Thursday, November 09, 2006

The message in '06: 86 'em!

Since 2000, two distinct entities have experienced misfortune after misfortune. Despite rabid fan support and dollars, these groups have suffered from questionable leadership, poorly executed strategy, squandering of great talent and (of course) controversial calls. Both entities have seen their effectiveness diminish in recent years, even in their most familiar environs. Both have had analysts question their relevance and very future, wondering if either one would ever again experience the feeling of victory.

But in 2006, the Democrats and the New Orleans Saints both proved they are here to stay and here to win. Both have captured the nation's hearts and minds with their respective abilities to offer hope to a region that has suffered through disaster. This would be a great literary conceit even if former Saints quarterback Heath Shuler hadn't coasted to a Democratic victory in Carolina Panther territory (mainly by capturing the ever-critical NFC Southern vote). My brain positively explodes with all the politico-football parallels! And I thought I did my best writing when pissed off...

Unfortunately, I can't take any credit for helping this happen. I vote in Lafayette, Louisiana, where the proverb "all politics is local" has a particularly depressing ring to it. Charles Boustany (R-Bush Tool) beat Mike Stagg (D-Not Boustany) for my U.S. representative by a 71-29 margin, further proof that I couldn't be living in a wronger place than I do.

As hard as I try, I cannot get myself interested in local politics. Ever. For a Lafayette liberal like myself, the American election season is like thumbing through brochures of 2007-model cars: fun in theory, but in reality my only transportation options are my seven-year-old bike and a skateboard I've had since 1986. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, "I resign." Whoops! I mean, "You don't vote in the races you want; you vote in the races you have." I wish I could vote in different precincts. Hey, why not? In the Internet age, it's fully possible for anyone to follow any race they want. Besides, election returns in recent years suggest that voting eligibility is a shifty thing indeed. Think I ever get homesick?

My general uninterest in local affairs doesn't stop me from partaking in all but the most micro-obscure referenda, though that's more out of preventing horrifying initiatives than actually expecting progress. And also, because my precinct commissioners are really nice people. For me, the true excitement is in the elections with broader repercussions. This time around, the entire state voted for an important consolidation of New Orleans political power. And Lafayette offered a mildly interesting bunch of tax proposals that nevertheless all died, because they would have meant a couple more pennies out of our Wranglers. Repair our dilapidated courthouse so that suspects can't slip out unabated? Trashed, 69-31! A one-cent sales tax to fix Lafayette roads? Defeated 64-36 by those who'd rather save that penny for their next trip to Midas. They'll need it.

Despite my general disdain over local results, I join with the majority of voters in wishing the retooled 110th Congress a positive and productive term. This election has been as much about reintroducing fair play into government as it was a rebuke of those who have served with more dubious intentions. Some argue that this mid-term election is ultimately meaningless; but if Rumsfeld's immediate resignation isn't a testament to the power of the people, then nothing could possibly be. This may not be Bush's first rodeo (as he so hilariously reminded us yesterday), but it's his first on the business end of the rope. And the burn has got to hurt.

I'm sensing a Democrats-Saints Super Bowl afoot. Anybody game?

1 comment:

Phillip said...

I've said the Saints were going to the superbowl right after they beat the Packers.

Also, I'm going to take credit for the Democrats AND the Saints winning. At times when I earnestly believe someone is going to lose they win, and this time around I sincerely thought the Dems would not win. Credit me. All me.