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My Heroes

The voters in New York’s 26th district are my freakin heroes for that they did yesterday.

Not because they voted democrat, but because they held their noses and voted in their own best interest. I say that the held their noses because the last time a democrat won in New York’s 26th, God was a child. This is a district that votes republican, always. They vote republican when a Bush is on the ballot, and they vote republican when a Palin is on the ballot. These are hardcore republicans. Voting for a democrat must have been physically painful for them. And yet they did it, because it was the right thing to do.

They left party loyalty at the door, and voted their consciences and their pocketbooks. I honestly wish that more Americans would take their lead. There should be no such thing as a “safe district”. Safe districts are a big part of what’s wrong with America. Safe districts make it possible for politicians to take your vote for granted and then shit all over you with it.

Every time your kids’ school district has to cut their budget, you should be voting out the candidate you voted in last time with no regard to party affiliation. Every time unemployment benefits or any other social safety net that you’ve paid into gets cut, you should be voting out the candidate you voted in last time, with no regard to party affiliation. Do your roads look like shit? Vote out the the person that isn’t budgeting for those repairs. Are there less cops on the streets of your neighborhood? You know what to do.

This idiocy of accepting that there’s “no money in the budget so what could your guy do?”, has to stop. Your guy will find the money if you incentivize him properly. There is no better motivator than job security to light a fire under someone.

I have repeatedly said that publicly financed elections must happen in order to fix our system. If you’re not inclined to hit the streets and collect signatures in order to secure a ballot measure, then at least stop being a party loyalist. You neuter your own vote every time you continue down the path of blindly voting for the candidate with the right letter after their name.

Don’t misunderstand me – I want you all to get out there and collect signatures for publicly financed campaigns. We’re completely fucked until that happens, so I’m not giving anyone a pass on that! But as you’re working up to the motivation to permanently fix our fucked up democracy, you can put a band aid on it by voting your own best interest and not being a dependable vote.

Whether the GOP will get the message that New York 26 sent remains to be seen. I can tell you they put the fear of God in democrats (including Obama) that were talking about cutting medicare. I’m going to go ahead and guess that talk of cutting social security isn’t going to continue either. Make no mistake, democrats were definitely going to agree to cuts to both programs. I would be shocked if they went in that direction after what happened yesterday.

They’re all going to start sounding like FDR now. Not because democrats are the good guys, but because democrats tend to be more afraid of their constituents than republicans are. Republicans know they have blind loyalty locked in with their voters, or at least they did. I’m not the kind of sunny optimist that expects that red districts all across the country will suddenly go blue in order to save the social programs that Americans resoundingly want. But I am the kind of sunny optimist that believes that we need just a few to flip, in order to get the GOP off this path of destruction (for a year or two, anyway).

So I say, BRAVO to New York 26. You made what I know was a painful choice, in order to save a program that Americans cherish. I wish that more Americans would follow your lead.

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