Last year, congressional Democrats lost big in a sweeping win for Republicans who opted to ride the wave of fear and loathing drummed up by the Tea Party.
Ever since, the GOP has been chipping away at voters’ mentality via social demonization, political pandering and culture-war mongering in the hope of revving up the masses for a win against Barack Obama in 2012.
But, in what may perhaps be seen as a telling milestone in voters’ acknowledgement of base-less, Right wing hysteria, social conservative initiatives presented at the ballots this past Election Day just got axed.
“Voters turned a skeptical eye toward conservative-backed measures across the country Tuesday, rejecting an anti-labor law in Ohio, an anti-abortion measure in Mississippi and a crackdown on voting rights in Maine.” – Katharine Seelye, New York Times
In Ohio, anti-union laws were defeated; hammering nails into the coffin of Republican Governor John Kasich’s signature legislation that would strip public-employee unions of their power and instead empower a ruling class of corporate elites over the working class.
Kasich’s shit-canned law, which was passed last Spring, limited bargaining rights of police, teachers, firefighters and other public workers over salaries, workplace conditions and hours. It prohibited strikes and promotions based on seniority only, required public workers to contribute at least 10% of their income toward their pensions and at least 15% to pay for their health care insurance.
The public outcry against Kasich’s legislation as a “war on workers” is reminiscent to that over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s controversial union-busting tactics, from which the state is still reeling.
Michael Sargeant, executive director of Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, called the law’s repeal “a monumental victory for working families not only in Ohio, but all across the country,” adding that there is a “price to pay for right-wing extremism and partisan overreach.”
Meanwhile, voters in Mississippi ousted the state’s Republican-proposed constitutional “Personhood Amendment” in which life would be defined as beginning at the point of fertilization, ALL abortions would be banned (including those to pregnancies caused by rape or incest and when the mother’s life was in danger) and the “morning-after pill” outlawed.
The amendment – which was deemed as “too extreme, even for us” by the Catholic Church of Mississippi as well as various right-to-life groups – would have also made it illegal to dispose or redistribute unused fertilized eggs, making in-vitro fertilization treatments far more difficult for would-be parents having trouble getting pregnant.
According to Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, “[t]he message from Mississippi is clear. An amendment that allows politicians to further interfere in our personal, private medical decisions, including a woman’s right to choose safe, legal abortion, is unacceptable.”
In Arizona, Russell Pearce – the architect of the state’s highly controversial, Republican-supported immigration law, became the first sitting senator to be recalled in the state’s history.
Pearce was also renowned for his extremist views on business tax cuts, abortion limits and union-busting.
And in Maine, the fight against voters’ rights – provisions largely sought by Republicans – was lost thanks to the restoration of same-day voter registration laws.
And while these few but monumental victories across the country – in what are arguably some of the “reddest” states in the Union – may be a bit premature to accurately predict next year’s general elections, they certainly are a veritable beat-down for the Teabagger types that thought progressives were on the run since 2010.
American voters turned out in some of the most conservative states to put an end to so-called “morality legislation” in a proverbial show of hands of who wants our so called leaders to stop dicking around with big business, birthers and the Bible and just fix the country already.
And to what do we owe this new-found sense of urgency; this push to call our leaders to task?
Is the country waking up from its 3+ year slumber – a drawn-out high that began the night one Senator Barack Obama won the election, only to dim into a perpetual hangover that lulled us progressives to sleep ever since?
Has the rapidly-spreading Occupy Wall Street movement influenced our national, political and cultural dialogue in the same way that the Tea Party handed the House of Representatives to its Republican handlers?
Are people now again seeking real, intelligent and forward-thinking solutions for the first time since 2008?
Hopefully, this sentiment does not go unheard in Obama’s White House, as it is resonating, obviously, with the most politically active and intelligent populations in the country – one which should be leading the way far from the Tea Party populace and turning the tables on the skewed, conservative agenda that continues to pervade the nation’s progress.
- Joe Ascanio
Based out of Greater New York, Joe Ascanio is a full time web designer, developer and marketing guy working in the online technology marketplace. OneWhiteDuck.com is a semi-personal blog devoted to opinionated rantings over current events, politics and pop culture as they relate to our modern-day society.