I've been reading and hearing about a lot of elation from Democrats and generic liberals/progressives in response to the Doug Jones victory over the Alabama pedophile, racist, and all-purpose shudder-inducing creep, Roy Moore. You'll recall, perhaps when his lovely, albeit non-blushing bride, Kayla, boasted that they couldn't possibly be considered bigots because one of their battery of lawyers is "a Jew," and you may also recall that Judge Moore, his very own self, opined that we'd be more likely to achieve the dream of making America great again if slavery were to be reinstituted.
The defeat of these wretched deplorables is surely cause for elation. We'd better not get overly ecstatic, however, because it's in the Democrat's DNA to piss away victory every chance we can, too get a bit overconfident, and to begin celebrating whenever the game is in the first quarter and our team is less than a field goal ahead. Or even down by a touchdown or two.
We'd better not get overly ecstatic, however, because it's in the Democrat's DNA to piss away victory every chance we can, too get a bit overconfident, and to begin celebrating whenever the game is in the first quarter and our team is less than a field goal ahead.
In this morning's paper, for instance, E.J. Dionne, was celebrating the Jones victory and seeing in it the signs of a coming Republican collapse, the rejection of Trumpism by American voters, and the possible return to real American greatness as opposed to the utterly corrupt right wing version of greatness that is so far from great as to be laughable were the consequences of that fascist vision not so stark and lacking in anything resembling anything funny.
On the day following the Jones victory, the talking heads on MSNBC were in openly celebratory moods that sometimes seemed nearly orgasmic, seeing the turning of the Trump tide in the rejection of Moore and, with it, the beginning of the nation's long overdue return to something resembling sanity.
I don't wish to rain on anyone's parade, but let's keep in mind that 70% of white voters in Alabama still voted for a religious hypocrite and mall stalker of teenage girls who claimed to support the U.S. Constitution, though his judicial record showed that he played fast and loose with that foundational document.
And let's also not forget that even when the stakes were so high and the Republican candidate so loathsome, some 60% of Alabama voters couldn't gin up the motivation to get off their asses and go perform their duties or exercise their privilege as citizens of a democracy.
Those aren't numbers to inspire rejoicing. Add to those discouraging words the fact that white people described as "college-educated" also cast the majority of their ballots for Roy Moore and we ain't got much to brag about here. As for those college educations, the word "education" really shouldn't be seen so predictably in the company of the word college. Most of our colleges really don't "educate" those who matriculate; they merely train technocrats, business hucksters, medical professionals, and lawyers in their narrow disciplines, with far too little education in an array of things that should matter, especially in the modern world, and in a country that hopes to elect reasonable people to oversee its affairs and tend to its best interests.
We're a long way from having such an educational system. George W. Bush, for instance—no one's idea of the sharpest knife in the drawer—was awarded degrees from both Yale and Harvard. And Trump brags about being so damn smart, with the "best words," the "best brain," and the "best grades, with a degree from the Wharton School of Business that shall, henceforth, bear well-deserved shame for having conferred such a dubious distinction on such a specimen as the Donald. There's way too much "pay to play" in government, and in our colleges and universities, as well.
We can't always depend on black people to redeem us as they did in Alabama where 96% of their votes went to Doug Jones. And we can't pretend any longer that racism doesn't drive American politics. We can't console ourselves with the recurring fiction that the younger generation will save us (according to a recent poll, millennials sort themselves out equally as Republicans and as Democrats). Non-voters are still a bigger demographic chunk than either Democrats, Republicans, or both designations of active voters combined.
And, lest we forget, the DNC has an all-too-frequent predilection for bad judgment, infighting, stupid strategizing, insipidity, cowardice, and lack of willingness to stand proud and tall for the principles of the party. On most issues, the Democrats are in synch with a big majority of American voters. That fact notwithstanding, the party and too many of its candidates behave as though it and they are ashamed of what we believe. From our support of unions, our commitment to equal rights for all, to gun control, environmental policy, and income disparity, we stand with and for the majority. Except for when we'd rather not say so too loudly.
Remember, too, that we're the people who ran Al Franken (aka Stuart Smalley) out of the U.S. Senate based on allegations which, even if true, didn't amount to much. Still, it gave some Democrats the opportunity to do a little moral one upmanship, and counter-productive feminist posturing about implacable intolerance for "inappropriate conduct" that is not only ill-defined, vague, and subjective, but not the kind of thing that can be successfully legislated against. And even if a way could be found to define or criminalize what is "inappropriate," Al Franken would have been the first to vote for and fight for a bill that did that. The idea I've heard is that the Democrats sacrificed Al to "shame" the Republicans. That is maybe the most ridiculous thing I've heard in this most absurd year when it seemed that "Republican shame' was the perfect example of an oxymoron.
So, fellow lefties, these woods are dark and deep and we're nowhere near out of 'em yet. Before too many more champagne corks get popped, we'd better stay real about what's going on here. Hillary Clinton said that the rejection of Roy Moore signals the nation is "turning against Trumpism," but even with polls showing Trump's approval rating at an unprecedented 32% low for a president in his first year in office, the stuff that the right wing is doing will take a long and hard effort to un-do.
And the electorate's record of apathy, laziness, ignorance, and tolerance of most any outrage isn't much of a hedge against the fear and loathing those who are decent, caring, or even marginally sane have endured throughout this dreadful year and into this bleak winter of our discontent.