Sure, I’m a bit disappointed about the results of the election. But I’m also so underwhelmed by the Democratic Party, I’m neither surprised nor depressed about them.
The biggest disappointment for me personally, of course, is the defeat of long-time B&E favorite Russell “Oh, So” Feingold, Senator of Wisconsin. A few weeks ago, the Nation had a great article about his battle to hold his seat and did a nice job of discussing the many reasons I love me some Russ. And his loss is a serious blow to a legislative body that becomes less serious with every election. Although I don’t know what Russ means exactly, I felt a glimmer of hope during his concession speech when he said, “See you in 2012!”
As I’ve mentioned, I’m on a ton of politics-related email lists. There are so many now that I simply delete most of them. Sorry, advocacy organizations and political parties. More and more, the ones I most often open–and the ones that also inspire me to take even limited action–fall into two categories: electoral reform and independent media.
This election really demonstrated the link between those two things in ways I hadn’t really thought of before. As we all know, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling allowed what appears to be about $4 billion into a goddamned midterm election. Attack ads were everywhere. Both political parties are guilty, although it’s clear that the ruling benefits the Republican party just a bit more.
Where did most of that money go? To local media affiliates, owned by corporate conglomerates. The media has no incentive to look critically at the money flooding our politics because they’re the major beneficiaries.
Democracy is resilient, thank goodness. But the corporate takeover of our government (which, let’s face it, is an ongoing problem and has been for decades) and the utter lack of media scrutinizing the issue (mentioning the money is not scrutinizing it, people) is a dangerous combination, B&E readers.
It’s all likely to get worse before it gets better. If you think the people who’ve been so successful with their gobs of cash aren’t planning a similar, even better funded version of the same thing in 2012, you’re deluding yourself.
And on that note of deep cynicism, special shout-out to one of my seven readers whose birthday it is today! Happy birthday, reader in Milwaukee! I wish I could say that I gave you six more years of Russ “You Are” Feingold to serve as your representative in the United States Senate. Alas, that particular gift just didn’t work out. So you’ll just have to take some virtual kisses via B&E instead.