Doing my part on election day

As Julie Marsh wrote, it often takes courage for women to speak up about politics because we fear alienating our friends and family. I suppose that’s true. I don’t write about politics a lot here for various reasons. Although I think I’ve been clear which way I lean. (ahemleftcough)

It damn near broke my heart that I wasn’t at the Rally to Restore Sanity this weekend, because ten years ago, there wouldn’t have been a doubt in my mind that I’d have found a van or a train ticket, made my way down there, and camped out on my brother’s floor brainstorming signs.

My favorite of the weekend: I may disagree with you but I don’t think you’re Hitler.

My second favorite: God hates Snuggies.
Today is election day and I’d imagine it’s not going to go the way I’d make it go, if I were a supreme being and had the ability to knock sense into people who like the sound of that nice Sharon Angle in Nevada who doesn’t believe in the silly old constitution, thinks that Latinos are Asians, and doesn’t think she should have to tell voters about her policies. You can find out after you elect her! See, it’s like a game? Isn’t that fun?

I am coming to terms with the fact that this may be the decade of crazy.

So today I want to go out on a limb (with encouragement by Julie and Jon Stewart) to take on the crazy. Because the only crazy I like in this country is on Bravo every night around 9PM and involves Botox.

I have also been prey to the media narrative Congress has been totally ineffective! It’s hard to avoid it actually. And because I may not be the only person out there who wants to be able to respond uh, no they haven’t, here’s an incomplete list of all the lame things our Democratic-run congress accomplished in just 21 months. With thanks to Rachel Maddow and Julie Pippert (another great Julie).

-Extending government health insurance for 4 million uninsured children
-Passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
-Passing landmark credit card reform legislation to protect consumers from sudden, undisclosed rate hikes among other things
-Passing health care reform that now gives 95% of our country health insurance and controls costs for the first time ever
-Passing the single largest tax cut ever: The Stimulus Bill 
-Passing the sweeping financial reform bill to curb Wall Street excesses while protecting average consumers so we never go through 2007-2009 again.
-Making the single largest investment in clean energy and education
-Giving power to the FDA to regulate tobacco including stronger labeling
-Passing of the Hate Crimes Bill
-Passing Veterans Health Care Budget and Reform Act of 2009, plus the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 to offer more services for women veterans and for veteran caregivers.
-The strongest bill to increase government transparency and ethics ever created by an administration to self-regulate, including a ban on lobbyist gifts.
-Ending taxpayer subsidies to private banks who earned interest on government-backed college loans, so more money can be put into the loans that we back in the first place.
-Passing the Edward M Kennedy Serve America Act tripling the size of our national service program
-Initiating Cash for Clunkers which restarted auto sales
-Bailing out the American auto industry (which worked, ahem)
-Passing the most significant consumer protection bill in history
-A total of 25 tax cuts

This, all while reducing America’s inordinate deficit and taking us out of the recession.

[edited to add: another good resource to check out:, courtesy Laid off Dad, which is not limited to congressional measures that have passed into law]

Now these initiatives may not line up with your values, and in that case, I will try to respect that. But they certainly line up with mine.

I like how Rachel Maddow put it: Our congress spent their political capital to tackle major, challenging, longstanding problems and actually get get things done. The Democrats were “the party that took on political problems when they had a chance,” even if it meant losing the midterm elections.

Policy over politics. Man, I wish we had more of that around here.


41 thoughts on “Doing my part on election day”

  1. It's nice to see that list. I was telling my husband last night, I don't think Obama and the Democratic congress have done a bad job. They have accomplished a lot, I just wish Obama had kept his campaign promises to end DADT. That should have been and easy (easy by congress standards) to get done by now. Hell, all he had to do was not challenge the judge's ruling that DADT is unconstitutional. On this issue I believe he lied on the campaign trail.

    I also think his and the democrats in congress' capitulation on healthcare [insurance] reform did not go far enough to control prices (we see insurance companies already finding new ways to stick it to consumers) and threw women under the bus (Stupak Amendment).

    All that said, I will be voting Democrat because the Republicans are right, freaking scary!

  2. Hear, hear! I wish I had been as brave as you with my Election Day post – I whimped out and just said we all should vote, no matter what our political leanings may be.

    That said, I also lean to the ahemleftcough and I don't think Obama has gotten his fair shake in this world of instant gratification. I just wish he'd be more aggressive about getting his message out – the Repubs. sure are good at that!

  3. Great list! I wish I had heard more talking up of that list from Obama and the other Dems. The crazy has drowned out the reality.

  4. Oh my gosh Bill, you said it.

    and if the news media took the time to actually report the news instead of creating must-see TV.

  5. It takes a lot of time to a) explain this and b) do stuff. And our country isn't patient. Even parts of the left are frustrated with Obama and Congress.

    I'm 100% with you, and I tried to bring others on board. I did my best, and I voted, and now I just have my fingers crossed that everything doesn't go to hell (again) economically, and that by 2012 people realize that actual policies are more important than soundbites.

  6. This is so great. Thank you. Usually, I get very worked up about politics, but this year, I'm so sickened that I am barely following it. I can't stand that people expect our entire economy to be fixed in such a short time, and that they DON'T want the healthcare bill. WTF? Why can't people use their brains? Health care is good? Why weren't the Republicans complaining about this debt when we had a motherf-ing war going on? I just can't handle it. Err.

  7. Great post! The NYTimes had a nice article too on Obama. I wish this information was better publicized instead of getting the hate both from Fox and the Huffington Post.

    It would be nice to inject a little more sanity into the public discourse.

  8. Nice list!

    I live in the purple-ist county in California (San Diego, which actually has an almost equal number of registered Democrats and Republicans). I too lean left. However, I actually decided to vote for a republican today. Not Meg or Carly (sorry, I don't care for their policies, and tell me, WHY do political signs for female candidates always use first names, while those for male candidates use last names? I can't figure it out).

    I voted for Mike Villines for Insurance Commissioner, because a couple of years ago, he was one of the two republican state assemblymembers who dared to cross the aisle and vote for a budget so that my state could start paying its bills again, breaking months of gridlock.

    For this crime, his own party tried to run him out of office. He knew that they would do that before he cast his vote, and he did it anyway because he thought it was the right thing to do.

    I think the democrat running for this office would be a fine choice… but I decided that I should reward Mr. Villines' political courage. We need more of that in my state!

    On the national level, I think Obama is a victim of the unrealistic expectations AND fears he raised in people. He was neither the Messiah nor Hitler. Just a sort of centrist Democrat who arrived in office to one hell of a financial mess. I doubt any administration or congress could have gotten through the financial crisis with approval ratings intact. To me, the real question is whether the two sides can find a way to work together after these elections.

  9. Thank you for posting this. I often go back and forth about posting on the topic of politics. You did such a great job of keeping me a little bit optimistic!

  10. Passing laws doesn't necessarily fix things — I'd be surprised if it turns out health care costs really will be controlled, for example. However I respect your list, and I'd add that I know some strapped folks glad for the “Obama money” that's kept them out of foreclosure.

  11. I am tired of the excuses and the finger pointing on both sides. When it is more important to make the other guy look stupid than to fix the problems we are in trouble.

    I just want our gov't to STFU and work- no excuses. Stop talking about who did what because we were all a part of it in one way or another.

    Damn, I can't imagine going to my office and telling my boss that I couldn't get things done because of XYZ.

    But both parties do it all the time. WTF.

  12. Yes, yes, and yes.

    I'm not sure what else to say. I have my beliefs, other people have theirs, and it seams neither is likely to change the other's mind. But I voted. And I tried to convince all of my friends to vote, too. That's what I can do today.

  13. I'm a Canadian, and am watching what's happening in the States with horrified fascination. I see my country going down the same road, with the hyper-partisanship and eternal attacks – if you don't agree with me you must be my enemy – and it makes me sad. We should all be so much better than that.

  14. Obama has done more during his time in office than any other president since Johnson. He hasn't even completed one term. I for one think this meager list of yours is pretty damned impressive. The Dems in Congress need to grow a pair.

  15. Thank you for acknowledging the crazy that is this Senate race in Nevada, because OMGWTF Sharron Angle?? is killing me.

    Since I am obliged to participate in mandatory family fun with folks who like Sarah Palin on Facebook, I have to keep my own political commentary to a minimum.

  16. Thank you for this list.
    My son, my five year old boy, was previously uninsurable due to a pre-existing condition. If congress had passed nothing else, I would still have been tearily grateful. But they have done so much, despite such opposition from the right.

    Again, thanks for writing about the un-fun stuff.

    I always find voting exhilarating, even if my three year old was with me asking “but where are they running to?”

  17. Jennifer, I hear you. In fact, you sound a lot like Nate! But I'd imagine the families of those 4 million children who now have insurance feel the law fixed things for them. And the people who can no longer be uninsurable because of preexisting conditioners are pretty happy too. Like 6512 and growing, above.

    Laws can't change the world all the time, but they can change some people's worlds completely.

  18. I love your list and this post.

    Nothing about government is perfect. The thought of that, is hysterically funny. The people who thought electing Obama was a magic button fix, were seriously deluded. He didn't create the problems in our country, he was handed them on a shit platter, but he's trying dam hard to fix them. Will he succeed at all of it? Hell no. But shit, at least he's trying.

    I am now insurable. My six year old daughter is now insurable. Without me needing to work in a huge corporate company. This? Is progress.

    Progress is good.

  19. Funny how hard work and facing challenges no one else wants to face never makes it on the news, huh? I, too, died a little when I wasn't able to make the Rally to Restore Sanity. I was there in spirit. My favorite sign was, “I Fought the Nazis And They Don't Look Like Obama.” Sign held by an older gentleman who looked like he really was in WWII.

  20. Oh sure, you are brave to put this on your blog. . .but have you put it on Facebook??? (shudder) Nothing brings out the crazees like my Facebook “friends” (who are these people!?!).

    Great list. I voted today and said a silent prayer that the crazees don't take over completely.

  21. Oh the signs!! I loved them!! I just scrolled through nearly 500 of them and my personal favorites were…….

    “I believe in the separation of church and hate.”


    “May I please vote on your marriage?”


  22. I love you. That is all — just I love you.

    I too missed the rally. I actually planned on driving up from NC but our babysitter was ill and I was not making the 6 hour drive with my 3 year old.


  23. I watched Rachel Maddow the night she shared the list. I was really disappointed that she and the other lefties waited so long.

    Just remember Gandhi: You must be the change you want to see in the world. And don't forget Yo Gabba Gabba: Never give up. Keep tryin' And here's your mom: I'm so proud of you for being our institutional memory. It ain't over till Yogi Berra sings.

  24. I love this post! Excellent. I keep getting really sad when I think of how things went down yesterday. My mind it boggled.

  25. Amen, sister. Lately I feel like I'm the only Democrat in my crowd who's proud of what we've accomplished.

  26. the only upside of Black Tuesday that I can see is the insta-fodder provided for Jon Stewart and Colbert. Their shows will practically write themselves.
    Also, best sign at Rally for Sanity? Big pictures of Michael PALIN (of monty python) and BECK (of, well, Beck). The caption under the photos read PALIN BECK 2012.
    Now THAT's a ticket a gal could get excited about…Thanks for the post…but I'm going to go to sleep and dream that it's 2008 all over again.

  27. My favorite part of the rally, and I swing ahemmiddleoftheroadcough, was when Jon Stewart said:

    “Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn't the Promised Land. Sometimes it's just New Jersey.”

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