A funny thing happened to me the day after Election Day this year. As I wallowed in defeat in most races (President: I voted for the pro-business guy) and measures (Proposition 30: I thought California already had enough of our money), I received a call from my dear mother-in-law.
I figured my mother-in-law, as she does from time to time, accidentally dialed my phone instead of my wife’s, so I didn’t pick up. Then I realized she left me a voicemail. Her message to my astonishment: “Dan, it’s a beautiful morning. We’re motorhoming on the coast. I wanted to let you know — the people have spoken! Have a great day!”
That’s right, I was post-election heckled by my own sweet mother-in-law, a staunch Democrat and President Obama fan who apparently felt compelled to interrupt one of her sunshine-filled retirement days to bust my chops.
I thought in a mini-rage about calling her back and letting her know she was forgetting the other 48 percent of voters who didn’t vote to tee up Obama for another four years. Who had spoken for them? But a desire for family peace, which as we all know is more important than any political issue, prevented me from acting.
The amusing incident is undoubtedly similar to ones that most of us with strong opinions have encountered over the past two weeks since the close of the election. Whether it is with family, friends, co-workers or even strangers, we can’t seem to stop talking about the election and what we think it means for our country and California.
With that backdrop, I humbly offer the fine readers of the Mountain Democrat, many of whom are keeping the spirit of post-election debate alive with online comments and letters to the editor, a few of my personal post-election realizations. Whether I agree with your comments or not, many of them have been entertaining and may I hopefully return the favor.
I always chuckle when the winning side of an election calls the other side a sore loser, and the losing side rebuts with sore winner. Of course, the losing side is sore! Their beliefs have just been trounced on. They have just been voted out of touch and unpopular. Lose the political correctness, and call it like it is. And winners can absolutely gloat. This is America. We used to embrace winning big, and for that to happen, someone has to lose.
Many depressed conservatives have been throwing around this famous quote: “A democracy can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury.” They’ve been attributing it to everyone from French author Alexis de Tocqueville of “Democracy in America” acclaim to Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and others. Leave it to bored journalists to come up with the truth. Apparently the quote belongs to Alexander Tytler, a 19th century Scottish professor. The quote doesn’t have the same ring with Tytler’s name attached to it.
Speaking of Proposition 30, friends in public education management report that their districts are still faced with cutting school days despite the passage of the measure. And the state college board is still continuing with rate hike hearings. Looks like that multi-billion dollar Band-Aid we just taxed ourselves won’t be big enough after all. When we will learn to call lawmakers’ bluffs and force them to make responsible decisions when they already have enough of our dollars? Apparently never in California.
Locally, in El Dorado Hills, two incumbent fire board members retained their seats. When incumbents retain their seats, it generally means the citizenry thinks they’re doing a good job. So I suppose it’s acceptable to everyone that, according to news reports, the last six firefighters to retire from the department have walked away with an average of $170,000 in annual compensation. That’s about a $14,000 a month retirement. We all should have been El Dorado Hills firefighters.
While many in the country fret over its future direction given the election, others have applauded America’s splendor by pointing out our presidential race pitted an African-American incumbent against a Mormon businessman. That’s a uniquely American fight card.
America has also frequently been labeled a grand experiment in democracy (although experts debate if any of the Founding Fathers actually publicly stated this). And while many days look and feel like an experiment from a citizen viewpoint, it’s comforting to realize that all the debating means we also haven’t stopped caring about that experiment.
Dan Francisco is an El Dorado Hills-based public relations consultant to the high-tech industry.