What the Election Means

Sen. Tom Bakk introduces Democratic Sen. Melisa Franzen [Tony’s new state senator] at the Minnesota DFL Election Night Party at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul, Minn. Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson)

While I reject all of the puffed-up rhetoric that this-is-the-most-important-election-in-our-lifetime, it was a momentous night. Not because we elected a person of color, but because we seem to have risen about the politics of race and elected the person we think can best lead us.

Here’s Andrew Sullivan:

One felt something tectonic shift tonight. America crossed the Rubicon of every citizen’s access to healthcare, and re-elected a black president in a truly tough economic climate. The shift toward gay equality is now irreversible. The end of prohibition of marijuana is in sight. Women, in particular, moved this nation forward – pragmatically, provisionally, sensibly. They did so alongside the young whose dedication to voting was actually greater this time than in 2008, the Latino voters who have made the current GOP irrelevant, and African-Americans, who turned up in vast numbers, as in 2008, to put a period at the end of an important sentence.

Regarding the stunning come-from-behind defeat of the marriage amendment in Minnesota, here’s a Facebook post from one of my dearest friends:

I’m grateful, too. And here’s what’s interesting. Both the marriage amendment and the voter ID amendment failed in Minnesota. Together they were a cynical ploy by Republican state legislators to drive social conservatives to the polls in an incumbency election — Republican operatives have admitted as much. The result of their attempted manipulation of our state constitution:

Obama won handily in Minnesota (by 8 points), even though some thought it a swing state.

Both amendments lost with room to spare, even though the voter ID amendment had been polling 20 points ahead as recently as two weeks ago.

– For the first time in 20 years, Democrats will now control both the state house and senate. I don’t know if I’ve ever been represented in the state senate by a Democrat (I live two blocks from where I grew up), but I am now.

It backfired.

This isn’t about Democrats defeating Republicans. This is about the voters defeating cynical political ploys.

For that reason alone, all American should be grateful this morning.

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  • Charles

    I’m a proud, happy, Minnesotan this morning! Love Wins! …and so does democracy.

  • Tom

    America rejected the extremism in the GOP last night. Romney tried to move to the center during the debates, but it was too late. In my home state of Indiana which held a key Senate race, we had the choice of Tea Party Mourdock who publicly despised bi-partisanship and represented extreme Christian fundamentalism, and Democrat moderate Donnelly who voted for the healthcare law. The state went to Romney, but voters split their ticket to make sure crazies like Mourdock did not represent them in Washington. I think that is a clear message.

    • As expected, conservative commentors are claiming that Romney just wasn’t conservative enough for Real America. I kind of wish Santorum had gotten nominated just so he could have been soundly thrashed and that canard could have been put to bed for good.

  • Vickie

    Watching the returns last night, it struck me that perhaps the Big Loud White Male will finally have to accept that He is becoming the minority, that language of peace and acceptance is more powerful than blustery aggression, and maybe, just maybe, our nation inched slightly closer toward that far goal of Enlightenment. Sounds like the Way of Jesus to me.

  • Frank

    There is nothing Jesus in rejecting Gods design for sexuality and marriage nor is there Jesus in supporting abortion on demand. The Democrats have won, although half the country voted against them, but the way of Jesus lost.

    • Luke Allison

      The Way of Jesus is best represented by a Mormon (flip-flopper on abortion) and a rabid Ayn Rand-disciple?

      The Way of Jesus is best seen in Christians mobbing up to show a group of people historically reviled by the church that they are “less than?”

      The Way of Jesus is best represented by Christians leading with purity and holiness codes as opposed to leading with ethical and merciful codes? (I seem to recall a certain parable of Jesus regarding a hated and reviled person choosing one commandment of God over another and being in the right)

      Frank, you lose relevance through these types of absolutist statements. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you didn’t appreciate nuance or subtlety.

      • Frank

        If rejecting Gods design for sexuality and marriage and rejecting the slaughter of innocent life, 21,000 a week, mostly for reasons of convenience is not being “relevant” than I happily stay ” irrelevant.” The way of Jesus lost big time yesterday.

        • Luke Allison

          Can you highlight for me Mitt Romney’s plan to end abortion?
          Also, tell me where freedom of religion and freedom of speech fits into “God’s design” as well.

          Also, if that many lives are being ended, why do you only do things like picket and post blogs about it? Shouldn’t you be rushing in to put your body between the abortionists and the lives of the infants? If you really believed what you’re saying, than you would embrace free access to contraception and you would also be protesting the thousands of lives lost each year due to spontaneous abortion (miscarriage). To just go about your normal life routine while millions are being slaughtered (that’s what you believe) is not just strange….it’s immoral.

          I think, in the grand scheme, that you’re far more concerned with what people do with their genitalia than you are with “life.”

          • Frank

            I am not here in defense of Mitt Romney or even the GOP. I am here about the Democratic platform that celebrates the killing of over 21,000 innocent lives each week mostly for reasons of convenience. I am here about the Democratic platform that rejects Gods design for sexuality and marriage. Any Christian who voted Democratic should be ashamed and yet I suspect they are celebrating. There is nothing about the Kingdom of God in this election result.

          • Luke Allison

            You only responded to one question I asked.

            Whenever you say something like “any ____ who ______ should be ______” you start to lose my attention.

          • “Any Christian who *thinks any one political party wholly represents God’s will, the Kingdom of God, or God* should be ashamed…”

            FIFY, Frank.

          • Frank

            I never said that but thanks for showing your bias. What I said was “Any Christian who voted Democratic should be ashamed and yet I suspect they are celebrating. There is nothing about the Kingdom of God in this election result.”

          • Luke Allison

            How about saying “there is nothing about the Kingdom of God in this political system”, then?

          • Frank

            I think we agree on something Luke.

    • Sven

      Funny, I seem to recall Jesus saying “blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”.

      I don’t think Jesus was big on making some people second-class citizens.

      • Frank

        Indeed the unborn have the Kingdom of Heaven but those who support their slaughter do not. People make themselves “second class” by choosing their desire and selfishness over the will of God.

        • Chris

          I don’t understand, the election had nothing to do with abortion. No matter who won yesterday abortion is going to be there tomorrow. The Supreme Court isn’t overturning Roe V. Wade anytime soon if not ever. So why are we even discussing this?

          • Frank

            When a party believes so strongly in the rightness of someone to kill an innocent life, over 21,000 each week, mostly for reasons of convenience, and we are a follower of Jesus and we allow this, it becomes THE issue.

          • Curtis

            Obviously, if everyone agreed that the 21,000 killed each week were people, you would be right. We need to have an agreement on when a person’s life begins before we can state how many innocent people are killed each week.

          • Frank

            Both the bible and science tell us life begins at conception. There is no question.

          • Curtis

            I didn’t say life. I said person.

          • Frank

            There is no difference. A human life at any stage is a person.

          • Curtis

            And there is no agreement on that point, either Biblical or scientific. My wife and I went through two IVF cycles. Eight embryos were discarded in the process. Why are we not serving life in prison? And if you think we shouldn’t serve life in prison, why not?

            I respect that believing that personhood starts at conception would make a person stridently opposed to abortion as well as modern contraception and reproductive techniques. I would expect as much. Murder is a terrible thing, and if you believe a murdered occurred, I would expect you to act accordingly. But to the same degree that I can respect your belief, as long as there is disagreement on the point of personhood, you must also respect those who conclude differently.

            You cannot ask for respect from others that you are not willing to grant to others yourself.

          • Frank

            There are certainly issues that complicate and muddy the waters a bit. I am not in a position to make that kind of judgement. However when someone aborts a child because its not convenient to have a child, that clearly is murder. Maybe not according to our counties laws at the moment but according to our Christian faith it is.

            And I am not asking respect for myself. I don’t need yours or others respect. I ask for respect for the 21,000 innocent lives killed each week, 97% due to reasons of convenience.

          • Curtis

            Thank you for clearly stating your views.

            I think the election was a pretty clear indicator of how the general public feels about equating IVF with murder. Senate seats that should have been easy Republican wins in strongly Republican districts were won by Democrats over this single issue.

            Maybe it is God’s will that the idea that personhood begins at conception should be defeated? I have as much right to claim knowledge of God’s will as Mourdock does, don’t I?

  • Chris

    This has become a tired argument as it always is. It is ok to allow the killing of innocents in wars. It is ok to allow people to go hungry right at home in the US. It is ok to deny people healthcare and let them die because they can’t pay. All of those are part of the path of Jesus.
    But when there isn’t a law banning abortion then it is the end of the world. I am glad you can pick and choose which lives are more important and decide what ‘laws’ you’d like enforced.
    However, the real world doesn’t work that way.
    I get neither of the candidates perfectly embody the way of Jesus. Of course we are electing a President and not a Priest/Preacher/Reverend.
    But I would think the Democrat nominee is closer to the way of Jesus than the Republican one.

    • Frank

      We need to do all of the above but we cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus and sit idly by while over 21,000 innocent lives are killed each week, mostly for reasons of convenience, while we fight for the born.

      I am so glad you are “tired!” I am sure that lot of comfort to those over 21,000 killed this week alone.

      • Chris

        Can you please provide a link to this 21,000 abortions that are happening every week?

        • Frank

          Of course.

          Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and about four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion.

          In 2008, 1.21 million abortions ( 23,000+ per week) were performed, down from 1.31 million in 2000. However, between 2005 and 2008, the long-term decline in abortions stalled. From 1973 through 2008, nearly 50 million legal abortions occurred

          Reasons for abortion:
          Rape 1%

          (Source:The Alan Guttmacher Institute)

          According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were 820,151 legal induced abortions in the US in 2005. About 1% is due to incest or rape and about 3% due to mothers health.

          • Chris

            Thanks for this, I actually went and looked it up myself and those are the exact numbers I found. Honestly, it was higher than I expected.

    • Chris

      From one Chris to another,

      “It is ok to allow people to go hungry right at home in the US. It is ok to deny people healthcare and let them die because they can’t pay. All of those are part of the path of Jesus.
      But when there isn’t a law banning abortion then it is the end of the world. I am glad you can pick and choose which lives are more important and decide what ‘laws’ you’d like enforced.”

      I don’t think anyone is saying that those things are ever okay, but isn’t that precisely what you are doing? Picking and choosing when it comes to the unborn being of less, or no intrinsic worth? I understand that not everyone agrees what constitutes a human person, but if you believe that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life then can you understand why someone would want to protect it? And how do you assuage your guilt from the massive taking of that life? This is something that I have found difficult to comprehend. If you don’t believe this to be a human person than I can understand why you would not be concerned with protecting it. I don’t want to assume. Perhaps you don’t believe the unborn to be human persons.

      Sorry to get off topic here.

      • Chris

        I am not picking and choosing per se. As I mentioned to Frank in another post, we don’t live in a theocracy and the law book isn’t the Bible.
        So abortion is legal in the US and it will remain so. It is n;t going to be overturned, by Romney nor Obama nor anyone, because to do so would violate the Constitution. Now does this make it ok? Does it make it right? I am not saying that, I am saying that the law won;t change, so I am not going to vote for someone who claims otherwise when in reality it is a non-issue.
        There are other ways the laws might change to help reduce the number of abortions and better access to contraception and counselling through Planned Parenthood is just one of those ways.
        Increase social assistance is another way to help those who are less fortunate.
        I am just trying to help and live out my values in the system in which I live.
        So when I say we are picking and choosing, people are up in arms about abortion but the law won’t change and we are putting our efforts towards a fruitless cause.
        Instead that effort could be going to help educate young poor girls etc,etc.
        I hope I am getting my point across, I feel like I am just rambling on. So I do apologize

  • Frank, you need to stop with the “mostly for reasons of convenience” line. We get it. You think women are slutty little sluts for having slutty slut sex, those sluts.
    But it’s not true. It’s about lack of viable options and access to contraception and education.

    If you truly want to reduce abortions, you should be shouting from the hills, singing the praises of the Affordable Care Act. “According to a Washington University School of Medicine study, abortion rates can be expected to decline significantly — perhaps up to 75 percent — when contraceptives are made available to women free of charge.” http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Abstract/publishahead/Preventing_Unintended_Pregnancies_by_Providing.99945.aspx

    75%, Frank. That’s real change. Way, way more than would happen if abortion were made illegal. Which it won’t be, because it’s just too darn effective as a fund-raising tool.

    • Frank

      The facts are the facts. Look it up. Only about 3% of all abortions are due to rape, incest or the life of the mother. The rest are reasons of convenience.

      I am all for reducing the number of abortions by educating people about the value of life and about personal responsibility. I am all for giving out free condoms. But to allow the slaughter of over 21,000 innocent lives each week mostly due to reasons of convenience while we do those things is unacceptable for any moral or ethical person and most certainly is unacceptable for anyone calling themselves a follower of Jesus.

  • Just to clarify, the link in my previous comment was for the study itself. What I quoted was Eric Miller writing in Religion Dispatches: http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/sexandgender/6501/barack_obama,_pro-life_hero_/

  • Now for something completely different: a non Franko-centric comment.

    One thing I really, really hope this election means is that we will hear a whole lot less from men spouting vile, insulting things about rape. (Not hearing from them at all would be best, but I fear that is hoping for too much.)

    If I had created this I would have called it misogynist losers or something, but still this makes me happy (even though Ryan retained his House seat): http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TC6CpdWVzYo/UJqFBc58DEI/AAAAAAAB9l8/Y7RCeEv0qpc/s1600/AbortionLosers.jpg

  • Tim

    “This isn’t about Democrats defeating Republicans. This is about the voters defeating cynical political ploys.”

    Color me unconvinced that this is a sincere statement. Of course the author of this piece is pleased that the Democrats defeated the Republicans. To infer otherwise is disingenuous. Would the author be elated if the Democrats had (heaven forbid) engaged in “cynical political ploys” to advance gay marriage, and been foiled in doing so? Hell no…

    • Frank

      If the Dems used cynical political ploys? IF?

      How do you think they got a good portion of the womens vote? Even though it was a fallacy, many women fell hook, line and sinker into the war on women rhetoric. And here I thought women were smarter than men.

      • Tim

        No, Frank, the Dems NEVER use cynical political ploys. Only Republicans do that.

    • Curtis

      I can think of no other reason to put marriage in the state constitution, other than for political gain. If Democrats did it, I would feel the same way.

      • Frank

        God designed sexuality and marriage to be between one man and one woman. That’s why people fight for it.

        If the GOP wanted to gain politically they would simply abandon their beliefs to get more votes.

        • Tim

          Exactly. Was it a “cynical political ploy” when Obama changed his position on the issue of gay marriage? Of course not, when it’s a Democrat who finally sees the light of the greatness of gay marriage.

        • Sven

          God didn’t design marriage. Its roots are in property transfer, not the divine.

          • Frank

            You say tomato the bible say tomato. I’ll stick with the bible.

          • Sven

            Frank, you misunderstand. The FACT that marriage originated in property transfer is not a matter of OPINION.

          • Frank

            The fact is that God created them male and female.

        • Chris

          Again, we don’t live in a Theocracy. Our law book is not the Bible it is the Constitution.
          This is not a Christian nation it is a secular one provided with the separation of Church and State.

          If you can provide Constitutional basis for why gay marriage is wrong please do and perhaps the law would reflect that. But just because you and millions of other Christians thinks gay marriage is wrong doesn’t mean the law should reflect that. For the record, I think gay marriage is ok and abortion is wrong. This view in no way tempers what I think the laws surrounding these issues should be.

  • Somehow I think the way of Jesus would have nothing to do with politics at all.

  • Ratchet

    Thanks for your kind words, friendship, support, and action, TJ. I learn so much from reading your blog and the comments. I especially appreciate what you’ve said in your last paragraph about the meaning of the election. A different way of thinking and a different conversation is suddenly blooming out of the old two party system and their very stale arguments and issues. I know I’ll appreciate and learn from the continued conversation here. Much love friend!

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