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If Republicans Win

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I hear from a lot of disillusioned Democrats who are disappointed in the Obama administration and Congress. Their disappointment is understandable. Two years ago, we were seduced by the promise of positive, progressive change. Obama was going to change Washington. Instead, the games in Washington became even more contentious and divisive. And Obama has seemed to lack the strength to effectively stand up to the "Party of No".

Campaign fever two years ago inspired and energized a diverse group of people - young and old, black, white, brown, and yellow - who were fed up with the greed, cruelty, arrogance, and intolerance that marked the Bush administration. They responded by electing an intelligent, thoughtful, articulate, African-American president.

Campaign fever in 2010, by contrast, is strengthening and emboldening the Tea Party, whose knee-jerk rhetoric is far too suggestive of the same kinds of greedy, cruel, arrogant, and intolerant policies that were voted out in 2008.

In coming full circle, we seem to have taken a huge step back. It's no wonder that so many Democrats are feeling broken and bitter.

And it's no wonder that so many Democrats are throwing up their hands and threatening to stay home on November 2. No wonder they don't want to vote for the Democrats they feel have let them down.

But the stakes are too high to sit back and lick our wounds. The stakes are too high to refuse to fight the greater threat.

For example:

If the Republican wins the Senate race in Pennsylvania, we in the Keystone State will be represented by Pat Toomey, who is more extremely conservative than Rick Santorum, whom we voted out of office in 2006. According to the ToomeyWatch website, "Toomey's lifetime score with the American Conservative Union is a stunning 97%, while Santorum's lifetime score is only 88%."

If the Republican wins the Senate race in California, they will be represented by Carly Fiorina who, as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, shipped thousands of jobs overseas while tripling her own salary.

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If the Republican wins the Senate race in Alaska, we'll have Joe Miller in Washington, who would vote to repeal the 2010 health care legislation; wants to phase out Social Security and Medicare; believes that evidence of global warming is "dubious at best"; and opposes abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. Also, Miller recently handcuffed a reporter who asked a question he didn't want to answer.

If the Republicans win the Senate race in Kentucky, they will be represented by Rand Paul, of Aqua Buddha fame, who isn't entirely comfortable with the Civil Rights Act.

If the Republican wins the Senate race in Delaware, Christine O'Donnell will be casting her spells from our nation's capital.

If the Republican wins the Senate race in Nevada, it gets even more weird and worrisome. If Republicans win this election in Nevada, they will be represented by Sharron Angle, who likened Social Security to welfare, and who suggested "Second Amendment remedies" if the elections don't turn out as the tea partiers would hope.

If the Republicans win enough of the less highly publicized House races throughout this nation, the Democrats could lose its majority on that side of Congress, likely rendering the House as incapable of productive work as the Senate has been in the past two years.

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If the Republicans win these elections, it will further embolden the Tea Partiers for 2012. (Can you say "President Palin"?)

And, if the Republicans win these elections, it will be a direct result of the stubborn attitudes of the disappointed Democrats who chose to stay at home and let it happen.

That, in my opinion, is so much worse than the ignorant and misinformed Tea Partiers who mindlessly vote against their own best interests.

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
 

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