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The morning after

Well, Obama's re-election is hugely significant along a lot of different vectors, but one thing that struck me last night was the claim by a newscaster that the House Democratic caucus will for the first time be majority female and racial or ethnic minorities. This would seem to reflect the composition of the new Democratic coalition that has elected Obama twice. Is this the end result of the identity politics of the '60s and '70s? The fact that racial polarization has distorted class politics in the US is perhaps another driver.

In local races, the governor and marriage equality are still too close to call, although currently trending in favor of the Democrat Jay Inslee and for approval of marriage equality (which was also approved in Maine and Maryland). Marijuana has been legalized in Washington (and in Colorado), so we now get to see how the Feds will respond. Public universities have already said they won't tolerate pot because it might jeopardize Federal grant money. Still, I'm beginning to feel that same thing I felt in Germany in 1992 when we smoked on the upper deck of a tourist boat on the Rhine, just because we could.

All in all, a great night for someone of my political and cultural beliefs. It seems, even more than it did in 2008, that we are turning a generational corner. I think back to the utter horror of Reagan's enormous landslide re-election in 1984, and I think we've come a long way, baby.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
kalimac
Nov. 7th, 2012 04:35 pm (UTC)
Racial polarization has, alas, been around a while. I had a joke in the 1984 election. Q: What do Walter Mondale and I have in common? A: We're the only white males who support his candidacy. (I know this wasn't literally true, but there were times it felt like it.)

Your anecdote interests me, because the only time I've ever been on the upper deck of a tourist boat on the Rhine, or indeed anywhere near the Rhine at all, was also in 1992. I did not, however, smoke; had I done so, it would have been the only time I did that on the upper deck of a tourist boat on the Rhine, or anywhere near the Rhine, or indeed anywhere at all.

randy_byers
Nov. 7th, 2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
In 1992 Germany had just legalized (I believe it was, as opposed to decriminalized) possession of some number of grams of marijuana. I remember as we smoked that joint (a European style joint that mixed tobacco and pot) on the upper deck of the that boat, we joked about lighting up in front of die Polizei just for freedom's sake. A heady feeling, and not just because of the drug.
surliminal
Nov. 8th, 2012 12:55 am (UTC)
It seems really amazing to me cos my impression is Europe is actually moving the other way - I was just in Amsterdam where the rules on coffee shops have been tightened quite a bit and only narrowly avoided banning access to non Dutch. In the UK we seem to be in full "skunk ain't like the Old days " flight away from even medical marijuana legalisation.
randy_byers
Nov. 8th, 2012 01:40 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've been following the developments in Amsterdam. Strange days. The funny thing here is that the medical marijuana industry was opposed to legalization, because they don't want the competition (although that's not what they say).
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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