Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for November 13th, 2022

2022 Election Musings

with 23 comments

Folks, I nearly titled this “Why can’t we get along?” But I decided to go with the above title, in the hopes that someone out there will attempt to civilly answer the questions I’m about to raise.

Anyway, here are my questions.

#1: Why, in Wisconsin, were we unable to vote out Senator Ron Johnson? Is it because Mandela Barnes was seen as too liberal? Is it because some folks apparently split their vote between Tony Evers (D, who retained his position as Governor) and Johnson?

Johnson acts like a buffoon. He says and does things that just don’t make any sense at all. He’s made Wisconsinites look like a bunch of hicks for the past twelve years, and apparently we’re about to be stuck with him for another six years in the US Senate providing the upcoming canvass (where results are finalized; it’s a recount, roughly) doesn’t hold any major surprises. (Usually it doesn’t.)

I’ve watched Johnson and what he does now for twelve years. He’s a very wealthy man who seemingly doesn’t care about anyone’s opinion but his own, and that’s poisonous when it comes to being a public servant. What the state of WI voters want seems irrelevant to him, and that’s why I voted against him.

#2: Why did we end up with a status quo election? Is it because voters were worried that chaos would ensue if we didn’t send back the same — or mostly similar — bunch of folks that were already there?

#3: How can we get along with one another — Democrat, Independent, Republican — if we can’t agree on what the facts are anymore?

This last is very worrisome to me, and it’s bothered me ever since former POTUS Donald Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway used the term “alternative facts.”

There is no such thing. There are just facts, and non-facts. (Lies, errors, call it what you will.)

Look. I am all for diversity of opinion. I don’t mute people unless they’ve done/said something so egregious, there’s no way I can possibly put up with it. (Some have called me “too nice for my own good.” That’s almost certainly true.) I listen to people because I want to know what they think. (If I just wanted to know what I thought, well, I’d be like Senator Johnson. No thanks.) I want to know, in other parts of the country, what the big issues are. What is vexing other folks? Why? How can they be helped, or is there anything I can do, as a citizen, to help them?

That’s what I try to do.

But when a man complained that I supposedly don’t call out “hate speech” from Democrats…as someone did on my Facebook page recently…I don’t know what the Hell to do about that.

Now, let’s talk about “hate speech” for a moment. Is it stuff that puts down Republicans that this person was upset with? (If so, that’s not hate speech. That’s just a different opinion.) Is it discussions about how “all” R voters are a bunch of hicks? (I’d disagree with that assumption.) Is it discussions that some folks continue to not abide the former POTUS Donald Trump (also called 45, also called “the former guy”) that are upsetting this gentleman? (Again, people have a right to their opinion.) Is it when people get upset that a bunch of folks who continue to believe the 2020 election was “rigged” ran for office and campaigned that if they won, there’d never be another Democrat winning an election again, that people got upset about it? (We saw this in Wisconsin with former gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels.)

I’ve said in various places that I disagree when a politician says something stupid, much less something actively hateful. That’s because I don’t like hate.

I think we are on this Earth to somehow get above that. We’re supposed to learn, change, and grow, and we can’t do these things if we won’t talk to one another.

I also think it’s very, very sad that I must spell this out. But that’s where we are.

My view is very simple, here. I can’t stand dishonesty or deceit. I’ve seen some elections I’ve deeply questioned, that have troubled me. But what I did, at the time, was to be one of the folks observing the recount. That allayed my fears considerably, and I suggest this to anyone who continues to have doubts about what their own local election officials are doing.

I believe in “trust, but verify.” (Ronald Reagan said this, and it’s true.)

So, I understand why someone is angry, at least in part, when their candidate loses. (I understand how frustrating it is to still be represented by Ron Johnson, as I said before.) I understand why someone would feel that the worst excesses of any given party need to be called out…and even why someone wouldn’t like it when all of one particular party seem tarred with one brush.

Let me make it plain. I do not believe every R voter out there is a racist. (That’s stupid.) I also don’t believe that every R voter out there is an election-denier, or someone who thinks elections should be “overseen” by just one party. They definitely shouldn’t be, because the temptation there would be far, far too great to do whatever the Hell that one party liked, and the good of the overall populace be damned.

That way lies autocracy, folks. I am against that with every fiber of my being.

I am against gerrymandering for the same reason. That allows one party to get an “edge” over another party — in this state, it’s the Rs over the Ds, but in IL, it’s more the Ds over the Rs as I understand it — and again, that does not serve the voters whatsoever.

When you can’t vote people out because the district they “represent” is overloaded by one party or another, that’s a recipe for disaster. That’s why I support independent boards doing the redistricting instead (as they do in California and used to do in Iowa). That way, if you have a politician who’s not listening and worse yet isn’t doing the people’s business, you can get them the Hell out of there.

But more on the frustration, as that’s important.

There’s a good reason as to why people are angry, frustrated, and deeply upset: they don’t think their voices are being heard. That doesn’t matter if you live in South Dakota, say, or Illinois, or New York City, or Timbuktu. Every single person I’ve spoken to, regardless of party, does not believe they are being heard.

I read, recently, about something called the “Greater Idaho” movement. There are voters in Oregon who are deeply frustrated that they are never listened to about anything. These are farmers, ranchers, fishermen, etc., who feel they have no voice in the Oregon Legislature. So what they’ve done, instead, is start this “Greater Idaho” movement. They’re willing to see if Idaho will admit their counties, which are all right-leaning, so they can actually be heard by a state Legislature.

The last time anyone tried something like this was the late 1980s/early 1990s. There were four counties in Kansas who had never voted to join the state, but were annexed anyway. These four counties were considering becoming part of Colorado, at the time…it ended up as a stalemate, but the frustration was real.

My guess is that the “Greater Idaho” movement will end up the same way, but it was started for the same reason I’ve already given above: these people are not being heard, and they’re tired of it.

I don’t blame them at all for that. I hope their state will start listening to them.

Anyway, my point is very simple. I believe in diversity, freedom of thought, free and fair elections, and I believe in the ideals that founded the United States. I wish we were feeling better about ourselves as a nation, and as a people, so I didn’t actually need to state these very things.

P.S. On a wholly separate note, I continue to recover — very slowly — from what I think is the flu. Responses may be slowed due to that reason.

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 13, 2022 at 4:54 am