I spent a lot of yesterday as I always do, listening to liberal talk radio and then watching Countdown and Rachel Maddow last night. (As an aside, I have been a huge fan of Rachels radio show for awhile now, and I'm an even bigger fan of her TV show. The woman is smart and funny and I try to never miss her. She and Thom Hartmann share a place with me as the two smartest political pundits out there.) Anyway, Senator Bernie Sanders (another one of my favorites; he's almost enough to make me want to move to Vermont) was on Thom Hartmann yesterday. He's on on Fridays anyway, but yesterday he made a special appearance because of the election. He pointed out that the real challenge is just beginning, and if anyone thinks this is going to be easy then they are seriously mistaken. We as a people need to stay involved in the political process. As Senator Sanders pointed out, if we think the insurance companies are going to say "Ok, national health care is ok with us" then that's just crazy. They are going to do everything they can to keep the status quo. We as a united people of America have to fight like hell to make sure that real change comes. He also mentioned the oil companies. They are going to fight to keep from developing sustainable technologies that will take the profits out of their pockets. And the same with all the other huge corporations that exist; the military industrial complex and the financial institutions. Sen. Sanders said that the reason that Obama has won is because he recognized that his strength lies in the power of the people; and he had huge numbers turn out for him. I believe that he truly is sincere, and that he does have our interest at heart. And he showed us that a united front can really change things. He showed us that a people together are a strong force to reckoned with. What we have to do now is not just say "OK, we did this thing, we can go home now" We have to support him every step of the way by staying involved in whatever ways we can. We really can change a nation! We can continue the politics of hope.
The other thing that I find interesting is the question of what will happen to the Republican party. There's been a lot of speculation on that topic. I'll admit I read some of the comments people were making over on the Fox News site and they range from really ignorant to very scary. John was watching Fox noise last night, and he said Hannity is still screaming about Jeremiah Wright. Hey Sean, the election's over buddy. Did you miss it? Anyway, I don't believe that the majority of conservatives are really like the right wing nut jobs that comment over there. A lot of Republicans voted for Obama this time, too. If I were a conservative I would be asking myself what the future of my party was going to look like. It's pretty apparent that a lot of people are tired of the politics of fear and slime that has been the Rovian techniques that they tried again, and most people don't trust them on the issues either. I think the party needs to ask itself if it wants to continue to move to the right and become less and less a viable force in politics, or if it wants to move more to the center and have it's voice heard. I think it's important to have intelligent debate from both sides of the aisle in government, and that has been missing in the partisan politics of the last 8 years. However, in order to let that happen, they may have to make the decision to jettison the crazies who listen and believe the hatred that is spewed from people like Hannity and Limbaugh and O'Reilly every day. The conservatives of this country have some tough decisions to make too. I know what I would do. Cut the hatred right out, and rebuild the party on decent conservative principals. The crazy right wingers pretty much didn't vote until Reagan, so I say let them go back to their little corner and pray for Armageddon like they used to do and stay out of politics, it's pretty apparent their God of hatred is just a clay footed idol anyway. Let the rest of us get on with the important work of building a nation and a world for the future.