Maybe We Should Just Quote Rodney King
As one looks back at the weeks following the election, some of us canít help but ask "what went wrong," while others bask in the glow of their victory.
Clearly, as evidenced from writings on this website, emotions around this election run high.
So high that this past week I encountered a woman who responded when I asked how she was doing: "Terrible, it was just such a terrible election."
I understand the emotion behind her feelings.
Some of us looked at this election from what we saw as a "good versus evil" perspective.
Those of us with a social conscience view incumbent State Senator Alex Mooney as somewhat evil in nature.
To us, his views are seen as exclusionary and divisive, his rhetoric, hateful.
[I have a question I need to interject here to those of you who are most likely disagreeing with me and will judge this based on your one narrow view of who I am. When Senator Mooney makes that aspect (and, in turn, me) a key part of his campaign and fundraising tool, what do you really expect me to do?
Shut up? Hide? Or maybe, as it was suggested on The Tentacle, I should just move?
Well frankly folks, I have had it on that. Until you personally have been in the center of someoneís attacks on your person, do not judge me, as you have no idea what you are talking about as you havenít experienced it. And I am entitled - whether you like it or not - to express my feelings surrounding that any way I see fit.]
But we are not talking only about the exclusionary, divisive rhetoric, though that is what hits many of us at the core.
That, in part, is the impetus for the emotional charge surrounding his re-election.
Also - since we canít point to one thing he has done to help Frederick County - that makes it that much more obvious to us that he is an ineffective flop as a legislator. And we are confused as to why he was re-elected. It furthers along the charge as this distresses us because we see it as having to endure four more years of ineffective representation, if he even attempts to represent those who disagree with him.
He really doesnít seem to represent his supporters. He really only seems to represent himself, which is scary.
Oh, and can anyone honestly think that if I called Senator Mooney on any issue of importance that I would, one get to even speak with him? And two, have him help me?
It seems that those who disagree with our views seem to focus on social justice issues as the flash points for their arguments against us.
For instance, they point out that we support a womanís right to choose (i.e. kill babies). We support fair and equitable wages and safe workplaces for all people, civil rights for all people - those types of things that the Mooneys canít wrap their arms around as they cometh not from their interpretation of the Bibleís writings.
In looking at those I know who supported Senator Mooney, they fell into three basic groups.
The first group supports his views (the ones some see as divisive and exclusionary - see above) and that is the "Bible based" support group.
The second group supports Senator Mooney because they believe he can do something about taxes.
Unfortunately Mr. Mooney has spent so much time on the social justice front and becoming Governor Parris Glendeningís opponent number one, that he has had no time to spend on reducing taxes.
He hasnít even introduced legislation to that end.
Yet, there are those who think that Mr. Mooney was better than his opponent, Sue Hecht, whom they perceived as someone who would raise taxes to pay for all those programs that the "Bible based" supporters do not like.
The third group is the "blind following the blind" supporters - the Republicans who voted for Mr. Mooney simply because he is a Republican.
What I will never understand is the number of Republicans I know who can not stand a thing Alex Mooney represents, who know he is a failure in Annapolis, yet voted for him only because they would not vote for a Democrat (just as I do not understand Democrats who only vote for Democrats).
So there you have the parameters of the support systems surrounding this election as seen through this writerís eyes.
In turn, those who fear and loathe Alex Mooneyís views worry, also, that Congressman Bob Erhlich has those same views. How could we not? Their names were together on huge - and small - signs all over the district?
And, of course, we are not too keenly happy with President Bush, who, while sneaking in attacks on our civil liberties under the cloak of homeland security and covering it up by whipping us into a war frenzy, seems to be ignoring the fact that the economy is going into the crapper.
At some point, I promise this will make sense.
Since the election so many people have gone on and on about how this election was nasty.
They seem to blame only Sue Hecht for it.
Come on, folks, this is what fuels the fire that has lead to the explosion of ideological outbursts in columns and letters on The Tentacle.
Alex Mooneyís campaign was as nasty as Sue Hechtís was (if one can even say hers was).
Attempting to infiltrate her campaign. Headquarters break-ins (I know not proven). The malicious, nearly slanderous attacks spread about by those who opposed him. Misleading and mean-spirited mailings and the list can go on.
Yet, those who claim that Ms. Hecht was some sort of agent of evil, neglect to point out that their "hero" was - if nothing else - just as bad.
They, then, claim that Kathleen Kennedy Townsendís campaign was mean and tarnished as a result while neglecting to point out that Mr. Ehrlich was right there throwing the punches while being condescending and mean right next to her.
And thatís the rub.
Imagine watching on election night and seeing everything you believe in losing before your eyes.
Imagine watching as the governor-elect asks his supporters to support him in reaching out to the diverse community that is Maryland, while his supporters stand in silence, while at the same time your candidate for governor admonishes her supporters when they boo her congratulations to the governor-elect.
Two aspects of class actually, his reaching out and her immediately throwing her support behind her opponent.
Yet, it seems that all we hear from his supporters is how truly terrible Ms. Townsend is - how bad her policies are, how bad her campaign was (Thanks, Parris, your asinine comments really helped.) and so on that seemed like the victors were rubbing her, our, nose in it.
Again, setting off an emotional charge.
Then, of course, we watch in horror as President Bush is rewarded, with the Republicans claiming both houses of Congress.
I attribute it to nothing more than fear of war. What else could it be?
Poll after poll shows the majority of Americans do not think like Mr. Bush does and feel his priorities are not theirs, so it seems the war thing, or fear of it, is the only reason voters could have voted as they did.
But then again, all politics are local, so when someone voted for candidate "a" in Arizona or candidate "b" in Delaware, were they thinking, "this has national ramifications?"
So maybe voters were simply voting for whom they wanted to win and not giving Mr. Bush the mandate he seems to believe he was given.
But again, Republican operatives - Mr. Bush included - couldnít help but gloat and point out that good vanquished evil, just as we were seeing it the other way around.
It isnít much fun hearing from the victors that the vanquished were evil - their campaigns mean and their supporters bad.
Getting beaten is one thing.
Getting beaten by a gracious victor is something else all together.
If we felt that we were truly respected for our beliefs, which writings in columns and letters tend to disprove; if we were truly made to feel we would be a part of the solution instead of being viewed as "the problem;" if we actually thought we would receive the representation we believe we will not now receive, then we could be more comfortable with the results.
Those who lose should not be made to beg to be included in a process that is rightfully theirs, no matter their party, no matter their beliefs.
Those who win should be gracious enough to respect the rights, feelings and beliefs of those who did not. It is their responsibility to reach out and include.
Letís hope when we take back the presidency, Congress and our state and local offices, we will do that.
I saw a woman wearing a button recently that read "Dissent Protects Democracy."
It is a true statement, even though some who write for The Tentacle may not agree.
So, until the time when more favorable elements to me are back in control, I will practice dissent, just as when those you will view as not being favorable are back in control, I expect you to do.
Canít we just dissent while respecting each other, though?
Well, itís a hope, because, after all, we are all in this together no matter how bad or how good it gets, so wouldnít be nice if we acted like it?