A Week after the Election: Now what?
It feels pretty good that the Democrats captured the House and the Senate, and that many Democrats defeated Republicans in statewide and local races. And it would be really easy to rest on one's laurels until 2008.
But just because many democrats won doesn't mean things will actually get any better. Many of them are in office just for the power and don't really care about turning things around. Lieberman won in Connecticut, for instance, so it's not like it's a progressive victory across the board.
So this post is a brainstorm of where we have to go, at a local, regional, statewide, and national level.
Nationally, we have a democratic congress but that doesn't guarantee much will happen. I don't expect that much legislation will pass in the next two years because Bush will veto just about everything now. I'm sad that Democrats in power are so worried about looking nice that they won't try to impeach Bush even though his crimes tower over Clinton's problems. Where I do have some hope is that Representative Henry Waxman (D-West Hollywood) will open up some serious investigations of the Bush Administration. I would like to see him conduct some serious inquiries into the Iraq/Afghanistan invasions, 9/11 security failures and contradictions, torture, wiretapping, and so forth. Apparently he's been "sharpening his knives" for a while now; perhaps what he uncovers wlll enable an impeachment to begin. I also hope that our own congressional representative, Pete Stark, will show some initiative. His hands have been tied on almost all important issues for many years now, so it will be interesting to see if he can walk the talk now that the House has some power. I hope to attend his next town meeting when he's back in the neighborhood.
California may have a relatively democratic administration, and I'm glad that Debra Bowen will be running the elections; I just hope that her hands won't be tied in fixing the system. Of course, we still have Arnold at the helm, and I'm sure that now that campaign season is over, he'll go back to being his ugly self again. He has managed to veto a few really nice pieces of legislation that our state representatives had passed. We'll soon be saying goodbye to Wilma Chan as our assembly representative and hello to Sandré Swanson.
Narrowing in on the county level, readers may remember some issues I had with the whitewashed security report on the Sequoia voting systems that our county supervisors, including Alice Lai-Bitker, approved. I am still very frustrated that they have allowed this to happen. I just saw the HBO special "Hacking Democracy", and though the show focuses on Diebold machines, the problems and flaws are similar, and the whitewash report that is described in the show reminds me of the report that I read. I think I need to lend my tape to Ms. Lai-Bitker with hopes that she will better understand the issue. Though there is no vote in the pipeline, she is our supervisor and this issue will likely come up again.
Finally, at the city level, we held off the reactionary candidates, so we have a pretty good city council mix coming into office soon, with Lena Tam replacing Tony Daysog. Daysog, in recent years, hasn't been very effective at all, and DeHaan is really the only conservative on the council. I am hoping that citizens can bring forth some more attempts to connect Alameda with the rest of the world, as was successfully done with a Global Warming resolution and unsuccessfully with a resolution to bring home the national guard so they can protect Alameda instead of occupying a foreign country. I am hopeful that Frank Matarrese will be at the forefront on that. We also need to make sure that developments in Alameda are kept in check, and that they appropriately do as much as possible to reduce automobile dependency.
So ... enough napping, back to work!