Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we have to be grateful for, such as family, friends, and faith. This year, I’ll have to add the election to that list. I know better than to put too much hope in a man, much less a political party. At the same time, the people we elect can make a real difference in peoples’ lives. While we don’t know how the economy will fare over the next four years, or what will happen in the Middle East tomorrow, these are some of reasons I’m thankful for the 2012 election:
- In spite of voter suppression laws, the people overcame new requirements and long lines to fill out a ballot. It was as inspiring as it was depressing to see voters standing in mile long lines on Election Day. The democratic process in the United States should be an example to the world, and yet, some Governors made a conscious choice to make voting as difficult as possible on their own citizens. Never-the-less, people overcame the shameful hurdles that were put in front of them and made their voices heard in record number.
- Courtesy of the Citizens United case, the flood gates were swung wide for special interest groups to pour money into the election process. As a result, conservative Super PACs outraised liberal PACs by an estimated 5 to 1 ratio. Eight of the top ten Super PACs supported Republican candidates. And yet, the avalanche of the commercials designed to mislead and create doubt were not enough to overcome the American people’s common sense. In the end, billionaires like the Koch Brothers and mega-rich hedge fund managers were not able to buy this election.
- I confess, I took a certain amount of satisfaction in the failed predictions of Karl Rove and the right wing pundits. It’s become the norm to hear Fox News and Rush Limbaugh declare their own sets of facts without having to back them up. That’s why it’s was especially gratifying to see their bombastic claims come crashing headlong into real time reality. Perhaps they will have greater regard for the science and math behind issues such as climate change. While that’s probably too much to ask, it was nice to see them have to face the facts for once.
- The US is a multi-cultural country that is at its best when it embraces its minorities. The Democratic Party is much more diverse than the GOP because their message is inclusive and inviting. That’s something Mitt Romney still doesn’t seem to understand. And so, it was rewarding to see people from across ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, educational backgrounds, and social statuses, all coming together to vote for a President that represents all of the people.
- I try not to take my health for granted, but I can imagine the only thing scarier than being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness is to then be told my insurance provider won’t pay for the treatment. Because of the Affordable Healthcare Act, millions of people will have access to decent healthcare and providers cannot rig the system to maximize their own profits. The House of Representatives has voted to repeal “Obamacare” 33 times and yet, despite all their efforts, the Affordable Healthcare Act will be the law of the land.
- Disregarding our poorest members for the sake of our richest is a policy that will lead to moral bankruptcy. For over a decade, the Bush tax cuts have largely benefited the upper class over the middle and lower classes. Because of these elections, we will hopefully have a slightly more equal playing field. At least social programs will not be slashed to the bone in order to continue to increase tax cuts for the top percentile. At our best, we are a nation that provides equality to all of its citizens and I believe the majority of us voted for that in November.
A wise man once told me that politics is never an end-game. They weren’t finished counting the votes before the sniping started up again. Fox News continues to promote a cover-up regarding the tragedy in Benghazi. The most celebrated General in the last decade has resigned in disgrace. The fiscal cliff looms. While political struggles will continue, an important victory has been won. With that in mind, I am going to take a few days to enjoy my family, good food, and football. And, for that, I’m thankful.
Jeff Fulmer lives in Nashville TN and is the author of the novel, Hometown Prophet.