November 8, 2006

TtBTF, #5

Things to Be Thankful For, #5: The Election

Now, before I really tick off my conservative friends--of which, believe it or not, I have a fair number--part of what makes me happy is a restored faith in the sheeple. I like to think that even if I weren't on the side that made the most gains yesterday, it's really, really nice to see that the vast majority of people seemed to think before they went to the polls (or, in our case, stayed home from the polls.) They used their votes to express something; a desire for change, a rebuke for the status quo (at the national level), and even an acceptance of more taxes (at the local level.) The reason this makes me so happy is that I've had the sense in the last several elections that most folks are just kind of going with their gut (even when they vote for "my people"). This feels very, very different. As a Social Studies teacher, it always warms my heart when I see civil liberties being civilly and thoughtfully exercised.

It looks like Matt's school district bond passed, although there are conflicting reports (I'm going with the county's numbers, as opposed to the usually mistake-laden local paper's). We were somewhat worried about it, as it represents a big property tax increase in several localities (it's a biiiiiiig district in geographic terms). The relief here is palpable, though, because having two campuses for one high school has been not only stupid but bad for kids in terms of money and instructional time lost (and probably has shortened the lives of several counselors who had to manage the scheduling to accomodate all the busing back and forth!).

It may surprise some to know that my glee at the results is definitely tempered with concern. I feel that the nation has handed the Democrats more control because they didn't like what was happening on a variety of issues; I'm not terribly worried that they'll do what they can to make necessary changes and settle our checks and balances back where they belong. That does not, however, mean that the party can straighten itself out enough to do any actual leading in a new direction, which could be mighty handy come the next Presidential election. They have two years to show that they're not just "the other option," but instead can stand for something.

On the state level, I have even more concerns. It looks like we may have an entirely Democratic state government (at a minimum, we're looking at at least two out of three). All the tax-limitations measures failed, and those two things together seem to indicate--finally!--a shift in the public's attitude toward funding services, like health care and--yippee!--education. While I'm sure our respected opponents aren't going to fade into the woodwork, my hope is that the new (and returning) leadership will be scrupulously responsible with the public's money and trust. It's just too good an opportunity to show what good government can accomplish, when it's not starved, to mess up.

1 comment:

Ty Davison said...

Hi G! Several thoughts:

1. I perceived the dominate theme of the election to be anger, specifically directed at the Republicans and the mess they've created. In fact, I would have said that this election was less cerebral not more than 2000 and 2004, though I was admittedly gratified to have things finally break my way.

2. Thrilled to hear that Matt's school bond went through. Here in Salem, the Fire Bond passed but both the community college and the transit bonds failed by narrow margins.

3. I agree with your concern about the Democrats. Despite their gains I don't think they "won" so much as the Republicans lost horribly and deservedly.

All in all, a good day.