Sunday, November 4, 2012

Our Democracy Is Working Just Fine

Firstly, just want to ask everyone to please remember all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. I have noticed many storefronts on Austin St. have put signs in their windows telling people how they can help. There has been a wonderful outpouring of support for the victims of this storm. Visit this blog's Facebook page for more information on where to help. Readers have been posting information there...

Now onto some comment about the upcoming Presidential election this Tuesday. I thought I would just offer a different opinion to what is a common refrain we often hear today: "Our Democracy is not working." "The gridlock in Washington is proof of this." "The gridlock in Washington is bad." These points of view have never sat well with me and the reason is because I think they are just short-term observations. And we need to look at the long-term, macro political environment in the United States today to truly understand what our country is experiencing.

What we have been going through, probably since Reagan was president, is a protracted conflict in our nation's politics where the right wing has been moving slowly more and more to the right, while the left wing slowly moves more and more to the center. If you take things from a long-term approach you will see that Washington is actually working just as it should be today.

What I am saying is that not all political conflicts are resolved in one or two Presidential elections. Sometimes it takes several such elections, and several decades, to resolve them. The battle between an increasingly right wing Republican Party and the Democratic Party is just such a conflict. It has been going on since the 1980's and it is still going on. Look at the election on Tuesday as just one battle in a long-term, protracted struggle.

There are many different things that have happened to the Republican Party over the past few decades, but I think the most important one is that the Republican Party has been hijacked by religious fundamentalists. That is what has been guiding most of its platforms. That is what has been guiding most of its extremist views.

So, you have a protracted struggle pitting religious fundamentalists who want to impose their way of life on everybody else, against a mostly secular, moderate Democratic Party. Sure, some people are Republicans today more because of their economic views or for other reasons and they reluctantly accept the fundamentalist nature of their party. That doesn't change the fact that it is this religious extremism that has been having the most impact on the Republican Party since the 1980's.

So if you hear someone say over the next couple of days something to the effect of: "It's really not important to vote. Nothing will change in Washington. It's just gridlock there. Washington doesn't work anymore." Remember to look at things from a long-term point of view. We are in the middle of a decades-long struggle for this country. No one ever said all political struggles in America can be resolved in one or two presidential elections. Some struggles take decades to resolve.

If President Obama is reelected on Tuesday it will be a victory of the secular moderates over religious extremists. It will be a vitally important victory. But it will be just one BATTLE won in an ongoing war that may take several more elections to resolve. If the Republicans lose, they may not finally accept the message that most Americans do not want the government prying into their personal lives. (Remember Terry Schiavo? Remember the ban under Bush on stem cell research? I can go on and on...) It may take a few more elections for them to get that message. But at least it will be a victory that holds that off for now, and quite possibly, leads to an end to this ongoing political struggle. And may, just may, soon result in the end of the gridlock as Republicans finally moderate and decide that the best way forward is to compromise with President Obama.

Our democracy is working just fine. Every so often in our nation's history there should arise opposing forces that generate both long-term and short-term conflicts. Some may call that gridlock. And that is just fine in my eyes. That is where our country apparently needs to be right now. Hopefully, this battle on Tuesday in this long-term conflict between the religious right and the secular moderates will be won by the tolerant Democratic party over the intolerant Republican one.


  1. Should... the winner of the national popular vote
    mandate...NY's electoral vote ?

    1. Try again.... Only this time put down the bottle of bourbon as you type... I have absolutely no clue what you are trying to say.

    2. I don't drink and obviously better informed about the voting process...

      read up...

    3. In addition the voting process is not officially over...

      I believe the question was posted to stimulate conversation...

  2. Democracy is working fine...unless it's a Republican!