I have written two blog posts on this election cycle already and you can link to them here and here. I also listened to election coverage on the radio, watched it on cable television viewable in waiting rooms and came home to watch ABC’s coverage last night. While I was doing those things, I also had a busy mix of errands and recreation with my mother in New Orleans. We saw lots of tourists where we went but also many people in the busier streets holding posters supporting local candidates. the weather was beautiful and it was good day to do almost anything worth doing in New Orleans.
The struggles America is engaged in are clearly showing in the elections of the last twenty years. America is struggling with ISIS and as the new One World Trade Center opens in New York we are all aware of how serious a threat this can be, or at least that it can be a very serious threat. Many Americans have been expressing doubts about whether we are taking this threat seriously enough. National security and defense are not the only factors in yesterday’s trouncing of the Democratic establishment in our government but it was certainly a factor.
Republicans have gained control of the US Senate and extended their majority in the House of Representatives. The governors races also went largely to the GOP. There is a sense of staggering loss among many Democrats. That sense of a huge outcome took top billing on the daily e-mail from the decidedly liberal Huffington Post. There is little to debate about the clarity of the results. But some report that the White House is not seeing a very clear or focused response to the President and his policy. Some are emphasizing his excuses more than the article I chose to link to in the last sentence. We will have to see how his press conference actually goes this afternoon at two thirty Washington time. We will also have to see how the years play out. Last midterm election he was willing to be candid and say that his party got a shellacking. Policy shifts and candor are two different things.
I am writing from Louisiana where the nation will be watching the December 6, 2014 runoff between Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu and Republican Congressman and physician Bill Cassidy. Local media has been ready for this race and are reporting it pretty well I think at this early hour. There will be a month more before that vote plays out. Landrieu has invited Cassidy to engage her in six debates. My mother and I went to New Orleans to pick up her expedited passport. The City Care Forgot (not really) was at its best yesterday. We had a tiring schedule but enjoyed the trip thoroughly.
The truth is that one election will not determine the course of the country entirely and mostly shows us where we are and where we plan or hope to go. So much of America is made up of the little and medium sized efforts of its people. the artisans, entrepreneurs and artists of the French Quarter and the French Market are contributors who are not elected and whose lives will be affected by the election but not in simplistic and highly predictable ways. We bought a few things and did some appreciating. Mom bought a couple of famous Central Grocery Mufuletta sandwiches for some young near beggars in the street. The people doing business there are resilient and like many Americans find politics as one part of their lives. Most Americans were too young, too sick, too criminally convicted, too unsure of their legal status, too busy or too apathetic to vote in this elections cycle. That is the real majority.
So does politics matter? I definitely think it does. I voted for ten of the fourteen constitutional amendments on Louisiana’s ballot and against four. The State ‘s electorate as a whole voted for six and against eight. Five of the six newly enacted were amendments I favored. Three of the eight opposed were ones I also opposed. These amendments make a difference or at least they often do so. You can read some reporting of how this worked out just here. But life goes on today much as it would have gone on if the Democrats had won. Change takes a while to play out and is uncertain.
I hope to hear the President speak today. I will follow the new Congress with interest. I will vote in the Senate Runoff. But I have other things to worry about and hope for and so do you. The big event is over and we must now live, work, trade, fight and pray. life goes on.