It looks like Democrats are going to take some big hits in November. If you just asked yourself— What’s happening in November? —you’re part of the problem. There’s an election in November, Tuesday November 2, to be precise—less than a month away. If trends continue the way they’ve been heading Democrats will lose much of the majority they’ve worked so hard to attain in both houses of Congress.
Remember two years ago when you were all excited to vote, excited of the possibility of electing the first black president? Well it seems like now that we got what we wanted we’re willing to sit on our asses while the enemies of social progress have been building up their forces and stand poised to push us back to where we were during the Bush years. I suppose it’s been so long that you’ve forgotten how bad things were during those disastrous eight years. How have we gotten here—on the brink of losing all we’ve gained?
Apparently, some of Presidents biggest supporters during his election campaign are disappointed by the lack of change that has taken place, as promised. Add to this the fact that young voters, a large part of the force that helped Obama win the presidency, are not likely to vote in midterm elections, plus the discontent by tea partiers being manipulated by the right wing media and their Fundamentalist Capitalist sponsors; and you have a recipe for progressive disaster.
I have one thing to say to those of you who feel disappointed: Get the fuck over it. Seriously, our country was bleeding out. Maybe if Obama didn’t have to jump in and perform emergency CPR on our economy, things might be different. Think about it. If America was a real person—a close relative, like our father—we would be praising Obama as a hero for saving dad’s life, not criticizing all the promises he set aside during months of trying to stop the bleeding, mouth-to-mouth & chest compressions. And maybe America’s not 100%, yet, but we’re alive, and things are getting better, slowly but surely.
But the poorest among us are losing ground, people. The latest Census data released this month point to an increase in the American poverty rate, from 13.2% in 2008 to 14.3% in 2009. If that weren’t bad enough, the gap between the poor & the rich grew at record levels during that same period. That means that more people are becoming poor (By the way, I want to offer a warm welcome to all the former members of the Middle Class who have recently joined those of us already on The Bottom.) while the richest just keep getting even richer, faster.
None of this is Obama’s fault. This is all still fallout from the avalanche of financial deregulation that began during the Reagan years, deregulation that continues to line the pockets of the wealthy while the poor keep suffering. We might have hoped Obama was Superman, but really, he’s just a man. It’s going to take years of work to stem, then reverse, all the damage that those who believe that a free market can solve all our problems have caused. It will take even longer if we let lots of those free market fools back in office.
So don’t. There are more of us than there are of them. There aren’t enough greedy wealthy people and poor idiots who are manipulated by greedy wealthy people to beat us at the polls, unless we let them. But that’s exactly what it looks like is going to happen, unless you begin to take this election seriously. Vote. Already planning on voting? Make sure someone else who wasn’t does. Spread the word. Repost this column everywhere. Share it on your FaceBook page, Retweet it, Digg it, whatever. We have a little over a month to make a difference. If we can’t, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Fernando Quijano III is the former President of the Maryland Writers Association, Baltimore Chapter. His work has been featured in Welter, Smile Hon, You’re in Baltimore & the poetry anthology, Life in Me Like Grass on Fire. An excerpt from his unpublished novel, Forever, Lilith was included in the Apprentice House anthology Freshly Squeezed. He has been featured at the Baltimore Book Festival, Stoop Storytelling, & The Signal on WYPR, Baltimore's local NPR station. In his spare time, Fernando volunteers to lead workshops for Writing Outside the Fence, a program for the ex-offender community, as well as at the Brock Bridge Correctional Facility. Fernando was recently awarded a B grant for his writing by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund.