Post-Election Day thoughts
I mentioned this in the comments of a previous post, but I was disappointed by FOX News. They were deflated and a bit saddened by the results, but nobody went nuclear (or nucular, as our outgoing president might say) and ranted about how the country wouldn't exist in a year or two because of the president. Charles Krauthammer, whose columns are well written but often reflect the grumpiness of an old man, made a key point. Obama has a wide base of support, from moderately conservative independents to even hard core Republicans who are sickened by what Bush has done to their party. Because he has such a wide base, he can't implement a crazy left-wing agenda that (presumably) Congress will try to push now that they've gained seats. If he falls in line with Congress, he'll lose the support of a lot of people who want him to be something different than a traditional Democrat. I would love that, because I don't want government to be easy. I want it to be a struggle to get things passed, because that means they really have to think about it and make the legislation better. That's why I wouldn't really have minded if McCain won, even though I think McCain of 2008 is far less interesting as a candidate than McCain of 2000. McCain might have stopped the Democrats in Congress and forced them to write better bills. But maybe Obama will understand that he can't go completely ultra-liberal because he won't get re-elected. We'll see.
Here in Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio got re-elected because all Arizonans care about is punishing people who cross the border illegally to work. Arizonans don't care about Arpaio raiding businesses and holding legal residents against their will without charging them with anything (which he's done more than once) on the off chance there might be illegal immigrants working there. Arizonans don't care about punishing employers who hire illegal immigrants, even though we passed a law against it two years ago. Andrew Thomas, the county attorney (who works closely with Arpaio and also won re-election), has prosecuted either no employers or one (I haven't checked, but Mia's PT thinks it's one, while I read last week that it was none). Arpaio doesn't seem concerned about shutting down these businesses when he actually does catch an illegal immigrant, even though they're breaking the law. Arizonans love Arpaio because he talks tough. Illegal immigration is a very tough thing to deal with, but most people want it to be simple. Arpaio doesn't do anything to solve it, but he makes it look simple. So he won. Again.
Arizona also passed Proposition 102, the amendment to the constitution that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. This depresses me, but doesn't surprise me. Mia's PT and I argued about this on Tuesday, because he's a conservative guy and voted for the proposition. He doesn't have anything against gay people forming domestic partnerships, but doesn't like applying the term "marriage" to it. This gets back to what a "marriage" is. To him, it's a traditional definition, and that tradition should be honored. I didn't get into the idea of marriage as a union between a man and a woman who love each other is a very modern phenomenon, but that's a point. He said that if you ask elementary students what a family is, they'll say a man, a woman, and children. I pointed out that in today's society, half of them will say mommy and a boyfriend or mommy for four days a week and daddy for three, but his point was that they'll say a man and a woman. But that's biology. The idea of "traditional families" is meaningless, because for centuries, illegitimate children were common among the upper class, as marriages were not love matches and the man went off and got a mistress. The wife was, if not happy with this arrangement, resigned to it. I honestly don't get the objections to two men or two women wanting the same recognition as partners that married people get. If you want to start talking about saving the children, that's a different thing. If you want to stop gay people from adopting, that's a whole different argument. It's still stupid, but it's a different argument.
The only thing it comes down to is that people, mostly men, think gay men having sex is disgusting and they don't want to think about it. That's a poor reason to enact laws. But that's what we do in America!
I am curious to live in the Obama United States. I don't think Obama will bring about a huge revolution, because I think he's a fairly typical Democrat. However, the fact that he's neither black nor white will help us get beyond those labels, including calling him "black." If he were light-skinned, would we call him "white" even though his father is black? I love how if you have a drop of "black" blood, you're black, no matter what your skin color looks like. How silly. But I think he will be more successful dealing with the problems the country faces, mostly because he seems, if not smarter than Bush (I think Bush is an idiot, but he could be empirically intelligent), than at least more thoughtful. In this world, you can't go into situations using your "gut." That's the biggest problem I have with Bush. Common sense tells us the sun rotates around the Earth. Your "gut" often gets you in a lot of trouble. Maybe Obama will be a failure. It won't be because he didn't think about things, though.
Is it Inauguration Day yet?