Sunday, November 05, 2006

23: Post-Mortem Baseball, Pre-Mortem Politics.


Just two weeks ago, when the Tigers were still the potential 2006 World Series champions, the Detroit Free Press published an article about how the team's success had a measurable effect on the midterm elections. The playoffs supposedly came to the aid of incumbants, in that potential voters were too busy watching baseball to watch, say, the gubernatorial debates. The playoff assisted Democrats in that Kenny Rogers' pitching made people more optimistic about pretty much everything, including the Michigan economy.

From here, I suppose it begs the question of whether or not the all-too-complete loss of the Tigers to the Cardinals will work for Republicans and challengers in the form of sudden pessimism. But let's be slightly zen about all that: even if this ends up being the case, Missouri would probably benefit more from a Democratic sweep than Michigan, and both Stabenow and Granholm enjoy significant advantages at this point.

Ultimately, I try not to block my passion for politics. There are differences between the two major parties that determine their policies, and there are also many striking and feasible options presented by third parties. If the tenor of the country has been one to provoke disenchantment and pessimism among progressives (I've certainly had many gloomy days), it is worth bearing in mind that McCarthyism preceded the sexual revolution and civil rights by about a decade, that "the business of America is business" preceded the New Deal by about a decade, and that James Buchanan (the worst president in American History so far; Bush is probably #2) came right before Abraham Lincoln.

Which doesn't mean that when change comes it will answer all of the questions and we'll have a tidy little utopia, or even a somewhat messy one. This may seem a diffuse point, but after spending a lot of the last week figuring out my own votes and positions, candidate-by-candidate, I've come to two conclusions:

1) Progressive pessimism is an essential ingredient in any Conservative's pie.

2) We have to take one step at a time... some times four steps back for every five steps forward.

I don't have room in my afternoon for superstitious fears of jinxing the election, and I'm not going to hedge around with words of caution. Confronted with the fact that, whatever the scenario, there will be more Democrats in congress a week from today than there are today, I refuse to be anything but optimistic. Optimism builds energy and energy builds confidence, and we're all more persuasive when we're confident. I'll continue to blog and read and write, and you should vote and read and write. And I'll write again, a triumphant post from the other side of Tuesday.

~ Connor

PS. One more for the road: Daily Kos: State of the Nation.



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