Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Taking Back America--Republicans, you've been put on notice.
Before the Republicans continue to talk about “taking back America” they need to look at the election results and think about what it is they want to return to. When we are nostalgic we only see the good things of the past.  I am as guilty as anyone.  I tend to be nostalgic for a time I didn’t even live in.  I love the music, movies and the sense of shared purpose of WWII.  I grew up in the 1950s and ‘60swhich had much to recommend them.  I roamed far and wide on my bike and on foot without benefit of helmets, knee pads or what my youngest refers to as the “electronic leash”, the cell phone.  The economy was good, everyone was excited about space travel and there was a vibrant president in the White House whose family seemed like royalty.
On the other hand there was still racism, the KKK held sway in much of the south, women were discouraged from working and if they did they were paid substantially less than their male counterparts.  My father didn’t want me to go to college because I “would be taking up a spot that ought to go to a man because he will be the head of a family someday.”
We are not the United States I grew up in.  We are no longer largely the Smiths, the Jones, and the McHales and many of those bearing those names are African Americans and no longer kept in ghettos and the other side of the tracks.  We are also the Gonzales, the Sings, and the Kianersis.  Hispanics are the fastest growing group in this country and with farmers in Eastern Washington unable to find Americans willing to pick produce it’s time to address immigration.  Are we truly a nation that embraces “the tired, the poor, the huddled masses” or are we putting out the “full” sign?  If we are, some of these folks that are unemployed had better haul their butts over to the Yakima Valley and do back breaking work for little pay. 
We are more diverse than any nation on the face of the Earth and that ought to make us stronger, not more divided, but those who would turn back the clock can’t seem to see that.  As my husband commented as we watched the election returns last night (albeit communicating via cell phone), “The Republicans are on the wrong side of history.  If they don’t change their course they will find themselves irrelevant.” They will become like dinosaurs.
Like it or not, women are no longer confined to hearth and home.  Personally, I believe that if one chooses to be a mother she ought to stay home with her children at least until they start school, but that’s just me.  Last night saw no less than ten women elected to Congress and nine of them are Democrats.  I cheer for the lone Republican, too, because women tend to be more democratic of mind and with women being 50.8% of the population it’s time that we are represented in all aspects of American life by that percentage.
To become relevant the Republicans need to rethink their hardnosed stands against minorities, LGBTs, women and religions outside of the mainstream Christian Church.  Without appealing to the above groups these largely old white men will be exhibits in a wax museum.
Pursuit of the American Dream has become harder, largely because of the economy and because of our failure to live up to Emma Lazarus’ poem emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty.  If we want to “take back America” we ought to be thinking in terms of embracing those words and our diversity and continuing to welcome people willing to work hard to pursue their dream. Life is not static or lived in a vacuum.  Our lives, needs, and expectations are different now than the 16th Century or even the 1950s.

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