Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Election Is Over!

Finally! It’s over—almost! This election has been filled with more negative, non-constructive politicking than any I can remember. And I can remember back to the first election of President Dwight Eisenhower.

Locally, in my own 3rd District of Louisville, the TV ads by five term Republican Congresswoman, Ann Northup, and Democratic challenger, John Yarmuth, were the most nauseating. With my computer down for the past month, I often had my TV on for background noise. I couldn’t escape the political ads and it seemed that Northup and Yarmuth were at each other’s throats, their commercials regularly following one another. Well, that race is over: at about 9:15 this evening Northup addressed her supporters, conceding the race and congratulating Yarmuth on his win.

Speaking of “throats,” the weirdest election story around here took place at a south Louisville polling place where poll worker was arrested this morning and charged with choking and pushing a voter out the door. The really interesting thing about this story is that, at least according to preliminary reports, the altercation had noting to do with politics.

This election not only seemed to be void of weighty content—except for Iraq—but seemed to be dominated my millionaires running against millionaires. I wonder what it means for the future of our democratic system if one has to be a millionaire to afford to run for national office? If that were true back in 1860, Abe Lincoln would never have run for the presidency, there would have (possibly) been no civil war, and slavery may have continued to be the driving force of the economy of the South.


  1. The area I live in is so overwhelmingly Republican that neither side bothered to run many political ads. But I'm already dreading 2008.

  2. Amazingly, 3 Dems ousted 3 House Reps! I was so glad to see Hostetler lose the 8th....he had to have a bicycle pump to refill his head.

    Locally, we even won few....I'm stll reeling from it all. However, now it's the job of us 'ordinary' Dems to keep the elected ones in check. Pelosi said she won't move to impeach Bush. Mr. Wonderful said maybe that's because she doesn't want to rock the boat too much. The boat is already sunk, so, in my opinion, she may as well rock it. We need to let the rest of the world know that most Americans don't like the $hrub and his policies.

    It was a long day, what with getting up at 3:30 and taking pain meds. But it was worth it.

    Unlike Thomas LB's area, at least the political ads are gone....that's huge relief.

  3. I am happy about the election results but glad the radio and TV ads are gone.

  4. It was an exceptional election. I appreciate that the Bushites have lost command of the Senate as well as the House! God has blessed America! Truly!

  5. I read the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence once a year just to remind myself about how fortunate I am to be a citizen of "This Grand Idea" and how indebted I am to my Swedish grandfather on one side and Dutch great-grandparents on the other for coming to these shores. Mr. Pitt says it oh so well:

  6. Let us be absolutely clear on what has taken place. This was not simply a midterm election, not just a historic running of the table, not just a scathing repudiation of virtually everything the Bush administration has stood for since they swaggered into Washington six long years ago.

    It was so very much more than this.

    The back of the "Neo-conservative Revolution" has been broken, perhaps not for all time - simply because nothing truly evil ever really dies - but for a good long while. The ideology foisted upon an unwilling public by the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Ledeen and the rest, the ideology that has given us slaughter in Iraq and a ravaged reputation abroad, has been exposed and eviscerated. The Project for the New American Century, and all that was spawned from it, has been relegated, for now, to the dustbin of history.

    As unutterably massive as this is, it still does not capture the entirety of the event.

    There are many things that make the United States of America unique, but one stands out above all. Every other nation on Earth has within it cultural, religious or historical threads, often stretching back hundreds if not thousands of years, which bind its people together.

    When you see the Orangemen march in Ireland, when you see the Serbs mark the anniversary of a massacre that happened 900 years ago, when you see the British celebrate Guy Fawkes Day, you are witnessing an echo out of time that, for good or ill, silently reminds the people of those countries that they have a shared heritage which stretches back dozens of generations.

    The United States stands apart from this. We are an invention, the product of an idea, the children of a dream. We come from everywhere, and though our history is stained with far too much blood shed during the unfolding of our own history, the sum total is an amalgamation of the best and worst of the human experience. Nothing like this has ever existed anywhere, ever.

    All we have to tie together this amazing and confusing experiment are a few old pieces of paper. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the only truths that each and every citizen of this country have completely in common. They are our unifying theme, our organizing principle, and we share this together because the basic idea was, and remains, that these belong to us and defend us and set us, now and forever, free.

    It was not always so, and remains today a dream unfulfilled, but in the end, that was the genius of it all. These three documents, and the ideology behind them, were created to be self-improving entities. Much remains to be done to move along the "more perfect Union" Lincoln spoke of, and that work will never be completed ... and that is the point. These things are ours, and they are all that we truly have to bind us together, and our purpose as citizens is to bend our will toward the creation of that more perfect Union.

    Before the sun came up on Wednesday, that shared heritage had been under a savage, unrelenting attack by men and women who have no respect for the idea and the dream which makes us all that we are as a people. The right to a trial has been shattered, the right to stand before your accuser has been removed, the right to be secure in home and person from governmental intrusion has been swept by the boards, and all by a president who once referred to the Constitution as "just a God damned piece of paper."

    These cancers have not been cut out simply because of an election, of course. But the first, vital step towards repairing our shared heritage was taken on Tuesday night, simply because we have at long last returned to the basic Constitutional requirement of checks and balances within this government. No longer will the best interests of the people be slapped aside by people who have no patience for the process that was laid out by wiser and better men. Some logs have been thrown in the road, and for now, a real chance for healing has been gifted to us by the very democratic institutions these people would shun and shatter. The power of the vote, so often maligned and disdained, has been restored.

    A more perfect Union, indeed.

    Much remains to be done. The departure of Donald Rumsfeld from the Pentagon will not heal Iraq, nor will it bring back to life the soldiers and civilians who have died thanks to the hubris of others. The cornering of Dick Cheney has not sapped him of his power. George W. Bush remains an incurious front man whose very existence in that seat of power will stand as a constant threat to the safety and security of this nation and the world entire.

    "U.S. envoy tells Iraqis election won't change policy," reads the Associated Press headline from Wednesday. That, in and of itself, says all we need to know about what remains to be done. For the first time in far too long, however, an opportunity has arrived to do more than scream into the thunderstorm and damn the rain.

    The real work begins now.

    William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author