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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Post election 2014 debrief - Democrats who did not vote just suck it up

Although I haven't checked Rod Harmon's sources, I'm nevertheless entertained by his imagery. "Thomas Jefferson’s campaign accused opponent John Adams of being a hermaphrodite*. Adams’ camp responded by saying Jefferson was 'the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father'."

"From the Editor" article by Harmon titled "Time to end the wailing and gnashing of teeth", published on November 13, 2014, in Maine's The Coastal Journal. I forced myself to read the article because I instinctively knew, as an American voter, I had to realize the truth of the message. (column below)

Democrats who didn't vote in the 2014 election, including young people, are responsible for the Republican barrage of media claiming their mandate to push forth wasteful policy and greed seeking agendas. At the top of the money wasting list is yet another call to repeal the Health Care Reform  (ACA) i.e., Obamacare.

Obviously, there's nothing a Democratic voter can do but suck up this Republican moment and just move on.  It's somewhat helpful to realize how this Republican year didn't have to happen.  

In fact, Chuck Todd reported on his Sunday November 16 Meet the Press about how Senate elections in Colorado and North Carolina would've turned to Democratic victories if the young voters from 2012, had only gone to the polls in the same numbers as in 2014.

So Democrats are in the post election dumps knowing it didn't have to turn out like it did. Republicans, on the other hand, are screeching about having a mandate.  

Here's what Rod Harmon says:
Time to end the wailing and gnashing of teeth

In the presidential election of 1800, Thomas Jefferson’s campaign accused opponent John Adams of being a hermaphrodite. Adams’ camp responded by saying Jefferson was “the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.”

When he was a member of the Illinois Legislature in 1840, Abraham Lincoln jumped out a second-story window because he didn’t like a bill and wanted to deny the opposing party a quorum.

At the Old State House in Boston, you can view the cane that South Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks used in 1856 to beat abolitionist Sen. Charles Sumner nearly to death – in the Senate chambers. Brooks resigned, but was immediately re-elected by his constituency.

And during the 1920s in Maine, long known as a “progressive” state, the Ku Klux Klan was a major political influence on both state and local politics.

I think about such things w h e n eve r there’s an election cycle and people unhappy with how things turned out bemoan the “good old days” when the Founding Fathers were perfect, big money didn’t play a key role in politics and everyone worked together for the common good.

Of course, that’s all a bunch of bahooey. Politics is, and always has been, a dirty business.

But that doesn’t mean We the People have to be dirty too.
The day after last week’s election, the cries of both jubilation and despair were inescapable. They filled morning radio drive-time, made talking heads even more talky on television, provided newspapers and magazines enough ink to stain fingers black, and burned up every aspect of the Internet as people traded barbed tirades at each other via story comments, Facebook posts, Tweets, Instragram memes and YouTube videos. If we had the ability to send each other holographic messages a la Princess Leia in “Star Wars,” I believe we would have done that too. (It’s coming.)
It had all the makings of a playground argument: “Your party sucks!” “No, YOURS does!” “Nu-uh! “Uh-huh!” Etc.

Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t be concerned about who gets elected, what bills pass and fail, what the agenda of the government is going to be for the next four years or other issues of consequence. On the contrary, I have very opinionated views on numerous “hot button” political issues, on every level.

But, as disappointed as I sometimes am, as delighted as I sometimes am, as bewildered as I sometimes am, I hope that I discuss these issues with someone of an opposing view with at least a modicum of civility. That, even if I do not agree with, and am not persuaded by, another person’s point of view, that we can at least discuss it like reasonable adults using not emotions but knowledge as the basis of our arguments.

I used to think that journalists as a whole thought the same way, because it’s our job to report the facts and be unbiased in our reporting; thus, we’re trained to listen to different points of view without throwing a tantrum. Alas, I can no longer say that, as 24-hour news and political talk shows have given rise to a profession ridden roughshod by red-faced commentators spitting all over the microphone as they try to yell over other commentators piled on the air in a “Brady Bunch”-style manner. In their world, he who yells loudest wins.

So maybe it’s not that politics have gotten dirtier, but that the voices of the loudest, brattiest, most obnoxious people have become more accessible. What was once relegated to street pamphlets and back-of-the-building meetings can now be instantly splashed worldwide via blogs, social media and guest spots on biased “news” broadcasts.

And the more calm, logical, concerned voices of reason get drowned out in the din.

But I haven’t given up hope. I still think that the majority of Americans value civility over conflict, believe that actions should be based on a gathering of facts from all viewpoints and not something they heard on the radio while driving to work, and who think that the minority of people with power are beholden to the majority comprised of working men and women who put them in office and make the economy churn.

It’s never un-American to speak out for what you believe in. It is un-American to say someone doesn’t deserve to express those rights, or that they’re un-American if their views don’t go hand in hand with yours.

It’s our duty – our responsibility – to demand that politicians play nicely together so that common good can prevail.

Yes, it’s a paradox. Yes, it seems like an impossible dream. But I believe it can happen.

So, the election’s over. It’s time to move on. Time to stop the name-calling, the blustering, the presentation of fiction as facts, and work together to make the next four years productive.

I ended my pre-election column with this line, and I like it so much, I’m going to repeat it now. Heck, I may end every column with it from now on, because I think it’s important to remember:

Take care of yourselves, and be kind to each other. rharmon@coastaljournal.com  

*By the way "hermaphrodite" (www.dictionary.com):  a person who has the reproductive sex organs of both a male and a female

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