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Good Riddance
Russ Rankin
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deMOCKcracy Mid-Term Election Hangover

Nothing kills the joy of practicing ones right to vote like waking up the next day to the dubious result. The GOP's seizure of control in all three government branches wasn't only not what I wanted, it sent a palpable shiver of unease down my spine. Here in Santa Cruz, the three open City Council seats were won (surprise surprise) by the three people who'd had them before. Once again my beloved hometown, known worldwide as a hotbed of liberalism, showed that when it comes to city politics we're as conservative as the next town. If nothing changes nothing changes and it would seem that's just what the entrenched old boys network of downtown merchants wants. Oh well, at least there were plenty of state propositions to vote for. Oops. Conservatives statewide obviously turned up at the polls in force as the silent majority stayed home and watched Jeopardy. Ironically Prop. 52 (same day voter registration), had it passed, would have given the marginalized and apathetic a chance to turn up on a moment's notice and actually participate in the public arena. Nationwide we ended up with a landslide of Republican victories ensuring GOP control of all branches of government. Not exactly a reassuring thought. Why this massive surge to the right? Because Americans watch a lot of television. If one views CNN, MSNBC, or any of the other 24 hour disaster-a-thons enough, they will become convinced that they are surrounded by terrorists and snipers, and that Saddam Hussein is lurking outside their bedroom window with a stinger missile. Fear is a great motivator. Bullied by the constant media scare tactics, the average American may soon come to believe that their only chance to live safely is to give even more power with an even broader interpretation to the present administration. After all, the President seems to have a firm grasp on who the bad guys are, having already sussed out that darned "axis of evil" and exposed them to the world.

I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. When the Americans who have the most to gain by educated voting are effectively marginalized and panicky, fear-driven Americans turn up in droves to vote we are in trouble. Even a cursory glance at history tells me that, on a global scale, America is reaping what it has sown so vociferously for the last half-century or more and that, until we as a conscious nation change our actions we will undoubtedly continue to suffer the same unfortunate results.

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