Tuesday, November 07, 2006

thoughts on election eve

First, of course some items a la Clare to clear a little fog and burden:

Uno - spending the weekend in a small town in upstate New York. I hadn't spent an overnight or downtime in a small town in so long I couldn't remember the exact last time that I had. (pretend that made sense, gramatically.) My favorite part? Upon stepping outside of our friend's dad's house late one night, I paused and turned to Honey and said, "do you hear that?" Our friend smiled and Honey and I exchanged satisfied looks, "Yeah," he said. It was the music of stillness. It sounded the way fine wine tastes.

Due - seeing our friends' marriages and feeling gratified that our friends delight in each other.

Tre - treating a friend to lunch, today.

Churchgal wrote a nice post about the Ted Haggard disgrace, today. I commented on the blog, but I'll tell you now, her sympathy for him is really moving, to me. Guffawing at his shame is easy and shallow (that's why we all do it), sorrowing for him is blessed.

Tomorrow is election day. Midterms. I do hope the Democrats take the House and the Senate would be nice, too. But that's just because I am a Democrat - well, mostly because I'm a Democrat. But my optimism is very cautious for a few reasons:

A) I don't feel like the Democrats have a clear, unified point of view which the nation at large can identify, unlike, say the Republicans' "Contract with America" in 1994.
B) I no longer underestimate the ability of the Dems to either screw it up in the end or lose a lead. Likewise, I don't overestimate the effectiveness of Bush machine attack strategies. Look at how they treated Max Cleland and John McCain - taking character assassination to new lows.
C) Living on the East Coast, the general energy among people I talk to is, "the Dems are going to take this one; maybe not a landslide, but certainly at least the House." Mmm. I dunno. You have to be careful you don't live in an echo chamber. In 1992, I lived in West Texas and was surrounded by Republicans, there were a few supporters of Clinton (most of whom went to our church, ironically) but by and large, we all thought Bush would win because that was local sentiment. We were wrong. In 2004, people around me thought Kerry cinched it. Nope. Living in conservative areas of the country, I've heard people look at nationwide polls that show a more liberal leaning in the response and say, "i don't know ANYONE who feels that way; who are THESE pollsters talking to?" and living in this more liberal region, i've heard people say the same about nationwide polls that show a more conservative response. We are a huge nation with varied opinions and limited interaction with people outside our own ideologies. I can't assume the Dems will bag this.

... but I hope I'm wrong.

Frankly, I don't know if a Democratic majority in either the House or Senate would make things "better" per se, but I do think it would at the very least create an environment that embraces dissent. We always say we want bipartisanship and I do think every so often we see shifts in political power to make sure one party doesn't control everything (as in 1994), so hopefully we'll see some bipartisan compensation tomorrow.

1 comment:

Sonnjea B said...

You're right about the Dems' uncanny ability to blow a huge lead, give away a major advantage and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The California governor's race is a classic example. But hopefully nationally things will go differently. You're also right about it not necessarily making things better -- but not having a right-wing lock on Congress has to be an improvement.