Friday, November 14, 2014

Hank Sanders: Sketches #1431: You find what you look for

  The old folks often said, “In every dark cloud there is a silver lining.” The dark clouds are indeed looming after Election Day, but I’m looking for the silver lining.

  For me, the clouds are dark on the national level. Republicans now control the U. S. House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate. It’s not the fact that they are Republicans that darkens the clouds, but the fact that they made great gains in the Senate and the House after the following: closing down the government; incessantly demonizing the president; opposing any measure with strong public support to improve the economy; stopping popular measures such as minimum wage; and so on. The clouds are indeed dark, so I am looking for the silver lining.

  In the Senate, Republicans went from 45 members to 52. In the House, they went from 234 members to 244. The electoral increases resulted in the Senate shifting from Democratic control to Republican control. It resulted in the House majority, which was already controlled by Republicans, increasing even more. The clouds are dark, so I’m looking for the silver lining.

  Republicans were rewarded by voters for demonizing the president unmercifully. All the things that voters said they valued did not seem to matter. If accomplishments truly mattered, it would have been different.

  Let’s look at a few examples of the President’s accomplishments. The internet lists some 269 accomplishments, but I am only going to mention a few: stopped the country from going over the economic cliff; established financial reform so the country would not push to the edge of the cliff again; reduced unemployment from more than 10 percent to 5.9 percent; added jobs in the private sector for 55 straight months for millions of additional jobs; established the Affordable Care Act; increased protection of the environment; increased energy production in the United States to the highest level in history; reduced terror threats from Al-Qaeda; increased equality of citizens (i.e. gay rights); etc. Clouds are real dark, so I’m looking for the silver lining.

  Republicans demonized the president so much until people did not think about these and other accomplishments. Even other Democrats did not bring up the accomplishments. When someone is demonized so badly, others fear that any association will result in additional beatings for them. They run from the person being demonized and everyone loses. The clouds are indeed dark, but I am looking for the silver lining.

  The dark clouds are also dark on the state level. In Alabama, Republicans already held every single statewide office. In the Senate, they already had a super majority of 23 Republicans, 11 Democrats and 1 Independent. Now it is 26-8-1. All Democrats in the Senate come from majority Black districts.

  The numbers are dismal, but the worse thing is the districts were crafted so that Democrats could only be elected from majority Black districts. One Republican leader actually said so to the news media. That means there will not be any opportunities to form coalitions across racial lines. That means that everything will not just be Republican v. Democrat but White v. Black as well. The clouds are indeed dark, but I am still looking for the silver lining.

  In Alabama, nearly every Republican candidate ran against President Obama. You would have thought the president was literally on the ballot in every race. It appears that this same scenario played out in so many races across the country.

  When the old folks said, “In every dark cloud, there is a silver lining,” they were saying that in every hopeless situation, there is still hope. They were saying that the presence or absence of sunlight determines whether the clouds are dark. They were saying that even with the darkest cloud, the sun is still shining so bright on the other side that it reflects like silver.

  When I look hard, I see that it will be harder for Republicans to demonize President Obama because they are in the majority in both Houses of Congress. It will not be enough to be against, they must be for something. Of course, they will continue to demonize him because it got them this far and some have become addicted to the demonizing booze. There is a silver lining in the dark clouds.

  The promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act have been many and continuous. Now they will have the chance to vote to repeal it in both houses of Congress. They will have to put up or shut up. If they vote to repeal Obama Care, they will hurt millions of citizens on and off Obama Care. If they don’t put up, they will have to shut up and find another boogey man. There is a silver lining in the dark clouds.

  The same tactics which brought the Republicans to great majority may well boomerang. They could make a hero out of the very president they have demonized to no end. They may well insure another Democratic president and future Democratic congresses. Most importantly, we who see the dark clouds will go back to the basics and take what we have to make what we need. Maybe all these possibilities will cause everyone to put the country first. There is a silver lining in the dark clouds; we just have to find it.

EPILOGUE – My mother used to say, “Son, you find what you look for. If you look for the bad, you will find the bad. If you look for the good, you will find the good.” I am taking my mother at her word and looking for the silver lining.

  About the author: Hank Sanders represents Senate District 23 in the Alabama Legislature.

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