The Results Are In

In a narrow victory, Greg Ballard – some guy I’ve never heard of – won over incumbent Bart Peterson in the Indianapolis Mayoral race last night. This is disappointing to me for two reasons. One, Greg Ballard isn’t a politician. He is a “self-employed leadership consultant” who takes money from you to give you speeches. People think this lack of experience is a good thing. I can understand where that feeling comes from (fresh new face! new ideas! new energy!), but in this case what they’re expecting him to do is something I think he’ll soon learn is impossible – keep all the homeowners in Indianapolis from paying outrageous taxes. See, he’s not in it for “everyone.” He’s a Republican. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find some sort of “trickle-down economics” put in place. The really wealthy people with the really expensive homes get the tax breaks while the more affordable your house is, the less difference you’ll notice in your property taxes. But since those rich people employ you, you’ll see a bigger paycheck. Right?

As far as I can tell he’s just some rich dude who was sitting around complaining about property taxes with his rich friends who said “You’ve got so much money. You should totally run against Peterson.” And he said “Yeah. I do have a lot of money.”

Second, people got pissed about one issue and ended up removing the majority of the Democrats from office. This is the same mistake people made four and eight years ago. They get tired of the status quo (which, if I remember correctly was pretty good: first budget surplus in history, all-time unemployment and homelessness low, good terms with the rest of the world) and get up in arms about one single thing, then vote in a bunch of Republicans who are going to screw up more than they’ll fix. Of course, this is just my opinion and I’m no political expert. It just appears as though this same thing happens and time and time again and no one ever learns from their past mistakes.

Republicans claim to be for smaller government. They support limited government involvement and lower taxes. In this case, they do not want large welfare programs to support people who perhaps could otherwise “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” It is my humble opinion that they don’t seem to have a problem offering assistance to those who don’t really need it, in the case of corporate welfare programs and government subsidies for really large organizations, or in the case of Blackwater and Haliburton. They give government aid to churches and religious organizations (Faith-Based Initiatives) that discriminate against people who ask for their help (the Salvation Army), but tell them they can’t do that. Then they don’t remove the millions (actually, more like 40 billion, altogether) some organizations receive when they do discriminate against certain people (gays, people suffering from AIDS, people who refuse to take their Christian oath).

As a casual observer I have noticed Republicans do nothing but make government bigger, but in a really bad way. If we’re going to dump billions of dollars into paying already obscenely wealthy people, it only makes sense to a bleeding-heart liberal such as myself to think this money could be used for so much more. Free healthcare for everyone. Hell, I’d pay more in taxes just so low-income families could get free medicine just for their children. And whether I’m smoking at the moment or not, I have no issue with the so-called “sin taxes” on things like cigarettes and alcohol to pay for children’s healthcare.

In a nutshell, the GOP is one of the two political parties we have in the U.S. and claims to be socially conservative, which has gotten more and more so over the years I have been paying attention to the news. As people have begun racing to the White House for the election that’s a year away, some Republicans have tried to distance themselves from Iraq and the current administration, stating that they may be economically conservative, but they are not so socially conservative that they want to persecute gays or take away rights from other minorities. Some say they are proponents of finding better ways to solve the energy crisis and global warming. The general GOP has moved further and further from the moderate side of things to being a party consisting of religious right-wing nutjobs who sneak around at night paying for sex with gay hustlers.

The Democratic party in the U.S. is one that aims to provide freedom and opportunity for all citizens. Dems support a more mixed economy wherein free enterprise is encouraged but with minimal government intervention (perhaps in the case of the Microsoft anti-trust lawsuit?). The party is supposed to be socially progressive, a proponent of civil liberties and equal rights, as well as a certain amount of fiscal responsibility and progressive taxation. I don’t know how much of this is really true because I see people like Barrack Obama running around with ex-gay gospel singers to attract votes from gay-bashing Southerners. It seems like a really stupid thing to do.

According to a Pew Research study, 72 million registered voters in the U.S. are Democrats, while about 55 million are registered as Republicans and 42 million as Independent. I realize this doesn’t mean much. I, myself, am a registered Independent because I don’t particularly agree with everything the Democratic party does and have no reason to feel I should register as anything with the government. I’m sure there are many other people who are on the opposite end of the political spectrum and who feel the same way, for different reasons, about the GOP. But it doesn’t make sense to me that in a country where we still have poverty, child and elder abuse, animal fighting for sport, theft and murders, problems restricting gun ownership, starvation and homelessness, that people continue to vote into power those who claim not to want to help those that need it most.

My grandparents, for example. Card-carrying NRA members with Reagan memorabilia and John Wayne calendars on their wall. My grandfather was in Korea and thinks this means he should receive free healthcare for life. He obviously makes a distinction between who is capable of receiving this kind of benefit and who does not deserve it. But he has no problem, it seems, with the general idea of what one might consider a socialized medical plan. But if you used those words to label what he was describing, he might just put one of his rifles in your face.

While my grandparents are probably part of the majority (Baby Boomers and their parents who feel something is “owed” to them, because of their previous duty or service to the U.S.), they like to classify everyone in terms of what we deserve, based upon our race, religion, gender, sexual preference, class status, education, and politics. In fact, what I think my grandparents may be are the ultimate anti-social-progressives. While they may feel every child should stand up and recite the Pledge of Allegiance (the new, updated version with God in it), and be taught Bible study in school, there is no real proof in my opinion that these activities make a person more “Christian.” This may be just another matter of opinion, but I don’t find that my grandparents or anyone they associate with to be especially tolerant, loving, or kind. In fact, if this is their and the GOP’s idea of how to solve some of our problems in America – by shoving religion down the throats of children – I imagine we would end up with a country full of unpleasant, intolerant, abusive, racist, homophobic bigots who use Bible verses to back up their hateful ideas.

To quote a character in Hannah & Her Sisters: “If Jesus came back today and saw what was going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

From what I can tell, things like socialized medicine, gay marriage, and free education for everyone are never going to happen in the U.S. People are too stubborn and the ones who are making the decisions really think gays are out to ruin the sanctity of marriage and that liberals want to live in a Communist state where we have to fight for toilet paper and stand in line for four hours for a can of beans. We’ll never get anything done as long as we continue to fight for the “freedom of the American people” and act like everyone is a special little snowflake who deserves his or her private independence and owes nothing to our brothers and sisters in need – either those next door or around the globe.


6 thoughts on “The Results Are In

  1. What’s wrong with someone running that’s not a career politician? Personally speaking, with so many career politicians running our lives, change can never happen. Ballard might be some rich guy, but so is Peterson, and right or wrong, Peterson has acted like a Republican for many years giving away money and taxes to corporations that don’t need them.
    My friends overseas so no real difference between Dems and Repubs because they all act very similarly once elected. Hillary is in the pocket of Lilly, for example. Think she’s going to fix healthcare?
    Sadly, we don’t have good choices these days.
    Scott and I voted against a Dem on the council because she voted against the HRO. In my eyes, Dems are no worse or better than Repubs. They are politicians, and therefore, suspect.

  2. This is a lovely and well-thought out post. I was trying to explain to Eric yesterday what makes a Republican and what makes a Democrat, but when you go by the old stand-by definitions the parties have for themselves, it just comes out sounding ridiculous because when in my lifetime has the Republican party actually lived up to “the party of fiscal responsibilty”? If you don’t mind, I will share this with him, although probably just cut and pasted into an e-mail because I don’t want to send him to your site to find a link to our blog. Not ready for that just yet.

    BTW, disgruntled property tax payers of Indy, since when does the mayor set your property taxes? That’s a state legislature decision. Poor Bart– blame the f’ing stadium on him. I’m with you there, but don’t blame him because your damn property taxes went up.

  3. Jay; I understand what you’re saying but I don’t think I was as clear as I could have been. My issue is that this election was *strictly* about property taxes for the voters and they forgot about anything else.

    A career politician is not my favorite kind of person and that’s not at all what I was promoting. Not having any experience working in politics means not knowing how to go through proper channels and get these things done he’s promised. That’s all I meant. Peterson was already working on the tax issue and ran into problems.

    People who get elected as Republicans (in situations like this) do so by convincing the voters they will be able to make a change. They use that single issue to further their own, more conservative, agenda, and end up changing things to suit themselves and put money in their and their colleagues’ pockets. While I admit I know very little about Bart Peterson or Greg Ballard, I do know Ballard is a social conservative and a career Marine, two things that tell me he’s not going to do much to help “the little guy.”

    I think I would rather have a Dem in office who occasionally acts like a Republican than a Republican who *always* acts like one. Whether Ballard can fix these property tax problems people are so upset about, I know the Republicans now control the entire state and our capital city, not to mention multiple other small towns throughout and we’ve lost any possibility of checks and balances. When Mitch and Ballard and these guys get together with Bosma and try to institute another Constitutional ban on gay marriage, I can’t say I’ll be shocked, but I’ll do whatever I can to keep it from happening.

  4. “I think I would rather have a Dem in office who occasionally acts like a Republican than a Republican who *always* acts like one.”

    Me too. “More honest” is not as good as just plain “honest,” but I’ll take it over deceptive and kinda scroogey any time.

  5. Your commentary here is sweeping but more-or-less reflects my own views. Just keep in mind that Ballard and other city Republicans didn’t do anything for or against Iraq nor will they come out in opposition or in support of socialized medicine because they are local not national politicians. Most city government really exists below party lines and stays in the pockets of the machines which have party names but don’t abide by party politics. The most accurate stuff you said was in the response to Jay…who made some pretty good points himself…

    Your reasonableness in regard to “career politicians” is to be commended too. A lot of people write off career politicians as if there were any other kind. Ballard is hardly an anomaly jumping from no previously held elected official up to mayor, although it might seem strange that his city is the 10th, 12th, or 14th largest city in the country (depending on how you measure.)

    Yeah, poor ol BP lost because people in Indy don’t know who to be angry at. The Democrat that acts like a Republican that didn’t raise their taxes or the city council that also didn’t raise their taxes. Now they have a mayor _and_ a city-council certain to make a whole lot of things a whole lot worse for whole lot of people but that’s OK because they can just blame the Democratic governor…uh oh. Golly when the Republicans get rid of all the Democrats who are they gonna blame for the shit they fuck up?

    Expect better things in two and four years.

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