And I have to tell you, I'm not so happy about it.
I admit it, I'm a Democrat...a REALLY liberal Democrat. Seriously, if they had any political traction whatsoever, I'd probably be Green. But since I don't relish throwing my vote away, Dem I am.
I don't get why so many people think of being liberal as a bad thing. The Merriam-Webster definitions of liberal are:
1 a : of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts (liberal education)
b archaic : of or befitting a man of free birth
2 a : marked by generosity : openhanded (a liberal giver)
b : given or provided in a generous and openhanded way (a liberal meal0
c : ample, full
3 obsolete : lacking moral restraint : licentious
4 : not literal or strict : loose (a liberal translation)
5 : broad-minded; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms
6 a : of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism
b capitalized : of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; especially : of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives
The only one of those definitions that I don't associate with myself is considered obsolete. I happen to think being called generous and broad-minded is a good thing. I like the idea of government as a pooling of resources to make everyone's life better.
People complain about taxes (and associate those taxes with Democrats, even though both parties apply them), but the fact is, they allow society to do things that individuals can't. After all, while my family is comfortable, we certainly don't have the means to build roads, fight crime and put out fires. I know some people home school, and more power to them, but I have neither the skill nor the patience - so I'm glad some of my tax dollars go to educating my children and the children in the community.
I believe that when someone's down and out, the answer isn't to kick them to the curb, but try to help them lift themselves up. Do some people take advantage of that social safety net? Of course, and I think that's wrong. But I wouldn't do away with the system that helps so many just to punish the few who take advantage. I hate the fact that it seems like conservatives look at welfare as theft. But I digress...
The thing I find so frustrating about yesterday's election is that it seems that the Republicans gained seats because people are frustrated with President Obama. Why? The economy isn't recovering fast enough. Actually, it seems as if he's being blamed for the economy going bad in the first place, which really baffles me. The housing crisis crash happened during George W. Bush's presidency. The TARP bill (that bailout people associate with the Dems?) was signed into law by President Bush.
And I knew this would happen. I knew that when President Obama was elected, people were expecting too much of him. Intelligent, talented and charismatic as he is, he's still just one guy. Granted, the most powerful individual on the planet, but our government structure has checks and balances for a reason. Much as he might like to - the President doesn't get to govern solo. Look at how long it took the health care bill to pass.
As for the health care bill - I can't tell you how many times I've heard that while it's statistically unpopular as a whole, people generally approve of all of the individual provisions. Which means, they don't like the idea of a health care bill, because the Republicans have framed it as a government takeover. But the bits and pieces are all things that people can support.
Why are the Republicans so good at making Democrats look bad? The cynic in me says it's because they have no compunctions about playing dirty and taking advantage of people's weaknesses. And then when the Democrats try to correct the misconceptions, they sound like whiners.
I'm almost disgusted enough to run for something myself...almost.