by joe courter
There was a very happy vibe at the Farmers Market on Nov. 7, one day after the election results came in. That blue spot on the north Florida map was a source of pride for ex-pat Gainesvillians in other cities as well as locally. As with the nation, organizing trumped money and hopes triumphed over fears. Here locally, it was people power knocking on doors, phoning, mailing, and, most importantly, unity. Nationally, it was tactics on the Electoral College realities; and what a relief that, even with Florida SNAFU’ed, our electoral votes were not even needed. Despite the weak media analysis on issues, the Republicans were very helpful in providing unforgettable moments of inarticulateness and ham-handed voter suppression, and they clarified for us who we were up against.
Ironically, the national scene is quite unchanged between the House, Senate and Executive branches. Thanks to all these safe districts that have been drawn, there was not a lot of turnover; some gains on the Left, and some even further-to-the-right Republicans coming in. Will the Right dare to enforce four more years of non-cooperation? How far will Obama compromise? The big question to me is whether Obama will call on we the people to back him up and, as with FDR, make him do the stuff we really want and need, or if we just watch.
Elsewhere you will find Juan Cole’s list of 10 things we should work to make Obama do; and of course it is an incomplete list. We need to get our electoral system into independent hands. According to Norm Ornstein on Fresh Air on Nov. 7, the U.S. is alone in not having an independent body overseeing its elections. The U.S. drone policy is creating enemies more than helping things; without even firing, they are terrorizing innocent people, let alone all the collateral damage they have unleashed. Science and reality-based thinking needs to be supported over ideological belief systems, be it Creationism or the benefits of an unregulated “free market.” Newly elected area congressman (and Tea Party darling)Ted Yoho, in a forum I attended, in one answer called for less government spending, letting private industry take the lead, and extolled how great the1960’s commitment to go to the moon was. THAT WAS GOVERNMENT SPENDING that led to all the spin-off benefits. Sheeesh!
We had great gains locally on the County Commission and School Board. Thank you to all who made that happen. We citizens need to support these bodies as they do their work, go to meetings, offer helpful comments and have their back.
Voting is important, but it is but a small part of what civic responsibility is all about.