Now that the election is over, I need to focus back on work but I wanted to point out a couple of ‘aftermath’ stories related to the elections here in Missouri.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Senator-elect McCaskill didn’t win this election because she won over a bunch of disaffected Republicans. In traditional Republican strongholds, Talent still had the majority vote–and in fact, his vote in these districts increased. What McCaskill did do was capture all of the Democratic electorate, including those who did not vote in the last election. She also grabbed the swing voters–those who might typically vote Republican (or Democrat), but who will change based on events.

Two events worked in her favor: the Iraq war and the vote on Amendment 2, the Stem Cell amendment. However, I do think that it was the stem cell amendment that worked most in her favor. According to the article:

Artist George Denninger, 60, of St. Charles, said his opposition to the war influenced his decision as a Republican to vote for McCaskill instead.

But an even bigger factor, said Denninger, was his agreement with McCaskill when it came to embryonic stem cell research.

Denninger was among several St. Charles County voters Wednesday who said that they voted for McCaskill because she favored Amendment 2. The amendment, which narrowly passed, protects all forms of embryonic stem cell research allowed under federal law.

Talent had opposed the amendment because of his belief that such research amounted to human cloning.

John and Kim Henson, both 38, of St. Charles County, also cited the stem cell issue as a key reason they favored McCaskill.

Even with such polarizing issues, only an estimated 52% of possible voters showed up at the polls leading me to say that the other 48% should spend a year or two in countries such as North Korea–to remind them of the importance of that which they treat so indifferently.

I’ve read elsewhere that many Democrats are already thinking ahead to the next election, and how to keep the Republicans who voted in their favor in this election. That’s a huge mistake, and one I’m not going to have a lot of patience for. I want my Democrats to be Democrats: no more Republican light. I plan on monitoring them by subscribing to my house representative and both senator’s RSS feed of their votes.

I also read that the Republicans are re-thinking their position, and returning to their roots, which is low tax/small government. This is a good thing–this shows that the Republicans will, for once, stop catering to the fundamentalists and focus on government rather than morality.

If there’s one thing that stands out in this election, probably more than the war in Iraq is our legislating morality. Eight states had anti-gay marriage amendments, all of which would be moot if the Supreme Court ever rules in favor of gay marriage. The laws are stupid, and unenforceable. Why, then, when we have so many other problems, we focus on anti-gay marriage amendments, I don’t know.

Thankfully Arizona–quiet Arizona–stood up against what is nothing more than a denial of equal rights to our citizens and voted no on their amendment. All I can say is: go Arizona!

Not just Arizona, South Dakota, too! The voters of that state turned out to vote down what was a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s Roe versus Wade decision, by turning down the anti-abortion legislation that would have made it illegal to get an abortion other than for health reasons.

Two states on my must visit list this year: Arizona and South Dakota.

We here in Missouri also deserve a visit or two. Not only did we elect a Democratic senator, we turned down our own ‘morality’ vote, this one on embryonic stem cell research. This was a first of its kind vote, in a state where fundamentalists have a strong holding. The vote signaled what I think is a growing unhappiness with fundamentalist influence: in our schools, our governments, over our bodies, and now our health. That last is the kicker: unlike abortion, embryonic stem cell research could benefit all people of all ages and all sexes.

Those who campaigned against this amendment now plan on continuing this fight in other ways, whatever these are. Most likely, they hope to get legislation sneaked through at the state level to hamper this type of research in whatever ways they can. That’s OK, because eventually people are going to get tired of having these issues brought up, again and again and again. I expect to see support for the anti-stem cell movement degrade over time. We who support this research must continue to be diligent.

The positive aspect of this is that people are going to start getting tired of seeing all of this ‘morality’ issues continually brought up for a vote: wasting legislator’s time, costing tax payers money, and generally being a nuisance.

With this election, we’re going to start seeing a global pushback on all of the so-called morality issues. It’s going to take time, and a lot of work, but I think we’re seeing fatigue with the morality play we keep putting on with each election. People have more to worry about in their lives than whether Fred and Ray can get married, Sally have an abortion, and Joe get stem cell treatment for his Alzheimer’s. We saw this in Missouri, in Arizona, and South Dakota. I look for what happened in these states to gradually become more widespread. To me, this makes us all winners this election.


Not politically correct

I have been heavily involved in political issues recently, all of which have added to an already overstressed mind and body. I look forward to the elections on Tuesday for no other reason than it will be over. As this CBS Report states, the might of two parties, the same media company behind Swift Boat Veterans, and every foul person calling themselves a ‘journalist’ has converged on this state and examined us like bugs under a microscope. Yes, and told us how we should vote, too.


(In the middle of all this, we now face the possibility of some jejune wannabe journalist sticking cameras in our faces while we’re standing in line at the polls; for no other reason than some people think adding to the problem and the confusion and the stress ‘helpful’.)

The Missouri Baptist had their annual meeting this week. I don’t even have the energy to mention the proclamations coming out of this event (thisthishere, and here.) When you realize this organization is part of the largest protestant organization in the US, it’s enough to make you want to knock on the doors of our Canadian neighbors and beg to be allowed in.

The lack of brotherly, and sisterly, love is not limited to just the Baptists: Archbishop Burke, leader of St. Louis Catholics, states that people like me who support Amendment 2 are the agents of the culture of death. His priests have been handing out signs for lawns, and telling parishioners how to vote. The signs are so thick on church property, it’s a wonder the moles have a place to dig. They don’t just disagree with people like me–they despise people like me.

What’s particularly sad is that the Archbishop’s people have been deliberately spreading confusion about what the amendment 2 states–saying that state funding will be used for this research, when there is no indication at all of this. Saying that adult stem cells have been used to treat Parkinson’s, when there is absolutely no fact to back this up. They aren’t relying on their faith to advocate this bill–they are relying on miscommunication and untruths. They have been relying on lies. This from the leader of the Catholic church in this entire area.

(I wanted to point to this article in Rolling Stone Magazine which calls the current congress the worst in history. I wanted to link to the person’s post where I found this article, to give him credit for the find, but then I remember he’s Catholic. Considering the nature of this post, I felt I would be doing him a disservice to do so.)

Regardless of how this vote goes this week, we can no longer ignore the elephant sitting in the corner that is religious influence on politics and government. People are not always going to be able to complacently have their ‘faith’ and their ‘science’, because in too many cases belief in one denies the existence of the other. Members of a church may have to consider challenging the precepts of the church, and individual churches challenge their association with a larger body. Basic human rights can no longer be pushed aside in the interest of ‘culture’ and ‘belief’, and the religious faithful cannot be allowed to determine how the rest of us live or die; how and when we have children; who we can love; how we dress; destroy our world in the interests of ‘being fruitful, and multiplying’; reduce our science to superstition, and bind our ethics to obscure passages in ill-interpreted religious texts.

This issue is not just one that belongs to Missouri or the midwest: what’s happening in Missouri is just a taste of what the rest of the country, the rest of the world, is having to face in the upcoming years.

Based on my own experience, I can attest to one thing: events such as these drain your hope, your joy, and your spirit–whether you call such ‘soul’, or not.