Thursday, November 09, 2006

Brand New Day?

I want to be excited about the elections. I am certainly more heartened by these results than I would have been by the opposite outcome. I was flabbergasted (and cheered spontaneously) when I learned about Rumsfeld's 'resignation'. I am glad the Democrats gained a majority in both houses.

But I'm wary, I have to admit. Things have been deteriorating BADLY for a while now, and it's as if the Democrats only just woke up in the last few months. Sure they've been starting to speak up about some of the problems in recent months, but it's felt very small, and very late. Maybe this sea change will give them heart again. Maybe they will actually hold some people accountable for their actions. Maybe Bush won't be able to ignore dissent with that shit-eating smirk of his any longer. But I don't think that will happen by itself. We're going to have to hold people's feet to the fire, and I'm just not sure I know how to do that. Keep squawking, I guess that's really my only tool at present. I'm not a multimillionaire who can make my pleasure and displeasure known with gargantuan contributions. Part of the problem for me and the Democrats of course is that we all can agree things are bad right now, but alternate solutions haven't really been proffered. I know that my radical Quaker policy of no war at any time isn't one that will garner much support from this or any Congress (at least not any time soon). I find myself toying with a 'you break it you buy it' feeling about Iraq, yet also taking note of how many Iraqis don't want us there. Not sure what kind of percentage we're talking about (does anyone know?), but when they don't want us, and we don't have a good plan for being there, it's pretty hard watching the death count rise.
Is this just a whole lot of cynical whinging? Maybe. I know that change never comes as quickly or dramatically as we want it to. I also know the slow, imperceptible changes that do make a difference come from diligent efforts of people who often never see any progress. It too over 300 years for slavery to end in this country, and there were brave, principled people working to end it from the very beginning. Their work made a difference, even if they never knew it. So, I'm taking some pleasure in these election results, including (I freely admit) some gloating over the uncharacteristically furrowed brow on Bush. Santorum is out. Rumsfeld is out. Those two facts alone are cause for celebration. But I'd like to be a lot more enthusiastic about the whole affair. What am I missing here? Anyone have thoughts they want to share, ideas I should examine more closely? I'd love to hear them. Who is rejoicing out there right now? And what are you rejoicing about?


Rebecca said...

My excitement is also tempered with anxiety... like I don't trust the results. (Be careful what you wish for!) And like you, I worry about how much mopping up can realistically happen in the next 2 years, and I'm reminding myself that none of these people are saviors... But it's a pretty amazing outcome.

I hope the Democrats' rhetoric about working together will become a reality. And how do they do that, if they are simultaneously opening investigations, pulling up the carpet to see if it's icky and dirty under there...

brian said...

I'm feeling pretty excited, even though I agree with what some are saying - the Democrats didn't win, the Republicans lost.

Still, before the elections, Nancy Pelosi rattled off in an interview this long list of good things the Democrats would do right away if they won both the House and the Senate. I'm feeling pretty excited about that.

It's a period of hopeful change, and that's a good thing. There'll be plenty of time for griping later if the Democrats don't follow through.

Patrick said...

I wouldn't say I'm 'griping' exactly; it's more uncertainty than actual complaint at the moment. But I'd love to know what that list was that Nancy Pelosi said; any idea where it might be? I bet that would get me pretty excited. And I do like her.