Dec 31, 2010

2010: A Year of Political Misfortune, Some Gains, But Still Better Than the Alternative

We've come to the end of yet another year. I know marking this particular day is man-made, but in measuring time we get some perspective on life and how our limited time is used up. Was this a good year? Obviously the answer isn't a simple one, but it may be easier to answer it if we focuses on the political developments here in our country.

In 2010, a Democratic president delved into his 2nd year and a House that will soon be under Republican control. This blog has been very critical of the way president Obama handled many issues important to us. We got the reversal of DADT, financial and consumer protection reforms, but the GOP got benefits for the super rich, the top 2% of Americans. I think a strong president with big majorities in Congress could have gotten a lot more for the middle and lower classes, and for setting the priorities for the future.

The unemployed got some more benefits, the super rich even more, most of the banks were bailed out, Wall Street is giving record-breaking bonuses, and the deficit grew even bigger.

On the other hand, we can't forget what it could have been under a McCain/Palin White House. Seriously, we can't forget this. I do recognize that the "lesser of the two evils" isn't very appealing, but in practical terms it makes a huge difference. We may not be sailing into the desired direction, but we are still sailing and we can still see the horizon. Do I need to explain what the McCain/Palin alternative would have looked like?

Long after a president leaves office, and for some 30 years afterward, his Supreme Court appointees rule on important issues that affect the lives of US citizens (and not only). We could have had a 7-2 SCOTUS conservative majority today--something that would have taken decades to undo. 

Another thing we have to remember is that a president has influence on the kind of narratives we use as a country. You want more of the American Taliban? Vote for a conservative president. Yes, it matters a great deal who are the people in positions of power, public policy implementation, education, science, etc. I don't want conservative ideologues, who prefer a theocracy to a secularism, creation myths to theory of evolution, astrology instead of astronomy, ignorance instead of the scientific method.

Enjoy the holidays, and come back for some more political fighting--fighting for a progressive America.