The New America – Ramblings

It’s been almost a week since the election, and I am certain most of us are thrilled its over – even those who voted for other people.  Barack Obama won.  Why did Mitt Romney lose?  I’m apt to agree with Chris Christie – Obama got more votes.  That’s fairly cut and dry.

Why did Obama win?  Because more people wanted him to be president.  And a lot of those people who made their voices heard were from minorities.  Are they minority now?  Maybe we’re finally moving toward that place where we’re all just Americans.  President Obama calls us the “United States of America.”  Emphasis on “United.”  I like that business.

The past many years have been about America finding itself.  We forget that the USA is still relatively young.  We aren’t the youngest, but we are far from the oldest.  We’ve had our mis-steps and our victories.  But for a long, long time it’s been one of the greatest places to live.

We had a grand period of growth in the nineties and looking back, it seems like a capstone on America’s lifetime.  And now, after a tumultous decade when our innocence was truly shattered in 2011, we are finally deciding which country we want to be.

No longer content to treat our ethnicities as tokens, perhaps?  No longer imagining that only the white, middle-class deserve freedoms?

We are not really all that new, we’re just listening more.  More voices from more places were heard this year – finally.  After thousands (millions?) of people in this very country fought and protested and died to be able to vote, people finally treated it like the responsibility it is.

The RNC was shattered – they so very badly convinced themselves they would “take back America.”  That America they wanted exists in a different time.  We’ve evolved, we’ve moved on, and we are stronger for it.  More of us realize we all deserve a true voice – a voice tempered with knowledge.  We have responsibilities so we have to be responsible.

What’s going to happen?  I don’t know.  Research suggests that the economy will grow and the climate will change and we’re going to all have to take it seriously.  We don’t have much time to tolerate ignorance as a value any more.  There’s not much more time to ignore science and equate it with un-researched opinions and magic.

I do know that I live in a country where I have been given the choice to be happy so long as it doesn’t harm others or infringe on their happiness.  I live in a country where my son can shout outside, and I can write whatever I want, and we have enough to eat, and the only things we need to do are exercise some common sense and respect others.

Freedom isn’t free.  But the cost keeps getting lower.

The RNC – I don’t know what they will do, but they need to change.  The Tea-Party’s stable needs to drop any sign of racism or hatred and instead focus on a true political stance.  Personally, I think our two parties are both close to major evolution.  The tipping point on social issues is close, so that may mercifully be off the table in the near future.

Suffice to say, to finish up, I am really excited to have President Obama back.  And now – NOW – the specter of re-election is gone.  He showed fire and passion again last week.  We’ve decided to move forward and to be the America we all whispered about as children – inclusive, free, brave.

My Only Political Post This Season

Is It?  I’m not checking.  I’m pretty sure I haven’t posted since the beginning of the year.  But I typically pick it up election season – I have not.  You’re voting tomorrow, or you should be.  There’s a lot of crap going on right now.  Mud is slung and lies are told, and I definitely have “Opinions,” man.  I have opinions.  Even about bridges.

My mom had this line yesterday (and I heard it today) about Michigan’s constitution and how we shouldn’t really change it, which is a fairly bold assertation considering the number of amendments it has garnered since adoption in the 60s.  Yea or Nay on the propositions that change it is beside the point.  Arguing against a prop because it might change or amend the constitution makes no sense considering the MI constitution was developed as a temporary document.

Every 16 years we vote on whether or not to rewrite the constitution.  Two years ago, we looked at the mess Michigan was in (at least I did) and said “this may not be the best time to throw this thing out.”  It makes sense to me that two years later we would have proposals changing a few things.  I’m voting no on some, yes on others.  And maybe, I’ll be changing the temporary documents that has provisions for being changed.

Seriously.  Terrible argument.

Okay – the most important Proposition for me is Proposal 2.  Not that Grand Rapids one, the state one.  It would make it a right to collectively bargain.  Which is pretty powerful for me.  Even in my second year of teaching, I have seen my union  step up and help me out a bit.  We live in a world where unions are necessary, and there is already legislation in committee to limit the bargaining of unions.  I think that’s fairly ridiculous.  Love or hate unions, they have done a lot of good most people don’t realize.  They can get over-reaching, yes, but I haven’t seen it in mine.

And the presidential election, holy cow who is not sick of it?  But it is important.  No one who knows me, I’m sure, is surprised to hear I am voting for Jill Stein, green party candidate.  Wait… I’m actually voting for Obama again.  I honestly roll with the Greens on most issues… well, probably all, but I have liked the four years for Obama.  I haven’t heard many convincing arguments against him.  I supported the Affordable Care Act, and still do.  I honestly wish it could have done more.  I support his foreign affairs work – which is one of the biggest responsibilities of the office – so he’s got me there.  His work with the economy has been frustrating, but I really trust economists on economical matters. My most trusted economist says the president’s affect on the economy is minimal.

Seriously, folks, voting for the president for the economy doesn’t make much sense.  It makes about as much sense as voting for them because of their stance on gay marriage and abortion.

Which I hear Obama supports, though I doubt he really does.  I suspect he supports woman being in charge of their own bodies and consenting adults begin able to spend their lives together.  I would call those “woman’s rights” (a term I hope I live to see made moot, along with “gay rights,” – someday unnecessary because we all will just have “rights) and “marriage.”  People are right, marriage is between a man and a woman.  Like, right now.  We can change that, though.  Things change all the time, even constitutions!

The fury I feel over the abortion debate is insane – especially since it’s been defined as “the abortion” debate.  It’s not a debate over that.  It’s a debate over women.  Ridiculous.  And what are these kids going to do after they are born?  AGH! RANT!  Let’s just have non-working abstinence only sex education, so we can have all these unwanted pregnancies because no on bothered to teach these kids proper safety or alternatives!  THEN, when these unwanted kids are born, we’ll deny them any sort of assistance, so they grow up constantly in survival mode, eventually making poor choices and bringing society down.

That’s a slippery slope.

Anyway, I’m voting for Obama.  You’re not going to change my mind, and I doubt I changed anyone else’s, but a man feels the need to be heard.  I love what Barack Obama has done and I support him and his administration.  I hope if you are voting for Romney its because you believe in him as fiercely as I do Obama, still, four years later.  I hope it’s not because you’re voting against Obama.  I hope you have a real reason for voting against Obama – I know plenty of folks with good reasons.  Unfortunately, I know too many people (one person would be too many) who won’t because he’s black – which is really depressing.

Seriously, I respect the folks who have reviewed the issues, reviewed the track records, and say Romney best fits their mindset.  He’s got good qualities and he was nominated and all.  I just don’t agree with him on anything of import and I agree with Obama on more.  Though, Jill Stein still looks like a good vote.