes a 50% + 1 vote to enact a Constitutional Amendment, it will take only a 50% + 1 vote to rescind it. I guarantee you that as close as this thing was, in a year or 2 it will be rescinded!

    Comment by Bob Cornwall | November 7, 2008

  9. I was pleasantly surprised by a piece before the election about community organizing on The Daily Show. I think they got through the story without using the F word. The kicker was a conservative Christian community organizer working in Appalachia who was so angry at the Giuliani and Palin attack on community organizing that she decided to support Obama.

    Comment by Mike Broadway | November 7, 2008

  10. Generation Jones? Hmm. I have never heard that term. I always thought the Baby Boom went from ’45 to ’64 which would put Obama (and my humble self) at the tail end of it–but sharing some characteristics of Gen Xers. But this Gen. Jones category could explain why I never seemed to fit either the Boomers or the Xers–and my early attraction to and support for Obama.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | November 8, 2008


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