Just where do most Americans "reside"? The implication being not just where they live geographically but where they "reside" psychologically and politically.
Recalling the results of the 2004 presidential election that saw "Dubya" reelected this writer wrote an incredulous "letter to the editor" implicating those people who reelected Bush as "ignorant and stupid" (which elicited many scathing responses [all unsigned] and a few drawing praise [all signed]).
Back then one thought with all that had become known i.e. no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq, the Abu Ghraib torture videos and the obvious lies of Bush's "We don't torture", the revelations of warrantless wiretapping, the extraordinary renditions, the indefinite detention of suspects and the suspension of habeas corpus ( all known at the time). Though the "Downing Street" memos hadn't been leaked as yet (they were released in May 2005 revealing the Bush administration's malevolence prior to launching the Iraq war by fixing the "intelligence and facts to fit policy") there were many reports (before the election) which pointed directly at the administration's suspect behavior that the "Memos" just confirmed.
It was all illegal, against the Constitution and Geneva Convention. One thought, "Didn't people know this", hadn't they seen the torture videos and reasonably suspect the authorization went farther up the food chain and that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld et al were behind it?
Just where were the American people in all this? The Europeans were stunned by Bush's reelection. What was it they saw clearly that obviously eluded the majority of Americans who still saw fit to reelect Bush?
Skip ahead two years later (and though Bush isn't running) the 2006 mid terms were a clear referendum against him as the Democrats were swept back into the majority in both Houses of Congress. Aha, one thought the American people woke up. But the reality was of course Bush was still president and the Democrats in Congress couldn't end the Iraq war and didn't have the stomach to hold Bush and company accountable as Speaker Nancy Pelosi shunned all talk of impeachment.
Then the phenomena of Barack Obama came along in 2008 with the majority of the people voting him in a wave of "change you can believe in". Again one thought the people were further awakened (yours truly included) had voted in a transformational figure in the White House and provided the Democrats with huge majorities in Congress.
Hope soared off the charts that January in 2009. Guantanamo was to be closed within a year and one felt the worst economic calamity since the 1930's depression would be dealt with in FDR type determination.
But alas it wasn't to be. Guantanamo not only remained open but symbolized the weakness and timidity of Obama who would not only seek bipartisanship with his Republican enemies (whose desire was to obstruct and destroy him) but further most of the Bush policies, even enhancing and expanding Bush's war in Afghanistan by authorizing even more drone attacks in Pakistan than his predecessor.
The health care "debate" (which Obama let go astray early) deteriorated into a right wing scream fest. What was finally enacted further enhanced the monopolistic hold of the private health care behemoths that precluded a Medicare type single payer option that could contain the soaring health care costs that were a prime reason to enact reform.
"Reform" of the financial industry (that perpetrated the financial meltdown and the subsequent great recession) was no better than health care reform leaving in place the banks too big to fail allowing for tepid regulatory measures that still left unregulated the trillions of dollar derivatives market (the primary culprit in the sub prime mortgage bubble bursting) all but assuring a new financial collapse sometime in the near future.
Thus by the time of the 2010 mid term elections it became all too clear the Democrats would suffer a bloodbath. Progressives and disillusioned Democratic voters stayed home or voted without enthusiasm while the Republicans and their tea party brethren sensing blood in the water swept in a new Republican majority in the House and reduced the Democrat majority in the Senate.
This election in 2010 was a clear referendum against Democrat Obama just four short years after the clear referendum against Republican Bush.
So how does one describe the turnabout of the American electorate? Ironically though the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, neither was an issue discussed much less on the radar in last month's election (which unlike 2006 the wars [particularly Iraq] was the primary issue in the election). Are Americans now numb to war, too far removed, don't care and seemingly disconnected from the horror that continues to rain down from the skies onto the victims on the receiving end of American war making? Do they believe the newly emboldened Republicans will have anything constructive to offer in ameliorating the country's problems of severe unemployment, the continuing crisis in home foreclosures or even the runaway debt?
People when polled believe Congress is too beholden to big moneyed and special interests. Do they recognize that our two party system is irretrievably broken, corrupt and dysfunctional that only the people (if they were organized) can restore our democracy and demand our elections be people funded, that outsized corporate funding of elections and those elected (with big moneyed backing) is destroying our democracy and taking it on its present course to ruin?
From here the country resembles a runaway train run by corporate greed and despotism. The brakes of the train (though operable) are not being applied by the engineers at the helm. That train could be brought under control and stopped from continuing on its present course. But only if the people are inspired to rebel against the present tyranny (that is our current big moneyed corporate driven and controlled election process) and demand newly elected, people financed and elected representatives (engineers) to be placed on board to apply the brakes effectively, reroute the course of the train (and the country) and accountable to and responsible to the people that elect them.
This all could happen. The question is will it?