Monday, November 03, 2008

A Time of Reckoning

Trying to get back into this blogging thing, the topic which has most been on my mind has, of course, been politics and tomorrow's election. A friend and I were talking last night about a variety of things related to the election.

Some of the key things we both already agreed upon were:
1) An election is not the start, it's not the end. It's just a beginning for much more.
2) The GOP needs some serious introspection about the kind of politics its leaders support & really, the kind of leadership its leaders show

More on this...

An election is just a beginning...the funny thing is that both my friend and I saw an awesome Starbucks ad which ended up offering a free cup of coffee for all voters. But the message was really, really, REALLY key. Got that? It's about the most important message any voter should take away from this election season...

An Election is just a moment in time. Yes, it's a chance to make your voice heard. But November 4th shouldn't be the first time your voice is heard. And it certainly shouldn't be the last time your voice is heard. It's just a moment in time. And the real work happens in between elections. People, we can't just exit the voting booths on Tuesday and smile at ourselves for a job well-done. We need to realize that the real work has not yet even started.

Here's the ad in case you're interested:

On the second point, this is actually what my friend and I spent more time talking about. It was similar to a conversation we had during the last big election cycle in India. At that time, we both agreed that the party which had been in control in India and had spent it's time in power to create hatred & incite racism & fundamentalism needed to look upon itself. The leaders needed to think about what devastation they had wreaked upon the soul of Indian democracy. They would need to re-think their method of leadership and the reasons there was so much wrong with it. Not surprisingly, my friend and I saw many, many connections between the BJP party in India and the GOP party in the US.

The really interesting thing is that the GOP seems to be in that spot now. It's time for introspection. Their time of reckoning has arrived. Even if the GOP somehow manages to keep some sort of power, John McCain will have some serious soul searching to do. As the leader of his party (in name only, since there are obviously many other people in the role of king maker), he needs to think about what he has allowed to happen in his name just to win a campaign. Moreover, the leaders of the party need to come to terms with the fact that they have encouraged this season of hatred (seriously, can you imagine openly calling for the murder of the other parties candidate?!) and self-service (I've lost count of the number of instances where "it's only wrong if the other guy does it" is the theme for the day). Additionally, and really critically, the party needs to move away from this idea that being an idiot and ignoring any facts that don't support your guy or your side is okay. And let's be frank here...the great masses who support any party are just followers. They can be lead any where, including off a cliff. This stands true for conservative as well as liberal followers. Sheep are sheep no matter the color. But just like the BJP, the GOP has taken some latent tendencies and stoked those embers into full blooded fear (of Muslims & Arabs) and hatred (of Communists and anyone that's different).

The fact of the matter is that any analysis of the BJP's leadership and the havoc they wreaked on the Indian sub-continent could very easily re-purposed to describe what the GOP have done here in America.

So my friend and I wondered why the BJP had never really done any introspecting after their resounding fall from power. I tried to explain it away talking about the multi-party system in India which require the Indian National Congress to create a coalition just to stay in power and that the BJP could just lie in wait and not really have to repent for their sins.

But we still thought that the GOP would have to re-think things after Tuesday.

No. Matter. What. Their day of reckoning had come.

So this morning I was ready to post about how a win for Barack Obama would not just be wonderful news because of his leadership, but also because it would force the GOP to spend some time thinking about the monster they have created.

And then I read Paul Krugman's opinion piece in today's NY Times. And it's alarming. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Just a quick bite from his piece:
You might think, perhaps hope, that Republicans will engage in some soul-searching, that they’ll ask themselves whether and how they lost touch with the national mainstream. But my prediction is that this won’t happen any time soon.

Instead, the Republican rump, the party that’s left after the election, will be the party that attends Sarah Palin’s rallies, where crowds chant “Vote McCain, not Hussein!” It will be the party of Saxby Chambliss, the senator from Georgia, who, observing large-scale early voting by African-Americans, warns his supporters that “the other folks are voting.” It will be the party that harbors menacing fantasies about Barack Obama’s Marxist — or was that Islamic? — roots.

Despite my concerns about what Mr. Krugman has said, I hope to god that my anxiety about who wins tomorrow amount to a lot of worrying over nothing. And beyond that, I hope that leaders across the board realize what we have in front of us...a great opportunity for change and for moving forward.

Here's to the importance of tomorrow's election day.

And here's to the reckoning that we all need to confront.

If we care enough about the leader of this country, we need to care enough about the cliff we're about to jump off without some serious thought.

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