So, by now most of you have heard Obama won. I’m not American and have been moderately ambivalent about this election; a moderate conservative like Romney is not what America needs at this time.
Despite my ambivalence about which Republicrat won, I think in retrospect this election was very important because of the issues at play and how they were handled. In particular the narrow-minded childishness of it all.
Right now the US is drowning itself in debt, its social security program is unsustainable, entitlement programs are growing and becoming unsustainable, unemployment has been stuck at a high level and the economy is still suffering, the upcoming generation is drowning in student debt and are unable to find gainful employment, one in seven Americans are on food stamps, the fed has a policy of printing $40-billion/month to create inflation, the US is engaged in two wars and a massive assassination program, and Obamacare represented a takeover of a large portion of the economy (along with the attendant side effects). Essentially, America is nearing the end of the process of moving from a (somewhat) free market economy to a broke European cradle-to-grave welfare state.
Whatever side of the issue you fall on (and most of my readers are probably opposed to Europeanization), this is a huge change that deserves debate. Even if you agree that the US is on the right course and should become a European-style welfare state, it is still something that should be debated, voted over, and planned so the US welfare state can become a moderately sustainable one like Germany or the Nordic countries rather than a fiscal disaster like the PIGS.
So, with all these important issues of war, America’s future, the economy, etc. what were the issues that got traction?
Muppets and “binders of women”.
Think about that for a minute: with America’s economic and post-secondary education problems almost literally destroying an entire generation and America’s future in the balance, the issues everybody talked about and that got the most traction were about was a few million dollars of funding for a TV station and whether 30-something women should have to pay for their own contraception.
Really? Fucking really?
What is wrong with you America?
Are you a bunch of fucking children?
I’m not exaggerating the muppet thing one bit, but I might be being somewhat unfair on the “war on women” thing, so let’s analyze it a bit more.
The war on women has revolved around the following:
- Defunding planned parenthood
- Fluke wanting religious organizations to pay for her contraception
- State laws restricting abortion access.
- A few dumbasses saying stupid things about rape.
- “Binders of women” and the pay gap.
The first and second restrict nothing and are no more a “war on women” than defunding Big Bird is a “war on literacy”. Whatever your opinion on contraception and abortion, paying for your own shit is one of the hallmarks of being a responsible adult. That who funds contraception can even be debated by supposedly “serious” people is proof of the childishness of American politics.
As for the third, it is a major issue but not a presidential or federal one.
I’ll write it clearly so all the idiots on both sides can hear it. I don’t care whether you are pro- or anti-: abortion is no longer a federal issue. The courts have decided and are supported in their decision by enough of the population that no president will be able to restrict abortion no matter how much he may want to. There may be some fights at the margins at the state level, but only at the margins and only at the state level.
Any “war on women” rhetoric saying there are threats to abortion at the federal level are simply fear-mongering. Any anti-abortion activists that are are trying to limit abortion at the federal level are frivolously wasting their time, it would be much more productive to focus on changing the culture than the law. Debating abortion on the federal level is about as relevant as debating abolitionism.
Nothing short of the second coming of Christ is going to result in the banning of abortion in the US at any point in the foreseeable future.
As for the fourth, any group of 535 people will have its share of dumbasses. The opinions of these particular dumbasses matters, but only for their congressional districts. Their idiocy is a local matter. Unless the presidential candidate and/or the party as a whole holds these views on rape (which they have disavowed). It is a non-issue at the presidential level.
The fifth may matter if it exists (although, the existence of an actual gap is empirically dubious). But assuming it does exist, a 17% (or whatever the current number being used is) wage differential pales in economic significance to the other economic woes facing the US. The near doubling of the unemployment rate since 2008 combined with a full 2% of the population dropping from the labour market. The 50% unemployment and underemployment rate of an entire generation. The wage gap may be something to debate at some point in the future, but the overall state of the economy is hurting women much worse than any potential wage differential. Act like adults and shoot the tiger in the living room before fretting over the house cat.
In other words, the entire “war on women” is one big non-issue for a presidential campaign.
The most important part of this election was simply the frivolity of it.
Elections have always had mud-slinging, character assassination, and stupid political games, but this election was special. There were/are major obvious structural problems with the US and its economy that need to be addressed (whatever the solution) and this election was fought on none of them.
It was fought on frivolities and non-issues.
Up to this point I have had hope for the Republic. Obama may have been a liberal and won in 2008, but he won for some serious reasons (economic collapse). Bush won in 2004 over a debate over a serious issue (Iraq War). Even in 2000, when the US was running smoothly and the US could afford to debate frivolities, the election was mostly about serious domestic issues.
I had hope that someone the serious issues facing the US over the next few decades would be addressed, if not this election than some other one, because at some level I thought adults were running the establishment.
Even is Obama had won because voters debated over and decided they wanted a European-style social democracy rather than a free republic, I would have held some level of hope for the Republic, because then at least adults (however incorrect they might be) would have been in charge. Then when the failure of social democracy became apparent (as it has in Greece) adults would have been able to pick up the pieces.
But choosing the executive based on a puppet show and who pays for contraception (not even the legality of contraception, but simply who pays) when the US is in the midst of the worst recession in decades and the system is eating an entire generation?
It seems the US electorate are a bunch of ignorant little children.
At this point I’m just going to say, y’all deserve the decline.
I’m going to enjoy a delicious, steaming cup of schadenfreude watching you suffer over the next decade.
Tim had similar thoughts:
We’ve re-elected the president. I hope that those of you who voted for him get what you wanted, good and hard.
For your amusement, here’s some other bloggers’ post-election writings in no particular order. Doing it this way will avoid clogging up next week’s Lightning Round with only election stuff.
Rollo and Mark Minter
The Captain Again
An Instapundit Reader
Update: More Post-election Analysis – 2012/11/08
Update: A few more – 2012/11/09
Update: One last time – 2012/11/13