On the midterm elections of 2018 and a plea for reasoned discourse and thoughtful argumentation.
Well, here we are. It’s the next day. All across the country, people are sleeping in — either sleeping off their Election Night hangovers, or just resting because of the extra effort it took to go to their places of polling. I got up at the usual time, though (well, not quite usual, given the end of Daylight Savings Time last weekend … still adapting to that). First, I didn’t watch the results come in (therefore no drinking), because, well, who wants that sort of stress? No, I checked the results this morning. And second, I live in Oregon where you vote, y’know, pretty much whenever you like up to 8 pm Tuesday. I got my ballot into the drive up, no-wait drop box on Monday, after procrastinating for far too long.
But back to the Day After. For some people it’s the blues (the literal Blue turnover of the House to Democrats), and for some people it’s the … hmmm, how to get a ‘red’ reference in here? … um … they’ll see red (the Red maintainance of the Senate for Republicans). Gubanatorial results are a mixed bag for everyone (draw a state and a governor out of the aforementioned bags and mix-and-match as you like). Ballot amendments — probably the most important items on your ballot other than the Congressional races), were something you likely more or less ignored — mostly because you had no idea what the heck the wording actually meant. Let me know in the comments if I’m wrong on that. Anyway, some people’s ideology won, and some people’s lost.
Except, well, that’s the problem. This idea of ‘win’ and ‘lose.’ That’s what politics has become (and, yes, what it has been in the past, now and again — I’m not so naive as all that, and don’t look at the world through rose-tinted glasses. Aviators, sometimes, but not rose), but it isn’t what politics SHOULD be. In conversation the other day, my mother said something along the lines of, “I don’t agree with either side.” That idea is problematic in itself, in that there aren’t just two sides. We’re so used to that notion in our dualistic society, but, well, there are a lot of ‘sides’; we’re just forced, in our country, to choose between the two top-dog positions that have the loudest voices. But even within those two parties, there are LOTS of different voices, different perspectives, different viewpoints, and different opinions. However, that’s not the point here. The point is that by talking about ‘sides’ at all, we set up this notion of ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ in politics. But that isn’t how it’s supposed to work (or how, anyway, I propose, it SHOULD work). There ARE so many different voices and needs in our society. Our politicians — our representatives — are put there, in the hallowed halls of power, not just to represent their core constituency, but to come to agreements, outcomes, and, yes, compromises, that benefit us as a country, don’t disenfranchise anyone, and don’t cause us to devolve into chaos and war.
Because that’s what can happen if we continue down a road of ‘win’ and ‘lose.’ Once some group ‘loses’ enough, they won’t settle for the operative system anymore and they will rise up, hopefully in a peaceful manner that effects positive change, but that can’t be counted on. Better that our representatives actually represent … but represent the best of us. The best of who we can be as people, as a country: working together; fighting (with words and logical arguments, preferably over a beer) for what they want to achieve, but willing to make compromises and to find common ground; and working to make our country the best it can be, too. Sure, we all have different ideas of what ‘best’ means. But if we get past this idea of win or lose, with no room for “Hey, not what I was hoping for, but that works,” then we can be … awesome … even if it isn’t exactly the awesome we were hoping for.
So, congratulations to everyone who gained a position before the wheel of power. Now, and I’m saying this as directly to you, our representatives, as I can without picking up a phone: don’t sail us onto the rocks just because you feel the need fight over the wheel and ‘win’ control of it. Instead, work with the others whose hands are also on that venerable, polished wood, and ake us out THERE … out into the open waters of hope, and into a bright and shining future.