The Message of 2011

I started a post all about the Republican vilification of government and their elevation of free-market capitalism to fundamentalist, gospel truth (I know, I know – you can’t wait to read that, right? Riveting stuff!) – but then last night happened. Democratic VOTERS happened. And that can’t be pushed aside for another day.

In case you missed it, there were some pretty huge issues elections yesterday. In Maine, voters supported their long tradition of same-day registration, overturning a Republican-backed law that required voters to register at least two days before the election. In Mississippi, voters rejected an amendment which would have made a fertilized egg a “person” under the law. In Ohio, voters trounced the Republican-supported law gutting unions for state employees (including teachers, of course). And, most sweetly of all, the GOOD people of Arizona recalled the self-proclaimed “Tea Party President” and architect of AZ SB1070, Russell Pearce.

This is big. This is HUGE. The major news story out of the 2010 election was the triumph of the Tea Party. The Republicans were already the party of no-tax pledges and small government, but after 2010, they completely bought into the lunatic fringe. Many Democrats in Congress quaked in their boots, too, believing that the country was veering sharply right. But yesterday’s elections show that Democratic voters can be just as passionate as the far right when our principles are on the line. We will fight for democracy by tearing down barriers to voting. We will fight for reproductive rights because these issues are far too complicated and personal to be bound by cartoonishly over-simplified mandates. We will fight to ensure that the people who work FOR US are allowed to organize for fair wages and benefits. And we will fight to remove politicians who make careers out of dehumanizing our neighbors.

Is this a great Democratic victory? Only if Democratic elected officials decide to stand with their constituents again. These are not fringe positions; this election was all about REJECTING extreme opinions. Of course, the money may not be as good. The unholy alliance of corporate interests, racists, the 1%, and religious fundamentalists, has allowed the GOP to raise ridiculous money while espousing ridiculous positions. So, Democratic officials, the ball is in your court. The People don’t like the fringe. The people want their voices heard – through voting rights, reproductive rights, rights to organize in unions, rights to due process for all residents. Will you listen to actual Democrats, or chase the money?

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