(A History Repeats Itself blog, written in 2012)
I know I made some people mad this political season. But hopefully I had good reasons.
I have always been a passionate person. I think it helps carry me through writing a novel. It helps me get things done when I really believe in what I'm doing. I'm not the type to just shrug my shoulders and go back to watching TV.
But this presidential election I became fearful, and that's never a good thing when it comes to voting. It's never good to say, oh my god, if we let that guy win we're all doomed! I saw many Republicans doing that and swore I would not let fear dominate me.
Honestly, I don't know what they were afraid of. We've already lived through Obama's first four years and the next four can only get better. But when you hear some companies say that they will lay people off if Obama gets re-elected, then you get some idea where their fear comes from. Many companies, for instance, fear Obamacare, but they don't want to wait and give it a chance to work.
My fear came from a completely different area. I am editing a book for my co-partner in Dancing with Cannibals, and it is all about oppressive regimes in Africa. We all know America has had a less than stellar history in messing with other countries, installing dictators who are friendly to our resource interests. It's not a good thing to do, and for the countries in Africa, after colonialism ended, the regimes didn't care at all about making improvements to the country but just took the money they made on resources and kept it for themselves. We know this is happening, but editing this book of Dicho's has thrust me right into the middle of it.
The problem is, once those dictators are in there, how do we get them out? How do we know the next one won't be just as bad? Should we depend on the internal uprisings, and support them? We never supported Fidel Castro overthrowing Batista back in 1959. And that made our relations with Cuba strained. There was talk that Kennedy was going to try to improve relations with Castro before he was killed. That would have been the right thing to do.
Anyway, as a Democrat, I heard all the talk about how all the rich people and companies and Koch Brothers, etc., are supporting the Republican Party, and that seemed to me like another attempt of the rich to take over another country and make the rest of us poor – kind of like creating a third world country right here. That's why there was so much talk about defending the middle class in America. Because without unions and good public schools, our country is lost to oppression.
So yeah, put all that together and you can see why I got a little passionate this election.
Then there was my husband, who I encouraged to run for state assembly. He was asked during the height of his busy season on the golf course and was inclined to say no. But I told him they want you, and you'll never get another chance if you say no. The Democrats were trying to get as many people as they could to run against incumbent Republicans, who dominate the assembly in Wisconsin. I knew I would have to do most of the work until his season ended, but I also gave him ideas that he could handle when he wasn't busy. Finally, after knocking on some doors and getting my teeth kicked in, and seeing he wasn't making the phone calls or otherwise worrying about it, I turned my attention to other ideas.
Nothing I tried worked very well, and I can't say it's because we didn't have Democratic assistance. I'm very grateful to the people who tried to help us. But the insistence on fund raising was contrary to our abilities. I don't like to think we have to have money to win in politics. I know they all say we do. But Joe did not want to call people and ask for money. And I could not. With his over a decade as town chairman, he should have called a lot of people asking for support, but he didn't. He didn't get anyone to write him a letter of support to the newspapers. The day before the elections he finally went door to door by himself, and he had a great time. If only we'd known that sooner!
So for the most part, we hoped that a Democratic win by the others in our state would pull him and other assembly candidates into the win column. For that reason, too, I really pushed, at least on Facebook, to convince others to vote Democrat.
And now I'm exhausted. I'm like the balloon with the slow leak that's about out of air. I think we all have to direct our passion where it suits us best. I think worrying that whoever wins is going to lead the country down the wrong path is the wrong thing to do.
But one thing I will add, before you go. The Tea Party must go. The people who insist on mixing religion with politics must stop. This country is one of diversity and freedom of religion. It must stay that way. Religion and politics do not mix. You do not have to be Christian to be a good person.
If we can agree on that, we might actually be able to reach all kinds of political compromises, the kinds that help this country grow.
Oh, and Republicans? Try to find a better candidate next time. Maybe change your platform image a little? Seeing Romney talk was kind of like what I would imagine George McClellan trying to tell the country the war was wrong, after he lost so many as General after Antietam.