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Elections have Consequences: Early Lessons

November 10, 2012

The right-wing convulsion that enveloped much of America and almost all the Republicans has ebbed.  The new Democratic coalition – women, Latinos, Blacks, the young and educated – is on the incoming tide.

Much of the Right, from Fox to the Tea Party, from Karl Rove to the Koch Brothers, lived in what David Frum just labelled the conservative entertainment complex – and their disdain  for ‘facts,’ depending on who they came from, led to self-delusion. That is now apparent to all.

Jon Stewart feared that if the results of the election went differently, it “would be a defeat for arithmetic.” In other words, the victors would have been even more disdainful – particularly of evidence with unpleasant consequences, like climate change.  The convulsion would have only accelerated if the polls and models had been wrong, since any inconvenient facts or reality-based arguments could be much more easily dismissed.

Instead, the Right came out of the election shell-shocked.   The management consultants who ran the Republican campaign, Romney-style, blew it.  Ultimate irony: the community organizer won.

It’s a moment of special oppportunity for the young, diverse and educated, who may redefine our politics as they define themselves.  The political centre can now re-emerge, negotiate neglected issues, and reset the agenda with credibility.

Here’s an example from the young, diverse and educated in this part of the world – a public letter and manifesto that just arrived from Get On Board:

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Call for sustainable and equitable funding of public transit.

October 31, 2012

From: Youth Alumni of TransLink’s B.C. Youth Summit on Sustainable Transportation

Dear Premier Christy Clark, Minister Mary Polak, Ian Jarvis, and the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation:

As youth of Metro Vancouver, we have a deep concern and vested interest in the future of transportation in the region. Indicators suggest that car ridership among youth is dropping across North America. Instead, we are choosing to walk, cycle, or take public transit. We need funding dedicated to public transit to reflect this new reality. The lack of bold leadership at all political levels threatens our collective future in a livable region.

We, former delegates of TransLink’s 2011 B.C. Youth Summit for Sustainable Transportation, call on all of our elected leaders to realize that providing sustainable and equitable funding of public transit is the right thing to do and the smart political choice.

Our leaders must recognize that when they play hardball with transit, it is youth—one of the most vulnerable groups in society—who suffer the most. If we are to embrace the livable, just region that we all aspire to, our governments and politicians must make the difficult choice to come together for a common vision. …

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The rest of the document is here.  And here are the names of those who signed:

  • Victor Ngo
    Brandon Yan
    Nicholas Page
    Theo Lim
    Kevin Chan
    Carson Lam
    Billy Dong
    Ivy Wan
    Joshua Pablo
    Melissa Kendzierski
    Natalie Corbo
    Nathan Pachal
    Patrick Meehan
    Robert W. White
    Sophie Fung
    Steve Chou
    Timothy Shah
    Vanessa Wong

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… the incoming tide.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 10, 2012 4:06 pm

    Republicans have what I call a ‘Canute’ complex. Although he was one step ahead of them at least he tried to command the incoming tide while they didn’t meaningfully try. Important to note however the new Democratic coalition has some expectations that all political parties need to respect The points you raise with regard to transportion changes your so right here it is a generational tide and politicians today have a choice….learn to swim or drown

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