08 November 2006

Music for a Changing Landscape

I can't remember another election in my lifetime where so many other voters agreed with me on so many things. Instead of fighting off despair on election night, I watched with a calm smile on my face, hopeful that some degree of change might be afoot. The most relished defeat was of two men not even on the ballot: Bush and Rumsfeld. Funny how quickly they changed their tune about so many things following Tuesday's wake-up call.

I don't put a lot of stock in the Democrats. Just wanted to make that clear. Too many Democrats are in the same boat as the Republicans: too wealthy, too out of touch, too close to global money interests, more interested in power and party than in long-term public good. Yet they will provide some checks and balances to Bush's White House in the next two years. And maybe, just maybe, some vision and leadership.

And in the interests of diversity, two specifics are worth noting: 1) the USA is about to get its first female Speaker of the House. This is the position second in line to the presidency (should anything happen to the president and vice president -- like impeachment -- she's the boss!). 2) Minnesota voters have elected the first Muslim (Keith Ellison, also Minnesota's first black Congressman) to the US Congress. I know nothing about him or his policies, so this isn't an endorsement of him, just an acknowledgment of his achievement.

In the long term, I think the answer to re-invigorating US democracy is tied to things like instant runoff voting and third parties. The kind of things that keep a candidate in a two-party race from running on a "vote for me because I'm not HIM" platform.

Thanks to all of you thoughtful Americans (and even you angry ones) who took the time to participate in this mass exercise of democracy. It ain't perfect, but look how it can be self-correcting!Calypso Awakening CD cover

I've been pondering what would be a good song for this electoral mood. This might do the trick. Mighty Sparrow, of course, was one of the premier calypsonians, and in this 1957 song (originally from a Cook LP called Calypso Kings and Pink Gin) he talks about resistance to policies causing rising prices. Just thing of yesterday's US election as a big piece of mango wood, and it'll all make sense.

[mp3] Mighty Sparrow "No, Doctor, No"
from the album Calypso Awakening

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