Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I grew up as a Republican, so why do I feel joy today?

In fact, one of the reasons I moved from Europe to the U.S. was because I couldn’t stand socialism and left-wing rhetoric. I voted with my feet when I came to the U.S., twenty years ago. And I was proud to become an American.

I loved Ronald Reagan, the open market, capitalism, and all what this stands for.

So why do I feel joy today?

I feel joy because of the powerful message the voters have given the Republican Party. I feel that joy because the Republican Party is no longer my party and since they no longer stand for an open and free market.

I feel joy for their loss, because the conservative movement has been hijacked by corporate interests that have no interest in fair competition or an open and free market.

The drug industry, for instance, doesn’t want lower priced drugs from other countries. They want to block drugs from Canada and Europe. The auto companies don’t want foreign imports. They want trade barriers. The insurance companies don’t want universal healthcare. They want to continue to mint new CEO billionaires on the back of the American People.

So I feel joy, because in spite of all the money those organizations have heaped over Republican candidates, they lost. I feel joy because perhaps, after all, this is a new beginning.

I feel joy because Rumsfeld is gone and I never believed for a second there were any weapons of mass destruction, and I was abhorred when I witnessed a war hysteria that reminded me of a dark past in European history. I feel joy that the American people finally stood up and said enough is enough.

But I also feel concern. I’m concerned that we’ll just exchange one part of the establishment with another establishment. I’m saddened that we continue to have a voting system in which the winner takes it all and only two parties are allowed to flourish.

I’m saddened that we don’t have a true democracy, in spite of being the first democracy. And I worry that not much will change. But I hope that I’m wrong. I hope we’ll see a woman president one day and I hope we’ll raise minimum wage and give healthcare to every American.

But I doubt that this will happen soon, because no matter who is in power, the money that fuels our system doesn’t allow for us to be a true democracy.

So while I feel joy today, I also feel sadness for our country. We could be so much more, so many great things and such an inspiration to the world.

But we aren’t.

Because the world knows that our system is built on greed and we don’t care that we have the highest infant mortality and the shortest life span in the entire industrialized world, as long as we can give tax breaks to billionaires.

So I don’t only feel joy, but also sadness. But what’s more important, I do feel some hope. After all, the fact that Rumsfeld is finally gone must be good news.


Anonymous said...

Well, contrary to Europe, where they are so backward and are such has beens, a woman elected to anything? A little bit of a tightening of the wage differentials between women and men; 37% advantage if you have that appendage ;). Contracts that really mean something? A multi-party system? Forget about all that, right? Or, could we Europeans start a "discussion"? You can not be a "christian" and have the credo "greed is good", I think. You can not be a muslim or a jew, or a hindu or a sikh and have that credo "greed is good". Greed is NOT good. Service is good. It is good if you want to make money. You find something that serves your fellow human being, and that they need, and the profit will follow, because the sales will be good, and the sales will keep coming. You serve your fellow man, as a physician for example, saving lives, making hardship easier to endure, and the monetary rewards will follow. You chose, as a population, to have an universal healthcare system, health clinics, pre-natal, and post natal care, school medical and dental, and yes, you pay for it, but the total costs go down, individually, and for the nation, because prevention saves dollars. It is remarkable, if we would have a discussion, how we would find that RATIONALITY and actual knowledge of what the various religious texts teach, that actually serving others serves the individual. The rationale and meaning of the various disciplines all point in a similar direction. We could stop fighting about things we can never ascertain, such as who, or what, or when G-d is or is not. We could discuss what the TEACHING is, and what we should LEARN. If we do not respect life, we do not respect our own life and the life of others. We can not respect life and make a profit out of people's illness and suffering. Nor, if we respect life, can we look down on anyone, certainly not, if in addition we believe that G-d created that life. We can only cheat another person for a limited time. If you save one life, you save the world. What we learn in our various religions, one sikh told me this week, is tradition. It is what we grow up with. When we are older, and become educated, we ask ourselves what we can still accept and live with. Muslims, christians and jews have the Torah in common. The same sikh I just mentioned, studies Torah and found great similarities with what he was taught and grew up with. How to do business, how to deal, honesty in wages and measures, care for the indigent, everything that is important, is discussed in Torah and its commentaries, and elsewhere. Greed is good is not one of those things. Greed falls into the same category as sloth. And to cite that Greed is Good, is not rational. Neither is it rational to say we are sinners, BUT we are forgiven. The text does not say that at all - it helps to be able to read - and, moreover, rationally, we all know it does not work. We STILL have laws against theft, adultery, murder, etc., because without those laws we can not have a working society. The sign of an intelligent person is the ability to LEARN and APPLY what is learned properly. Tax breaks and unlimited wealth mean nothing, because in the end great wealth devalues the currency, life, the worth of others, and wealth itself. It is a law of economics. If there is too much of something, it becomes worth less and less. Another law of economics is the multiplier. If a large segment of the population, or most of them, do well, there is a beneficial multiplier effect. This increases the value of property and currency. If you make your customer poor, you kill your own market.

Anonymous said...

I grew up Republican too. I even did door to door lit drops and parade waving as a little girl at campaign time. My grandma still collects elephants.

Then somewhere along the way of growing up, I realized that it isn't selfish to want all American citizens to have access to good health. And that when we are so rich in so many ways, it is criminal not to spread the health around. How can we spend millions to keep one life, and another isn't worth our spare change. I saw my uncle wish out loud for my aunt to die because her illness was eating up every financial resource the family had. I realized that although that aunt and uncle died as Republican as they get, that the very system they believed in had royally screwed them over. I also realized that a kid on the street with no education or guidance is not at fault turning out fucked up - they need a real role model, not a smackdown.

I realized that the Republicans were great at talking shit, wonderful at hick one liners (my family eats it up), and terrible at governing.

I'm pretty happy today too. I just hope the values espoused by the Democratic party will get play now.

Anonymous said...

You loved Ronald Reagan? uggggghhh!

Peter Rost said...

Anon, yeah, I can hardly believe it myself anymore . . . but as my wife loves to hear; I was so wrong so wrong . . .

beeta said...

You are so cute when you bear your soul!
Well my friend, you have grown up and you have had your eyes pried open.
I wonder if you read the book that you were advertising here on the site a while back "Reading Lolita in Tehran". The author is an Iranian academic who was educated in the US at the time of the Shah. She is dis-illusioned by politics in Iran and the US and returns to Iran after the revolution. There she comes face to face with realities of life in post revolution Iran and becomes more dis-illusioned and eventually returns to the US much older,less idealistic and somewhat cynical.
She recounts her journey in the book along with some very good analysis of modern American litrature and it is an easy read.

MsMelody said...

Joy! Perhaps a bit over-the-top. Hope--maybe.

When, before the election, I heard a Democrat (in anticipatory glee) encourage K-Street to "bring US the money" . . . my hope diminished a bit. Let's pray (hope) that this election will NOT represent just a change in "who gets the money" but rather who is AMERICAN in deed as well as rhetoric.

Kansas said...


Did I mention I'm a little happy?

Anonymous said...

Woman president? No, you shouldn't want one of them if I were you. We had one of those in the UK, once. A lady by the name of Margaret Thatcher. A great friend and ally of your Ronnie Reagan, as I recall.

The UK has never recovered from her reign of greed and destruction. I'm pretty certain that the rise of the robber baron CEOs can be traced back to the Reagan/Thatcher era.

There's a school of thought which says that women make better managers or leaders than their male counterparts, because they have a "nurturing" mind-set that encourages growth and development. Hmmm. The flip side of that is that females will fight to the death to defend their offspring against any perceived threat. And if their "offspring" happens to be their opinions or their ideas...

Personally, I never argue with ladies these days. They are always right and they fight much nastier than guys do, using any and every weapon at their disposal.

Sorry, did I mention Hewitt-Packard...?

Anonymous said...

What did Cher say to Nicholas Cage in that one movie?

Oh yeah. "Snap out of it."

beeta said...

pharma giles,
I totally agree with you on the point about robber baron CEOs.
Actually Reagan put a lot of things into motion here in the US that changed American lives profoundly. I am not sure about UK, but if she was like Reagan(they were great pals), then I can imagine her effect as well.

Kansas said...

Still happyhappyhappy! You remember how Snoopy use to dance with wild abandon when Schroeder played the piano? That’s me!