It’s early Friday afternoon as I write this and as of this moment (and it could change) the biggest American political story of the week was Tuesday night’s elections. Everything was centered on Virginia but there is much more to discuss.
I was actually in the Commonwealth of Virginia on Election Night so I’ll take that one first. The race actually swung on the dog whistle of racism. Few seem to want to admit but that is the bottom line. The code phrase de jour is Critical Race Theory. In the minds of the right wing, it means that schools will teach the truth that America has a racist past including slavery. On the left wing we simply call it history (which is not always pretty) and the truth. The white supremacists are faced with two dilemmas. One is: How do we continue to consider ourselves superior when we are forced to acknowledge history? The other: How do we propagate the white superiority myth in our children if they learn the truth?
The Republicans made the big issue in Virginia supposed parental control over public education; in reality it was the continuation of the myth of white supremacy. Tuesday they proved that even in a purple state if you get the right voter turnout you can still win in America in 2021.
More concerning to me was the close race for Governor in New Jersey. New Jersey is solid blue and that should not have been a nail biter.
I know the history that the left has been using as a reason not to panic. In fact some who I respect the opinion of are citing the fact that not since Ronald Reagan in 1980/1981 has either Party been able to hold on to even one of the Governor’s mansions in the first election after the first term of a new president. Paint it any way you want; while it might not be cause to panic, Tuesday was not good for the Democrats.
I want to look two other places before I go today. The first is Minneapolis, Minnesota. A referendum to replace the police department was defeated. I feel there is serious need for police reform. However, elimination of the Police Department is far, far from the answer.
What is needed is a reassignment of some duties which the police are simply not equipped to perform and an aligned reallocation of assets. The other – and arguably more needed change – is a cultural one in law enforcement circles. That cannot be achieved on an organizational chart and is much too complex for a few sentences in today’s article.
Last, I’d like to come “full circle” in a sense. I was born in Buffalo, New York and Tuesday it held an interesting mayoral election. Four-term incumbent Democrat Byron Brown ran as a write-in candidate against the far left Democrat who beat him in the primary and won. There was a lot in play here but it is another case of the political center holding which is generally a good thing.
To magnify my last point, I want to relate a conversation I had with a North Carolina physician about a decade ago. I have no idea what his politics were and that in a way is the point of the story. He said his concern was the polarization in the electorate. It has only gotten worse in the interceding years. Too many blindly vote a party label without looking at the content of the character of the candidate. I see a lot of buyer’s remorse coming in Virginia. Not everyone who voted for Glenn Youngkin is a racist and neither are most of the way too many who sat this one out.
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