2 November 2010: I Got Those E-Night Blues
Rand Paul has just made his acceptance speech. CNN has just predicted a Republican majority in the House and implied also the possibility of a schism between the Tea Party newcomers and the Republican establishment, whatever that is.
They all oppose health care reform; their collective success is supposed to indicate that the people don't want health care reform. A recent poll, released today, revealed that 68 percent of Americans do not believe we have too much government. Rand Paul does, quoting Tom Jefferson this evening to support this belief.
Polls. We are as hooked on them as on insurance companies.
But where are the poor people? Did they vote? Perhaps they had to disconnect their land lines and so couldn't be reached by phone banks. Perhaps they were too busy working for nickels and dimes to take the time to vote. Perhaps, if they had time to collapse briefly in front of their televisions, if they had them, hate ads would flash across the screens, or misinformation or disinformation.
As Maureen Dowd recently wrote, it's chic to be ignorant. The Tea Party wants to return to constitutional principles, so maybe we'll all learn about it and perhaps those people who call it not just a piece of paper but an outdated document will be proved correct.
I consider myself a patriot, but the Constitution was written by white property-holding men for white property-holding men who took the government away from British white property holding men with a little help from the French and Spanish (white property holding men?) at Yorktown.
Women, blacks, Indians all had much to look forward to and far more to suffer than did these white men before they began to obtain more rights, began to convince them that they deserved these rights. Lots of blood had to be shed first, lots of suffering was necessary, lots of death, lots of martyrdom.
With all of those amendments-count them--focused on voting, the subject of more of them than any other theme--nowhere does the Constitution guarantee all of us the basic right to vote, as Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. pointed out several years ago.
If the Tea Party, reaching back to the Constitution, quotes Tom Jefferson, who is infinitely quotable and has words to suit every occasion, they will be dropping the name of a slaveowner and racist who dissed the Indians as savages in his Declaration of Independence. This document not only borrows from the words of John Locke, but also from those of a document written two years earlier by a slave suing for his freedom. He, too, writes of the sacredness of human aspirations and freedom; another free black man wrote to him about equality--"one universal father hath given being to us all."
The Constitution also gave us the Electoral College, which favors proportions over the popular vote. Rhode Island and Alaska each have two U.S. senators, even though there are twice as many people in our smallest state as in our largest. The votes of half a million people did not count enough in 2000 to affect the unconstitutional outcome, that mangling of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The last Tea Party led to a mess far greater than loose tea dumped into dirty water. I hope that that aspect of history doesn't repeat itself.
Can I, as a patriotic American, wish for their failure as they wished for Obama's in 2008? No, I can pray for domestic peace. I can pray that they are right and we are wrong and that, in fewer than two years, the economy will right itself and employment figures will soar and that everyone will as a result be able to afford adequate health care.
But I don't anticipate this good outcome.
And if it doesn't come about, I can only hope that the result of the new majority's wrongheadedness will become apparent quickly enough to influence the results of election 2012 in the reverse direction, back toward the left, where the people truly reside.
The term Democrat implies democracy, rule by the popular vote rather than electoral votes, rule by the people rather than elected representatives, a system that characterizes a republic.