Thoughts on Election 2012 Results: A History Lesson

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Does this map speak volumes to anyone but me? Facts are annoying little things, aren’t they?

This will probably not be my most popular post.

The American people have spoken and the sound-bite election summary is President Obama won reelection, the Republican party maintained control of the House of Representatives but lost a few seats, and the Democratic party maintained control of the Senate and picked up a seat or two as well. Democrats are rejoicing at the win, Republicans are wondering what went wrong when the President seemed so vulnerable, and the Florida Election Committee is still counting votes because that’s how they roll in Florida.

The bigger picture is much deeper. For one thing, I am deeply saddened to learn I now live in a Godless nation. Thank you, Facebook, for alerting me to the departure of the Glory cloud from the Temple. Apparently God stood by us through 200 years of chattel slavery, a century or more of genocide against the Native Americans, the Tuskegee Syphilis “Research”, virulent institutional — if unspoken — anti-Antisemitism, lynchings, Jim Crow, televangelists, reality television, etc. but the 2012 election was the final straw.

Since we re-elected a biracial, Harvard-educated Christian who follows his faith quietly instead of pandering to people by invoking God in everything instead of a man whose Mormonism says Satan and Christ are brothers born from God’s marriage to His celestial wife, that African-Americans are sub-human (at least until 1978), and that unmarried and/or childless women won’t get to go to Heaven because they will have no one to “call them through the Veil,” God is now finished with America. This seems perfectly logical given the state of politics AND Christianity in America today.

I am certain I am the ONLY Democrat in my family — immediate, extended, or in-lawed. In some peoples’ eyes this makes me a bad person who is obviously not a Christian. I find this situation INCREDIBLY ironic since two of the greatest people and Christians I ever knew — my beloved Papa and Granny Wham — died as registered Democrats. See, the youngsters among my limited readership may not know this, but once upon a time, South Carolina was known as a “Yellow Dog Democrat” state because the Democratic Party in South Carolina (and many other southern states) could “run a yellow dog for office and beat any Republican no matter how well qualified.”

That won’t happen today and maybe a very brief history outline will show why. Most southerners forget but the reviled Abraham Lincoln was the nation’s first Republican President. He set the standard for the Constitutional abuses of later Republicans with his suspension of habeas corpus and other executive acts during the Civil War. In the end, though, his actions helped end slavery. On the other hand, the Democratic Party — dating all the way back to Thomas Jefferson — was the party of slavery. South Carolina’s own  John C. Calhoun was a Democrat who defended slavery on the floor of the Senate as “not a necessary evil, but a positive good.” Following the Civil War during Reconstruction, the hated Republican party forced the occupied but unbowed southern states to elect “coloreds” to governorships and high Federal offices.

With this miniscule history of the parties laid out, what happened to make the Democratic Party — once the pro-slavery party — champions of people of color and poor of all colors? It all started with Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  FDR’s “New Deal” made him a demigod among the poor and disenfranchised of the Great Depression, but his championing of liberal causes such as labor unions, social welfare, government regulation, and civil rights cracked the Democratic “Solid South.”

Those cracks exploded with the coming of the Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties. Democrat became synonymous with minority, poor, hippie, and liberal. The switchover completed in 1964 when the ageless Senator Strom Thurmond, again from this great Palmetto State, left the Democratic Party in protest of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and became a Republican. That’s where we’ve been ever since and as the country has gotten steadily less white and the divide between the wealthy and the middle class has reached its greatest extent since the Gilded Age, the polarization has intensified. Don’t mention the “wealth gap” though or you’ll be pilloried for “provoking class warfare.”

As a result of uber-partisan politics, we have a hopelessly gridlocked government where party loyalty trumps any desire to get anything done which might benefit the American people. Unfortunately, the gridlock has extended to the mindset of entirely too many Americans. God forbid you want to be like every single other industrialized first world country and have some sort of national health care. Mention that around here and people who don’t know the difference between a Communist and a Fascist will brand you a socialist. Even worse than Partisan Man is the dreaded “one issue voter.” For Evangelical Republicans, the issue is abortion. It doesn’t matter WHAT a Republican candidate believes or does. If he or she promises to overturn and undo Roe v Wade, the Southern Baptist Convention will endorse him from the conference floor.

Worst of all, however, is the completely uninformed voter. For Republicans, these are the disciples of Hannity, Limbaugh, and other denizens of talk radio. These voters don’t look up anything for themselves but believe anything and anyone as long as they are on Fox News after 6:00 PM, and they consistently support candidates who do not have their interests at heart. I know rabid Rush Limbaugh fans who collect Social Security or disability checks or receive other government assistance anathematic to the ultra-conservative wing controlling the Republican Party. These people can’t see they are voting for people who — if elected — would do away with or at best deeply cut the very programs sustaining them and their families. . . The irony is worthy of Shakespeare.

So, where do we go from here? The reality is “probably nowhere.” President Obama will continue trying to enact policies to benefit those other than “The 1%” and the Republican Party will fight him and stonewall him at every turn cheered on by a mass of red state voters who can’t or won’t realize when Rush or Glenn Beck are talking about “parasites” THEY are the ones being referred to.

Good luck in the next four years, remember I love y’all — Democrat or Republican alike, and most of all, keep those feet clean.

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One response »

  1. Truly one of the deepest articles you’ve written lately and challenging to my readability level. I think that, regardless of the fact I don’t really understand the historical references and some of the words, you have stated what is very true. And my feet are clean as I read tonight!

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