New Era?

23:57 Tue 04 Nov 2008. Updated: 17:25 28 Jan 2009

Obama won, which was no surprise. I expected him to win comfortably, although I was surprised by how early McCain conceded.

Although I didn’t vote for Obama, I’m obviously happy that the McCain/Palin ticket aren’t going to end up running the country. In addition, the symbolic importance of Obama’s win is undeniable.

The Democrats are going to have control of the entire government. I wish I could feel happier about that than I do. I’m curious about what excuses they’re going to use for not following a progressive agenda, if they bother with excuses at all.

For the sake of it, here are some things that I’d love to see the Dems do, but which I have very little faith in their actually doing, despite their mandate:

Repeal the Military Commissions Act.
Repudiate the idea that the government can spy on communications between Americans.
Stop mandatory fingerprinting of all foreigners entering the country.
Overhaul the voting system in this country to ensure all voters can exercise their democratic rights without interference.
Reverse the Bush Administration’s drive towards a) greater secrecy and b) executive overreach (e.g. signing statements).

Note that I’m not even including the really big things, like ending (and apologizing for) the invasion of Iraq; enacting stronger consumer bankruptcy rights and protections; drastically cutting war spending and redirecting that money to programs for lower-class Americans; etc., etc. In fact, the five things I listed above are mostly without significant financial consequence and so might actually be doable for Obama, in that his major moneyed backers might not object to them all that strongly. Well, they’d probably object to voter protections, but hey.

Incidentally, Obama supporters should really thank the Pittsburgh Steelers—and note that the fact that they won in 2004 is merely further proof that the election was stolen from Kerry.

Regardless of my qualms, it’s still fantastic to finally see that the Bush period is over, which it would not have been had McCain won, and that McCain and Palin have been kept far from the reins of power. Frankly, as much as I despise the Democrats for mostly just appearing to be a better alternative while doing much of the same stuff as the Republicans, it remains the case that had Obama lost this country might well have been too batshit crazy to have any hope whatsoever. At least with Obama there’s hope from the fact that a lot of people want to go in a better direction.

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