Wha’ Happened This Week? So You’re Never LATE TO THE PARTY.
1. People picked a president & other stuff! The election ended! EVERYONE WALKED AWAY HAPPY! Just kidding… but a majority of the American people did, by definition. ‘Cuz it’s now clear Obama won the popular vote as well as the winner-takes-all electoral vote. Boom. (Here’s him thanking his grassroots staff — spoiler: he does not drop the mic. But he does drop down into emotional-land & it’s quite amazing to witness.) And Tuesday was also a night of big wins for people who are into things like gay rights, pot, and disenfranchising old white men who think they know how rape & pregnancy work when really they do not. And a big night for people who’re kinda creeped out by the idea of buying government. In fact, it was generally a big night for members of our nation who are cool with truth. And truth’s quiet cousin, math — as America crowns its nerd hero, the crazy-accurate statistician Nate Silver, and gives the paragon of prognostication some meme love (you know how I like my memes). Two favorites:
And the slightly lower-brow:
Really, talkin’ big picture here, the election results pretty dramatically favored the future over the past & seemed to be a collective “bring it!” to the changing cultural tide in our country. The first openly gay senator was elected, the first Asian-American female senator (who also happens to be Hindu), more blacks and Latinos voted than ever before, and New Hampshire’s sending the first ever all-female delegation to Congress. (Though, as the New York Times argues, it’s still not enough.) And Obama, it turns out, was re-elected with about as much fervor as he was originally elected, despite a weak economy & crappy job numbers… which hasn’t happened for a president since FDR. A HuffPo writer largely credits the millennial generation and suggests there’s no goin’ back now. And David Simon, journalist and “The Wire” writer, eloquently notes on his site:
“America will soon belong to the men and women — white and black and Latino and Asian, Christian and Jew and Muslim and atheist, gay and straight — who can comfortably walk into a room and accept with real comfort the sensation that they are in a world of certain difference, that there are no real majorities, only pluralities and coalitions. The America in which it was otherwise is dying, thank god, and those who relied on entitlement and division to command power will either be obliged to accept the changes, or retreat to the gated communities from which they wish to wax nostalgic and brood on political irrelevance.”
Talking about diversity — America definitely did what the world hoped it would! …Well, the world except for Pakistan. Draw your own conclusions there.
All that was left after the relatively early Obama victory on election night was to watch FOX news freak out as reality hit, check out the alternative reality in which Romney did get elected, and listen in as the savviest Republicans out there began the necessary process of analyzing not just what went wrong but what “right” would really look like in the future. Oh, and of course plan for 2016. Haha — noooooo!!!
For this little blogger, it will be a joy to leave the partisan politics aside in the coming weeks (hopefully). And I wrap up by saying that I hope, as Rachel Maddow hopes, that the two-party system will emerge stronger as a result of this election cycle:
“…if the Republican Party and the conservative movement and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum-sealed, door-locked spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good and denying the factual, lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived as a nation of the constructive debate about competing feasible ideas about real problems.
Last night the Republicans got shellacked, and they had no idea it was coming. And we saw them in real time, in real humiliating time, not believe it, even as it was happening to them.
And unless they are going to secede, they are going to have to pop the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside of if they do not want to get shellacked again. And that will be a painful process for them, but it will be good for the whole country, left, right, and center.”
2. Fiscal cliff?? Yes, at the end of the rocky road of election season is this fall-off we’re gonna hear more & more about in the coming weeks as the doomsday that the Mayans didn’t predict looms and as everyone gets more & more excited to trot out their Thelma and Louise analogies. So here’s the super basics: on January 1st at 12:01am the Bush tax cuts will EXPIRE — meaning rich people will have to pay taxes again. Also a 2% payroll tax cut will expire — meaning many of us will have to pay more. All this helps bring in some big moola to counter the huge deficit we’ve seen ticking off for years. And the other way to bring money in? Not spend it in the first place. So the third ledge of the “fiscal cliff” is spending CUTS that will go into effect immediately — cuts for defense spending but also domestic programs. Yay the government is balancing its checkbook! Buuuut… this might not be the way to do it. The speed and nature of these changes could be “disasterous,” as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke said when he coined the evocative term “fiscal cliff” earlier this year. It’ll affect job growth for sure and could, could lead us back to another recession. So… that’s what the government will be doing between now and Christmas, thanks for asking.
3. Just a little wrap-up from my PROPOSITIONS blog post that went around last week — almost everything I suggested came to pass (didn’t get the death penalty repealed). But guys, I’m here to apologize: I woefully overlooked the MOST IMPORTANT MEASURE, which was, of course, the “little local measure with global implications — Los Angeles County’s Measure B, which requires porn performers to use condoms in adult films.” Yes, yes, it’s now nevertheless the law despite my failure to champion it. Score one for safe sex and porn-stars-as-role-models everywhere. But, as Jon Stewart asked on Thursday night’s Daily Show… “are all porn decisions community based?” If voters are gonna get to choose their porn preferences, then we’ve got a lot of work to do:
I can’t wait for the next election cycle’s Smarty at the Party Propositions cheat-sheet. Heh.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK, from Ernest Hemingway:
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”