This Time Could We Try “SANITY?”  by Dennis Dunnum

 Published in the November 9th issue of Vivacini!  To experience a “real magazine”,  read the article in the flipping book version here:  Vivacini! 09 November 2012.

The results of the 2012 election were astounding. I was incredibly relieved for it seems the voices of reason prevailed. The truth of the matter is, however, that we NEED a loyal opposition.  Reason prevailed but it could be a pyrrhic victory if
there continues to be no discourse between rational opposing views.

We need a Republican Party that is reasonable, one that is not taken over by the extreme right wing or by the natterings of pedophile-corrupted bishops and preachers. Th e world has changed profoundly and all those folks the Republicans fear are not strangers anymore but rather friends, neighbors and family who simply want an equal chance at the brass ring.

We need Republicans who are not solely devoted to the defeat of the opposition party whatever the cost, but who are willing to sit down and negotiate —willing to put forth their best ideas on how to fix the very real problems we face. Sadly, a party that is today led by the Karl Roves, and Rush Limbaughs of the world will NOT do that – their mantra is NO compromise – no matter who gets hurt. And that is what cost them the election.

We need conservatives who can speak reasonably with liberals to help us look at our own issues, as well as the issues that face society, more clearly. It seems the parties used to work better together because each had as its main agenda—the health of our country. Each had a diff erent perspective and somewhere in the middle were the solutions. Liberals without the influence of conservatives will go off track just as the Republican Party has over the last 30 years driven as it is by an immutable ideology and no longer functioning as an agent for balanced governance.

The Democratic Party is farther right than ever, it just doesn’t seem that way because the formerly “loyal opposition” has moved so far to the right, refusing to budge back toward the center —with its only goal since 2008 being to unseat Obama.

The American electorate is now comprised of those groups that will continue to grow, eventually becoming a greater majority: women, people of color, immigrants, young folks, sexual minorities and urban dwellers. Contrary to the unrelenting rightwing talking points: NO ONE wants a hand out; none of us want to ‘take’ what we haven’t earned; what we DO want is an equal footing to participate in a democracy that claims to embrace us all but, in reality, continues to exclude many of us.

The Republican Party bent over backwards during this election to institutionalize that exclusion and even tried to enshrine it within the Constitution.  Fundamentalist churches demand of their followers that they turn their backs on friends, co-workers and family members and deny them the same rights they enjoy.

Failing to see the abject hypocrisy, they demand that life before birth (or before conception) be recognized as sacred HOWEVER once you’re born,  you’re on your own! In fact, they insist on tax cuts to the wealthy, while eff orts to help children born in poverty grow into healthy adults or provide programs to educate them MUST BE cut – the “killing off

It ALL has nothing to do with taking anything from the treasury.  Certainly no more than corporate subsidies, oil and gas subsidies, ranching subsidies;  billionaires who contribute nothing to  society but pay less taxes than people on minimum wage;  financial “wizards” who have figured out how to steal from the rest of us “legally;” religious organizations that pay no taxes; military industrial profiteers that deliberately take us to war for their gain.

Those who are responsible for “taking” the most are actually people who already have more than their fair share of the wealth—but greed knows no bounds.   There are many Lincoln County ranchers getting more in government subsidies than any welfare mother in Harlem. The ‘blame game’ of who contributes to the destruction of America usually lands on hapless “welfare queens”—how about some balance – let’s expose the “corporate welfare kings!”

Lincoln County, and the rest of “the South” is locked into a romanticized past of “rugged individualism” that sounds good in Louis Lamour novels IF you ignore the ignominous treatment of people stolen from Africa that built the American agriculture economy; or IF you ignore the near-eradication of the Native Americans so that ranchers and cattlemen
could prosper on their stolen lands.  Or IF you ignore the abuse of Chinese laborers imported to build the railroads AND the vast fortunes of the “great industrial giants!”  Certain ideologues insist things were so much better when white
men ruled – – and they are right – it was better . . . for white men!

We have an amazing society, the greatest, so far,  in the world, built by folks with great determination and vision but also, OFTEN brutally, on the backs of “others.”   We are now finally realizing that the disenfranchised DO count; that EVERYONE counts and we have to shift our economies and political and even spiritual visions to account for that.
The Republican Party has not done that—the major churches won’t do that.  Perhaps the Democratic Party and the growing number of secular humanists will continue to develop their own brand of democracy until intelligent,
Conservative political and spiritual voices sit down dispassionately to help direct things in a more sustainable and balanced way.  Democrats and secularists are responsible for their part but cannot create that rational voice of
opposition – maybe the Republicans or mainstream religions can’t either but someone has to try.

White Oaks resident Dennis Dunnum is a former
restaurateur, teacher, builder, model, Carrizozo town
councilman, and advocate for the homeless and those
suffering from AIDS.