Facades

Just a placeholder for a few days.  I’m working on the novel, honest, and tend to forget that I have social media to attend.  Be nice if someone would tend it for me, but it is what it is.  So, for time being, something photographical.

 

Facades, CWE, November 2014

Stop Shooting At Each Other, Please

I’m 60.

What this means for the purposes of this post is that I lived through the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King Jr.  I watched the reactions of the nation on the news, listened to the discussions that went on constantly for weeks and months (and in many ways are still going on), and I saw my neighborhood change in anticipation of a kind of Armageddon.  I remember the summer of  1968 seeing many of my neighbors sitting on front porches and steps holding shotguns and rifles, some with pistols strapped onto their waists, waiting for the wave of rioters to come charging down the street.  St. Louis, it seemed, was ready.  Why?  Because we could see it on the national news, every night it seemed, that somewhere whole sections of some cities—Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, others—were burning.  Troops patrolled the streets protecting first responders (we didn’t call them that then) from the occasional sniper who must have thought it “cool” to take potshots in the midst of the chaos.  We could see what was happening and a lot of people had decided it would not happen here.

Very few people were talking about the why of it all.  It was tragic enough that the assassinations had occurred, but I remember many people being baffled at the reaction.

Roll back the years to the civil rights coverage in the South and many middle class whites in other parts of the country were completely stunned by what the police were doing to poor blacks.  We could see it, right there on television, and it was a shock.

But we were Doing Things to redress those inequities, weren’t we?  Wasn’t that what the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was all about?  It was going to get better, so why all this violence?  Couldn’t they see?

We didn’t ask, many of us, what it was we couldn’t see.  All many people knew was that laws were being passed, things were being made to improve, we were addressing the problems.  We saw that.

And then we saw the riots.

The gap between them was poorly filled if at all and most people, fearful, made so by the drumbeat of media coverage that concentrated on spectacular images and the sounds of outrage, reacted, often predictably, and many of them shut down their sympathy, barred the doors, and prepared to defend themselves and their property.

What was in that gap?

Everything of any consequence to the issues at hand.

Whole multiple histories of dysfunctional relations between segments of society that knew very little about each other beyond what was shown them by the media.  The meaning of King, which was not the same for everyone.  Simply the fact that his assassination and the subsequent explosions of civic unrest were not isolated incidents with no backstory, no connection, no justifications, no context.

Officer Darren Wilson, who was brought before a Grand Jury on the charge of killing an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, was acquitted by that grand jury.  Here is a link to the transcripts.  I suspect many people will not read them.  They will get their information from the media, from friends, from hearsay, from the gestalt through which they move, osmotically and coincidentally usefully, and mostly what was said at the grand jury will be regarded as unimportant.  Why?  Because minds were made up within hours or days of the shooting and likely will not be swayed by post hoc explanations.  Because there are two extremes, one of which says a cop can do no wrong in the line of duty and the other that says a cop is never to be trusted, and people fall along the spectrum between these two without bothering, often, to consider there might be a third set of determinants.  But because, really, it doesn’t matter so much why one white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager compared to the larger question of why the situation leading to that existed, occurred, and is now being vigorously shoved to one side by the institutions upon which we rely to explain the world to us.

And it just got muddier in the wake of riots.

Riots.  Why riots?

Didn’t we expect them?  Haven’t we been telling ourselves that this would occur for weeks now?  Haven’t we been gearing up for some kind of O.K. Corral showdown pretty much since the announcement that there would be a grand jury?  The new reports on people worrying over their businesses and homes, the governor calling out the National Guard, seeing businesses boarding up their storefronts in anticipation of the coming battle, acquaintances finding a way to leave town, the constant tension-building delays.  Sure looked like we expected what we got.

And the rest of the story?

We had no social media back in the Sixties, just rumor and gossip, phone calls, kitchen table discussions.  But it amounted to much the same thing—as soon as it became newsworthy that violence might occur, we primed ourselves for a fight.

Personally, I’m surprised it wasn’t worse, given the tempers and the artillery present in the streets and the weeks of stoking we’ve had.

And who actually rioted?

In my opinion, anything that constituted a “riot” occurred when the police began moving to shut down demonstrations which were till then peaceful when a few assholes decided it would be “fun” to brick some windows.  It doesn’t take much to push a seething situation over the line.

The mistake always made by the police is to treat everyone then as one of those destroying property. A conceptual homogenization occurs, devolving to Us and Them, and everyone falls into one of two categories, and both sides feel justified in their actions.  The “issue at hand” instantly transforms from where it started into something more primal, stops being about what everyone was there for to begin with.  The protestors find themselves moved from “we’re here to protest a civil injustice” to “we have a right to be here and do this” and the police move from “we’re here to keep order” to “we have to shut this all down now.”  The original message gets lost in the ensuing struggle over the new mandates.

And we have more footage for the evening circus of unruly people defying authority, etc etc.

We need to stop telling ourselves to get ready for fights that may not happen.  We need to stop pumping ourselves up in anticipation of the worst possible outcome.  We have to stop scaring ourselves.  We have to stop giving airtime to alarmists who call out the national guard at the drop of a hint.  We have to stop acting like the only solution to any problem is to shoot.

The lack of comparable media on the community and its problems is telling.  Certainly there have been some stories about the history of Ferguson and the nature of the disconnect, but they are far outweighed by the rhetoric of pain and the ominous forecasting of worse to come.  I’m encouraged in this instance by all the people and groups who are striving to put constructive information before the community, to promote dialogue, and address that all-important context, but people react most strongly when threatened, and there has been more than a little threat inherent in our media coverage.

St. Louis didn’t burn that summer of 1968.  There was trouble, certainly, but not that.  I don’t know why.  I do know that after that things began to change, across the country.  They changed sufficiently that I, as a not-particularly-observant white guy, thought we were getting past our national curse of racism.  I can’t deny that things today are much better than they were then, but the things that linger, that cling like a rotting caul to our collective psyché, I admit have surprised me in the last ten years.  Maybe it requires an oversized symbol to force these things into the open.  I’m ashamed of my own past fears and prejudices.  The nature of racist expression has changed somewhat and now seems to express itself more as economic distinctions than hatred of skin color, but the fear mongering we experience daily over questions of immigration and economic inequity and education and glass ceilings eventually eats away the camouflage hiding the real character of the problem.  We put a thick coat of paint on a house that still needs major structural attention.

But it would really help if we stopped telling ourselves to shoot at each other.

Local vs National?

A curious thing came out of the midterms.  The fact that a lot of GOP candidates won their races (many by a nose hair) and yet in those same districts more or less progressive referenda also won.  Legalization of marijuana and the legitimization of gay marriage being the two most prominent.  This is curious when you consider that for the last umpteen years now the GOP has made its bones by being obsessively loudmouthed social naysayers.  People seem to have been voting for them because they are opposed to all the things identified as signaling the End Times of Civilization, most of which can be lumped loosely under the rubric of “Permissiveness.”  Abortion, sex education, liberal arts education, science, critical thinking, and so forth have all come in for pulpit-drubbings by various right wing candidates.

And yet, it seems, even while in local to state races the electorate has been rewarding such rhetoric, when given the chance to actually vote on specific policies the trend would appear in the opposite direction, if only by a smidgen.

According to polls, the country has maintained more or less the same split over abortion, namely that the majority favors its legality.  On the local level, the Right have resorted to playing very narrow games of accreditation for facilities in order to shut down clinics and in some cases have enacted what may appear to the uninvolved perfectly reasonable waiting period laws, but every “personhood” amendment on the ballot across the country failed.  When it comes to the actual core issue—a woman’s right to choose—that divide doesn’t budge.  (If they keep playing games like this, though, we may discover in the next couple of election cycles that a greater majority favor legal access than we previously assessed as people get tired of the brinksmanship.)

The War on Drugs, declared under Nixon lo these many decades past, is losing its moral legitimacy with more and more people.

And finally Texas school books have been purged of anti-science rhetoric.  Now all we have to do is achieve the same in history.

So what exactly is going on?  If right wing demagogues are being elected to “represent” districts while at the same time those districts are rejecting the social programs being pushed by these demagogues, some head-scratching is in order.

It may not be as baffling as it first appears.  It just depends on what battle we think is being fought.

It occurs to me that, stepping back and trying to see it as a whole, the closest fit would be to see this as a variation on the Civil War.  Specifically, the debate between local and federal control.  It is a fact that most of the men who fought for the Confederacy were not slave owners, they had no direct stake in the Peculiar Institution (although it would be a mistake to maintain that they were totally unaffected by the question), and that there were deep pockets of abolitionist sentiment throughout the South. Of the multiple reasons they would fight so ardently, the one that makes the most sense is the “Because you’re down here” issue.  They did not think of themselves as Americans in the sense of a single national political (or even social) entity, but as a general idea expressed through regional tradition.  Culturally, it would difficult to describe a New England seaman, an Appalachian hardscrabble farmer, and a Louisiana riverman as belonging to the same social aggragate.  We are, as we like to say, a nation of immigrants, and no one abandoned their heritage when they got off the boat, even if they tried.  We are a nation of villages.

When the Civil War broke, the driving political question was where the primary power to change lives lay.  Locally?  Where most people, even in the North, naturally assumed?  Or centrally, at the federal level, with laws emerging from the minds of people most of the country did not know and did not understand and could, it would be reasonable to assume, knew nothing of “how we live here.”

This is not to say we lacked any kind of national identity.  Far from it, but for the most part the two—local, or regional, and national—had little real interaction.  You could be an American and believe you lived in a country of fellow Americans, without that ever meaning you had to do anything to accommodate the sensibilities of people living a thousand miles away.  Or even a hundred, for that matter.  It became an issue when those people came to your area and began telling you that, in fact, you did have to make such accommodation.

Again, probably for most people in any given area or era, this was not a big deal.  But we can see explosions of when it became one.  The Range Wars in the west over settlers and grazing rights is exactly this kind of dispute.  The Whiskey Rebellion, while not usually characterized this way, was one of the earliest and most prominent, an explosion coming out of the fact that the Atlantic seaboard had no idea of the conditions for survival in Western Pennsylvania.

The so-called Civil War is the largest of these and utterly transformed the relationship between states and the nation as a single entity.

It’s useful to recall the by-now well-known statement that Robert E. Lee made when refusing command of the Union Army, that he could never fight against his country.  It is perhaps simplistic to see that as his claiming that Virginia, the state, was what he regarded as “his country” and it wouldn’t be wrong, only insufficient.  Lee was not simplistic and he was a West Pointer.  “His country” may well have been both—Virginia and the United States—and his statement would then have made sense as a declaration of his unwillingness to fight in opposition to the configuration in which both existed in relation to each other.  Fighting for the Union in order to facilitate the imposition of the federal over the states would for him be as bad as treason, because that meant changing the very intent of that relationship.

David Brin has written an overview of a version of this ongoing civil war.  While I might quibble with details, it suffices to describe a sentiment which I believe is at the heart of the apparent contradiction evident in the last election.  The visceral rage evidenced by the Right since Obama’s election, something which has been building and gaining momentum since Reagan took office, seems to me perfectly explicable when viewed  in this way.  What we’ve been seeing is not so much a rejection of progressivism or even social justice—although there certainly is such rejection by certain factions—as it is a rejection of federal hegemony and centrality.  Progressive ideals and social justice become collateral damage in this fight, which may seem a weak description of the real impact of such damage, yet the lack of any kind of genuine guiding principle behind their rollbacks can be explained by the apparent larger battle.  This may be the last phase of an ongoing war over identity that has raged, to greater or lesser degree, for two centuries.

We want to be Americans but only as defined by local identity.

As I noted in the previous post, low midterm voter turnout may be an artifact of a perceived pointlessness in voting locally when one can do nothing about another district’s or state’s representative.  If, in other words, my vote won’t get that guy from Ohio or Kentucky out of office, what’s the point?  This would be a component of this identity question, expressed in ambivalence and manifest as apathy.

When you look at certain maps of electoral trends, there would appear to be a set of characteristics that are being squeezed.  As frustrating as recent politics have been, federalism seems to be gradually winning the field. America is becoming one country, finally, after all this time.

Which would explain, in part, the most recent battle over immigration.  The forces circling the wagons around the besieged identities of which I speak see rationalizing immigration policy as another attack on their primacy.  Who can say what several million newly naturalized voters might do at the polls?  Better to do all we can to keep them out and try to gain some kind of upper hand for—

Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?  If what I suggest underlies all this, then the fight is over the desire to retain independence from the very thing you put forward as a last hope for freedom.  You want to be an American but you don’t want to change yourself in order to be what that might mean.

Which makes several apparently absurd things make a kind of sense.  Opposition, for instance, to the theory of evolution.  If evolution is true—and, worse, we teach it to our kids—then that means change is natural, indeed inevitable, and, furthermore, that there is no scientific basis for exclusion.  These twin notions, when put in political context, are explosive for certain people who are also trying to assert that our Founding Fathers based our guiding documents and institutions on Biblical foundations, which they by their own admission did not.

God created Americans, whole and perfect, and these pesky scientific notions of change and mutation and inconstancy violate that conceived perfection.

Ridiculous?

How about climate change, then?  Never mind the cause, but the fact of it means we will have to change how we live in order to meet the challenge of the new environment.  We will environmentally stop being the Land of Milk and Honey, the cornucopeia we have always told ourselves we are.  If you are someone who believes the above idea about perfect creation, then this can be nothing but divine judgment (as opposed to natural evolution, which might be addressable if we would just get out of our own way), and by all that is who we wish to be that cannot be.  It must be because of—

And the litany of the excluded follows.  Gays, minorities, socialists, feminists.

As long as the larger world did not intrude upon your small patch of the landscape and you could define yourself according to standards shared by your next door neighbor without any regard for the nation or the world, everything could be fine.

Of course, it’s not, because such hermetic isolation is impossible, and ideas if nothing else seep in.  The former Soviet Union was nothing if not an almost century-long attempt to isolate an entire nation ideologically from outside ideas, and if failed miserably, resulting in its collapse when the weight of willed ignorance grew too much.

I’m not here claiming a preference so much as indicating vectors and possible causes.  The invective hurled at Obama would seem baseless and utterly without motive in any rational sense, the yowling of people who feel threatened for no apparent reason.  But if seen from this perspective, it begins to make a kind of sense.  This is, possibly, the last campaign of a civil war that has been going on for a long, long time.  This is a stand against the future.  Obama won both elections by wide margins of the popular vote, so clearly this is not a majority reaction, but a stung minority who see him as representative of a change which many of them may not themselves have clearly defined.  That the very progressive measures which one assumes are the meat and bread oppositions of the representatives recently elected passed in so many places suggest that policy is less important in this than a kind of granulated regionalism.

It’s not the kind of argument, unfortunately, that lends itself to clarity, to a clearly defined right and wrong.  Which is what makes the rhetoric so unfathomable at times.

Another Aftermath

Midterms are over.  Many people are freaking over the results.

Here is a list of sixth year losses for sitting presidents from the last century.

1918 – Woodrow Wilson (D): Lost 22 seats in the House, lost 5 seats in the Senate.
1938 – Franklin Roosevelt (D): Lost 72 seats in the House, lost 7 seats in the Senate.
1950 – Harry Truman (D): Lost 28 seats in the House, lost 5 seats in the Senate.
1958 – Dwight Eisenhower (R): Lost 48 seats in the House, lost 13 seats in the Senate.
1974 – Richard Nixon (R) (although Gerald Ford was President when the elections took place that year): Lost 48 seats in the House, lost 4 seats in the Senate.
1986 – Ronald Reagan (R): Lost 5 seats in the House, lost 8 seats in the Senate.
2006 – George W. Bush (R): Lost 30 seats in the House, lost 6 seats in the Senate.
2014 – Barack Obama (D): Lost 13 seats in the House, lost 7 seats in the Senate.

I post this to show that what happened is perfectly “normal” in the sense that American politics are cyclic and adhere to no single view of logic or common sense, nor do they respond to reason.  What we saw Tuesday was part of a trend that every single president who had two consecutive terms has had to deal with.  The only president who did not suffer this was Clinton and that is due largely to the absurd shenanigans of a congress that tried to impeach him and had failed in its ridiculous “contract with America” bid.  It’s tempting to say Newt Gingrich, who seems to only be smart when he is either out of office and not running for office, caused the historic hiccup.

That said, there are other lessons.  We had low turnout.  Of course we did. Less than a third of eligible voters bothered. This also is typical for midterms.

Why?  It’s not like there isn’t enough anger to go around.

Partly, I think we have a problem with perception based not so much on the presumed uselessness of voting in the midterm but on who we are allowed to vote for.  Consider: during presidential years, we have twice or more turnout and naturally congress benefits from this as a matter of course.  As long as people are there to vote for a president, they might as well vote for their representatives and all the other stuff on the ballot.  But the chief goal is to vote for a president, which is national and for whom everyone gets to vote.

Unlike in midterms where you may not vote against someone else’s representative.  To put it more plainly, no one not living in Kentucky can vote for Mitch McConnell’s opponent.  So if you perceive McConnell as a major source of your dissatisfaction with congress, there’s nothing you can do about it unless you live in his state.  So why bother?  Your vote won’t get him out of office.

What about your own state representatives and senators? Like it or not, people tend—tend, mind you—to see less problem with their own representatives, but even with that there’s a certain amount of frustration adhering exclusively to national problems that, I think, depresses and demoralizes voters who feel that just voting in their own small patch won’t really change anything if that guy over there gets re-elected by the folks in his state.  If you can’t affect all of the neighborhood, what’s the point in straightening out the mess in your own backyard?

This still leaves us with the fact that two-thirds of Americans either were too lazy, too ill-informed, or too depressed to bother going to the polls.  Add to that the wrinkle in some states that many people were turned away from polls over some variant of voter ID rules.

Over all this, though, is still the problem of candidate identification with principles.  A lot of Democrats tried to distance themselves from President Obama, seeing too-close affiliation with him as a problem.  The irony is that in those instances where a candidate embraced Obama, those candidates did well.  We saw something similar to this under Clinton.

But that still leaves us with the question of why people seem to be voting against their own interest in so many instances.

Fear certainly.  The one emergent factor of the last few decades of Republican campaigning that seems consistent is the playing on certain rather unspecified fears.  A vote, it is suggested, for the GOP is a vote to bring back things that are under threat.  But what is under threat?  Our way of life?  How so?  Especially in light of the fact that most GOP policies since Reagan have marched in lock-step with a shrinking of the so-called American Dream.  The more we vote for Republicans, it appears, the more we lose of what was supposed to be our birthright.  A strong middle class, upward mobility, job security, and an unquestioned superiority on the international scene.  None of these have seen much in the way of success since Reagan.  Not even under Democrats, which suggests it is not inextricably tied to the GOP, but is a  consequence of a set of factors apart from party politics but which party politics has exacerbated as an issue.  So the troubling reality is just that—reality—but probably isn’t the calamity we have made it.  At worst, we could probably have slowed the losses way down with a bit less panic-driven ideology, at best we could have made some efficacious changes that would have addressed the reality of a changing global situation that would have seen us transformed but better off.  It’s hard to think straight when the alarm is going off in our ears 24/7 by people whose main priority is getting elected and staying in office.

What we very much needed after the Soviet Empire collapsed was a sound management team that would have midwived a shift from a constant war-footing into something resembling the domestic prioritizing of the pre-WWII period.  But that’s not, as they say, “sexy” and it’s difficult to run on the complexities involved in such a realignment.  Instead, both parties sought out and rode power issues, manufacturing new enemies for us to be on guard against, scaring the constituency, and probably hoping we had enough wherewithal to allow for a federal war superstructure despite the fact that we couldn’t really afford to maintain one forever.  Domestic issues would take care of themselves, let the locals handle that, we here in Washington have bigger issues.

And they did.  Primarily that the world was beginning to catch up economically and in some cases pass us by socially.

Here’s where it gets tricky and where I think the real fear being played on comes into it.

The fear played upon is the fear of impotence and loss of identity.  This has been so since the Civil War and, surprisingly enough, it still plays, because in many ways the United States of America is still not One Country.  We are, in some ways, fifty small countries under a single umbrella, which we are proud to claim but bristle when we have to do anything to support.

No?  Consider the irrational outrage over our current president.  Not the policy arguments or the disagreements over ideology—one should expect that and frankly be a bit concerned in its absence—but over Who He Is.

People who think of themselves as Americans voted him into office.  The people who hate him do so from a perspective that defines “America” as their state, their county, their city or town.  They are the same folks who see D.C. as a foreign land and vote against “Washington Insiders” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) and seem to also be those most stridently opposed to immigration reform and frightened about the demographic shift in ethnicity we see happening.

We see the results of this in elections.  The more “national” the election, the less power these folks seem to exercise, but the more local and narrow the more we see something like the Tea Party gain ground.

“As long as America looks like Kansas, everything will all right,” one can hear them say.  Or Oklahoma or Kentucky or Texas.  But the country doesn’t look like Kansas.  Or rather it looks like that plus everywhere else.  And it’s the “everywhere else” that seems to be at issue.

By any metric, Obama has been a successful president.  I resisted the conclusion that his detractors are obsessed with his race, but it seems inescapable.  If he were white his track record would be what people are arguing about, but I see almost no acknowledgment of his accomplishments, only squealing that he is terrible, that he has taken us in the wrong direction, that he is the worst ever.  When asked on what basis, you get either nothing or vague rumblings about Obamacare or taxes, or flat-out untruths.

And yet, when you look at the midterms, it would seem people are not so uniform in their fear, because this was normal.  Look at FDR’s sixth year debacle in the above list.  Or Eisenhower, as a comparison.

So while we may be looking at this and wondering where everybody’s brains have gone, that’s not a fair reaction.  Frankly, if this were intended as some kind of referendum on Obama, it ain’t much of a one.  At least eight of those states were marginal to begin with and have now returned to what is normal for them.  In two years, a slew of senate and house seats are up for grabs and it’s then that we will see whether or not the country has suffered a political lobotomy.  I’ll make my prediction now, that the GOP is going to take a severe licking.  They have defined themselves in too many regressive ways as a party opposed to meaningful reform and one, frankly, of mean-spiritedness.  They have managed to put themselves on the wrong side of history, and if they can only stay in power by virtue of a tepid midterm turnout as the one we’ve just seen, then they are in serious trouble.

But the Democrats need to clean their own stables and stop mealy-mouthing about what they stand for. If fear is the driving force in recent politics, then many Democrats exemplify it by being so frightened of losing their seats that they won’t be the representatives they were elected to be.

So chill.  This isn’t the end of the world, it’s just politics as usual.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be pissed off about it, but it also doesn’t mean it’s the worst that’s ever happened.

For all you people who didn’t vote because, well, there is no good reason.  You bitch and complain all the time and then do nothing.  We have a system that responds to those who operate the controls and the more basic control is the vote.  If you don’t put your hands on the switches, the system won’t work for you, it will work for those who do.

 

 

Vote

Tomorrow is a midterm election day.

I can hear it already.  Yawn.  What is it with progressives and anyone left of Attila the Hun? Don’t you remember what happened at the last midterm?  We had record low voter turnout across the country and in a wide range of close elections—close elections—the Tea Party put enough people in congress to allow for four years of the worst congressional performance in memory.

Let me repeat that.  Close elections.  We had an average turnout of 23 to 27 % of eligible voters and by any metric  Tea Party candidates took seats riding in on around 13 to 15 % of eligible votes.  They declared a mandate and proceeded to screw things up so badly that congress has been getting its lowest approval rating since approval ratings were a thing.

The perversity of the average voter being what it is, the blame has been heaped on (a) the System and (b) the President.

The blame is really on this attitude that midterms don’t matter, coupled with a deep conviction that individual votes don’t matter, with an extra dollop of  “it doesn’t matter, everything is corrupt anyway.”

The blame—really, does this need saying?  Maybe it does.  The blame is on bone-stupid lazy people who are too busy to pay attention and have other things to do which they think are more important.  Bone stupid.  How do you blame a system when you don’t even use it?  How do you blame the president, who many of you voted for, when the problem is congress?  Why is it so hard for people of an even mildly liberal bent or even a moderate bent to understand the importance of midterms and that the problem is not systemic unless you don’t exercise your primary control function?

Vote!  Goddammit, I don’t care who you vote for so much as that you vote!  There are differences between the candidates, but sometimes those differences are not apparent in the ten seconds you’re willing to glance at the platforms!

Some key points to keep in mind.

We know, we have seen, it has been demonstrated that financial sector deregulation does not work to the benefit of the working class.  Yet low turnout tomorrow will result in a majority of those who have been pushing for exactly that.

We know, we have seen, it has been demonstrated that trickle down economics does not work, yet low turnout tomorrow will likely make that the standard for economic policy.

We know, we have seen, it has been demonstrated that education works less and less well when it is defunded and forced to teach to tests rather than teaching to think, yet a low turnout tomorrow will see education shortchanged even more.

We know, we have seen, it has been demonstrated that reform is necessary in several key areas and said reform has been consistently blocked by a loud, ignorant bloc of congressmen who have a nearsighted vision of the future, and yet low turnout tomorrow will hand them a larger mandate—immigration reform, infrastructure funding, science, tax reform, healthcare.

We know, we have seen, it has been demonstrated that corporations have no conscience, do not have the best interests of anyone other than their shareholders in view, and have used every single opportunity to maximize the pillage of our national treasure to the detriment of our citizens, and yet low turnout tomorrow will see an expansion of the view that corporations are somehow People and should be privileged over and above the workers they employ.

Now, it may be that those who read this will think that all those things are generally good things.  Fine.  Vote accordingly.  But if you don’t think that’s the path we should be treading, vote accordingly but for the country’s sake, VOTE!

Naturally, I assume I’m preaching to the choir here, but who knows?  It’s that choir that keeps sitting out the midterms and I’m tired of living with the results of your disinterest.

This has been a personal public service announcement.