Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Results: Republicans Swept Out

The results are in, and even the Saccharinist is pretty impressed with the American public today: they have managed to toss out a 12-year long Republican majority in the US Congress, making Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) the first-ever female Speaker of House. Senate results are still pending but are less significant now.

For the Saccharinist, what is most remarkable about this election is the categorization of political affiliation: Republicans = Conservatives, Democrats = Liberals. As we all know, these demarcations are just not accurate and we need new labels for better understanding candidates' and peoples' political inclinations. Why? Because people who are socially or personally conservative -- who impose rules and demands on their families or societies -- are sometimes actually liberal and democratic in their politics. And vice versa. A true small-d democrat is someone who is not only politically inclined to democracy and progressive values, but is socially and personally the same. Sadly, the world is still brimming with conservatism: a lack of respect for individual freedom and for progression of ideas, values and traditions. That is the tragedy of politics today, not just in America, but worldwide.

And what breeds this unbelieveably high level of conservatism worldwide? Closemindedness. When people do not open their minds to new knowledge, to humanity, to understanding their fellow human beings, they remain stagnant and, for some bizarre reason, demand this stagnation on others. That is the danger of conservatism, because there is no tradition, belief, custom, or culture that is not worth re-examining.

Here are some quick election highlights a la the Saccharinist:

--The United States gained independence from Britain in 1776 but it took 230 years for a woman to finally become speaker of the House and contrary to worldwide and American trends on female leadership where the women tend to have to be even more scary and conservative than the men (see Condosleazea Rice and Ang-Hell-a Merkel for the latest incarnations of this), Pelosi is a progressive politician who supports fundamental social issues (such as abortion and immigrant rights) and has been very vocal against the war in Iraq. This is also the closest a woman has ever come to being President of the United States: the Speaker of the House is 3rd in line for the Presidency after the Vice President.

-- The US now has its second-ever Black governor now that Deval Patrick has captured Massachusetts. Still, it's shocking that in a nation where over 13% of the population is Black, and in certain districts that percentage is way over the majority, there has only ever been two Black governors.
--The first-ever Muslim has been elected to the US Congress. He's a Democrat, and he's a Black Muslim, no less. He won in Minnesota which is a harsh commentary on Michigan since it presumably should have been the state to vote in the first-ever Muslim candidate considering its sizeable Muslim population.
--Rick Santorum, whose name has found its way into English dictionaries in a most unpleasant way, has finally been kicked out of the Senate. Maybe now he can start the road toward admitting his true sexual orientation since we all know that the greatest homophobes tend to be homosexuals themselves.
--Contrite former KKK leader Robert Byrd has won a record 9th election as Senator of West Virginia -- he is now the longest-serving member of the US Congress and the longest-serving Senator: 47 years. In his old age, he is finally realizing that some of the horrible things he used to believe in were wrong and he has made a genuine and respectable effort to be vocal about progress, as best he can.

--Iowans have finally voted that lump Jim Leach out of a Congressional office he has been molding over for thirty years. Leach was another example of a person who would relent to progress on a few fronts but still could not totally accept that open-mindedness and progress are the way forward for improving life and society. Good riddance to another on-the-fence politician.

--In bad news:

The Governator has inexplicably won again in a state where both Senators are Democrat and now one of its congresswomen is set to be Speaker of the House. The question remains: how is this bigot winning elections in the most racially, nationally, and religiously diverse state in the nation?

Joe Lieberman has won back his Senate seat which is bad news. But the good news is he is no longer masquerading as a Democrat.

Hilary Clinton has won back her Senate seat thanks to years of modifying her politics to meet the needs and interests of extremely wealthy donors.

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