The 2008 Election presents unexplored and new terrain for all participants and observers as factors and forces we are only beginning to understand wield their influence on voter sentiment, turnout, and behavior.FACTOR ONE:
Generation Next. Web 2.0 geeks
familiar with the stratification of technophilia
know that omnivore no longer refers to a vegetarian, but to Generation Next
, a multi-digitally enabled Facebook networked cell phone camera text messaging iPod equipped population that cannot remember a world without a personal computer.Now, they vote.
Until recently, even at voting age, they were too into themselves and each other to care about politics. I trust my reader can guess what might have changed that. Hint: body bags, torture, lies, corruption. Hint 2: global warming. They inherit the frog we’re boiling. Among this crowd, word gets around in nanoseconds. While not news junkies tapping into CNN every hour, they are more aware than earlier youth.
Immediate considerations: Web advertising, YouTube, Campaign Web sites and donation functionality and strategies. Deeper considerations: Omnivores embrace diversity, care little about the border thing, even less about homosexuality, and really don’t get why children shouldn’t have health insurance. Some are quite religious, but even the most religious of them have a problem with intolerance, and speaking of that.FACTOR TWO:
Fracturing Faith. The NY Times has an outstanding David Kirkpatrick article on the fragmentation of the evangelical movement and US Christendom in general, and the fissures run deep and powerful. Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and others are experiencing their own versions of soul searching and rifts from the pro GOP status quo, as increasing portions of the congregation start flexing their foreheads about all this damnation and rallying cry around two "demons" destroying society, homosexuality and abortion.
Some of these Christians read the Bible, and a few pay attention to the words of Jesus Christ. He says remarkably little about homosexuality or abortion but has quite a bit to say about the poor, peace, forgiveness, and this notion of judging and condemning others.
The Times article quotes Paul Hill, a young pastor who left his church to form his own, the Wheatland Mission in ultra-conservative Wichita. "Times have changed. I think people will hear the Gospel better when it is expressed not just verbally but holistically, through acts of hospitality and by bringing people together. In the evangelical church in general there is kind of a push back against the Republican party and a feeling of being used by the Republican political machine," he continued. "There are going to be a lot of evangelicals willing to vote for a Democrat because there are 40 million people without health insurance and a Democrat is going to do something about that."
Rick Warren, an evangelical minister and author of the highly influential The Purpose Driven Life
, states, "If more Christians worked to alleviate needs in their local communities, the church would become known more for the love it shows than for what it is against."
One of the most influential leaders in US Christendom, Bill Hybels, whose Willow Creek Association
includes over 12,000 churches, speaks of a renewed attention to Jesus’ teachings about social justice, "We are interested in more than your two or three issues. We are interested in the poor, in racial reconciliation, in global poverty and AIDS, in the plight of women in the developing world."FACTOR THREE:
The Iraq War. It’s a quagmire founded on a lie for the oil industry. Greenspan said what everyone knows, acknowledging the fat, greasy elephant in the room and the bloody mess greedy and arrogant warmongers inflicted on the country. The casualties mount and the GOP, in what could be an act of political Hara-kiri, continues to provide Bush the votes to prevent the override of vetoes or legislation to stop his adamant and inflexible position to "stay the course" despite increasing evidence that events are slipping out of control into dynamics not intended by Lord Cheney.
Lord Cheney and Big Oil’s blood for oil
scheme has shifted onto precarious terrain where instead of the scrum delicious deals where Hunt, ExxonMobile, and others get to march into Iraq and turn that crank, the more traditional arrangements, like those in place with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and OPEC nations will occur, where the sovereign nations, not US corporations, run the show. Over 75% of the country sees the body bags and doesn’t give a flying F about Cheney’s finance project. Polls show outrageous disapproval of Congress, and amazingly shortsighted GOP mouthpieces think it’s a reflection on Democratic incumbents, and it is, sort of. Google your poll of choice to disaggregate the disapproval by party, and disapproval with the GOP towers over that of the Democrats. They are frustrated that the Democrats cannot get the votes to get us out. They froth at the mouth towards the die hard GOP goons letting Bush remain his obstinate self.
Cheney is now throwing his member around about Iran. Can you imagine? I don’t think I have ever seen a White House so utterly unconcerned about its political party or the people it is supposed to represent. FACTOR FOUR:
The Economy. We face a growing rich poor gap that is crucifying the middle class
and a bona fide health insurance crisis
the GOP cannot see if it’s placed in front of their noses. The Bush Cheney tax cuts and economic policies screw 99% of the country to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars to multi-millionaires, marginalizing increasing portions of the population to meager or sub-meager economic conditions. The veto of the S-Chip legislation and (predictably) version two passed this week flaunts a loud “Screw Yourselves!” to over 80% of the country and popular GOP members of Congress. 80%!!! The GOP votes that sustain the veto draw political blood. If evangelical Christians are shifting to the left, what do you think is happening with the rest of the country?
Remember, every time the GOP candidates howl about tax cuts and keeping taxes low, they are talking about those who make over $300,000 per year. If you make less than $100,000, you get nothing. Astute Democrats will POUND this issue in 2008, and we have this thing called a national debt, and should I mention social security and the demise of pensions in the face of retiring boomers?FACTOR FIVE:
The Environment. Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth
won him a Nobel Prize. The proliferation of evidence supporting global warming as well as the Bush administration’s blatant efforts to suppress, distort, edit, modify and LIE about scientific research clearly supporting the impending disaster have created resentment and green sentiments about sustainability that continue to escalate in strength, depth and volume.
Web 2.0 technology and voting omnivores, deep fissures in the religious right, the horrible war and the corruption, arrogance, and incompetence it spotlights, and profound concerns about the failure to address both the economy and the environment point to a razor blade laden path for almost every Republican defending or seeking a seat in 2008.