With the election cycle come and gone, the talking heads still hashing things out, (and as we still wait for FL to get its crap together), I’ve seen, read and absorbed a lot of opinions. I’ve pored over Nate Silver’s scarily accurate predictions, read the pieces on Huffington Post, and I even watched the local Fox news coverage (as well as browsing their website.
As a disclaimer, I am an Obama supporter, I’ve voted for him twice, and as a point of fact, never voted Republican. Having said that, I strive to be objective and see things from both sides. However, what I noticed and no one seems to see, is that this was a mandate of sorts.
In spite of the Republican Super Pacs vastly outspending Democrats (http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/campaign-finance/independent-expenditures/totals), the instances of voter misinformation (Jeff Flake’s robo calls to Democrats giving them the wrong date to vote and the misprinted Spanish dates here in Phoenix to name but two); in spite of the ads, in spite of the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove doing everything they could to sway this election, they failed.
However, the Presidential election was only one small part. One only has to look at some of the races, and propositions to see what was really happening. This was less a mandate on Obama’s guidance of the nation, as it was an attempt to steer the country back to a more centrist, common sense point of view.
Four initiatives regarding gay marriage were passed; two states approved recreational marijuana use; several of the tea party notables were ousted out of their jobs. Progressive Democrats were elected to the Senate and House. Women took a stand against the likes of Todd Akin and fought for their rights, Labor came back, and big business was told it’s not going to be business as usual.
These are all disparate elements, yet they do come together. They’re the parts of a larger view, the mandate. The attack on women’s issues, the rampant homophobia, the veiled racism of immigration reform (such as SB 1070 here in AZ), came to a halt-at least temporarily.
Yesterday’s election was about reclaiming our rights, our liberties and our pursuit of happiness from those who would deny us.
And that is a far more important notation to make. It wasn’t about Obama, it was about us. About our friends, family, mothers, sisters, brothers and fathers. It was about dignity, compassion and most of all respect for ourselves and one another.
Not everything was perfect, but it’s a start, and a very important one.