Saturday, November 11, 2006

Allen Country? I Don’t Think So

Local Republicans, looking for some solace in the wake of Tuesday’s Democratic Revolution, have declared that the 6th District (which stretches from Harrisonburg to Roanoke and spills up the sides of the Shenandoah Valley) is still “Allen Country” (which sounds a bit like saying that the Confederacy lives, another local fantasy that is hard to fathom). I don't blame them, but they better get used to the fact that their new Senator is James Webb, a Democrat, and George Allen is toast.

It is true that Allen won whopping 68.7% of the vote in Augusta County (a little more in Rockingham, proving how out of touch with reality voters in this area are), but the trend lines for Democrats are good. Jim Webb earned more votes in Augusta County than Tim Kaine did in last year’s race for governor, and more than John Kerry did in 2004 when the turnout was quite heavy. So, depending on the candidates, we have good reason to hope that we’ll do even better in future elections.

In the meantime, I’d like to think we could convince our Republican neighbors that they were wrong to support George Allen, and they’re wrong to worship George Bush. (Even George Bush seems to think they’re wrong—tossing Rumsfeld out at DoD, and cozying up to the Democrats, but that’s another story.)

Take for example SWAC Girl, that rightwing extremist who hides behind her nom de blog. She says, “Our country and military [are] now more vulnerable.” How so, SWAC Girl? Democrats love our country just as much as you do, and we do not want to see the country or the military weakened. We have a different strategy; we even have a different notion of what strength means, but you are dead wrong about being vulnerable.

She says, “we’re in the best economy in years.” Tell that to the millions and millions of Americans who struggle to live below the poverty line, pushed there by our inequitable economic policies. Could it be that the economy is being artificially inflated by $100 billion in annual war spending? Spending that goes to the Halliburtons of the country, but does nothing for the Amercian poor. The gap between rich and poor in this country has widened substantially in the past five years. I don’t think that’s anything to cheer about.

She says, “unemployment is the lowest in five years.” Yet it’s still above where it was during the Clinton administration, and because the Republicans have blocked attempts to raise the minimum wage, just being employed isn’t enough to survive for many. Furthermore, the massive budget deficits are damping economic growth and raising interest rates, making it even harder on the working poor.

She says, “President George W. Bush is an honorable Christian man who has the welfare of the American people as the driving force behind his presidency.” Would that that were true, but it’s hard to see how anyone can believe it. He has managed to turn America into a rogue nation, a pariah among states; he has incited a generation of new terrorists who have as their goal the destruction of American—if not today, or tomorrow, then next year or the year after that or ten years from now; he has trampled on the Constitution of the United States; he has inspired bigotry and discrimination. And why is it even relevant that he claims to be a Christian?

She says, “America . . . what have you done?” and predicts “higher taxes, higher unemployment, and terrorism on our shores again,” as if higher taxes aren’t inevitable because of the massive deficits run up by her beloved George Bush, and as if terrorism elsewhere on the planet is acceptable as long as it doesn’t touch the Shenandoah Valley. News Flash SWAC Girl: it is because of George Bush and his immoral and illegal war in the Middle East, and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, that we will be hated for Centuries to come. Terrorism is also inevitable, and we have George W. Bush to thank for it. If you want to point fingers—which you do so well—aim them at George.

SWAC Girl is also fond of accusing the Democrats of mud-slinging, and of being unable to learn what Jim Webb stands for on the issues. Webb ran a positive campaign. It's true that there was mud, but mostly because Allen kept stepping in it, up to his knees, with no help from Webb or anyone else. If SWAC Girl couldn't get a handle on Webb's issues it's because she didn't ask the right people, didn't bother to listen to the man, didn't bother to read about him in the papers, and basically was too busy absorbing propaganda from the Republican machine. I don't have much hope that we'll change SWAC Girl's mind, but I firmly believe most people around here are reasonable, even the Republicans.

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