President Barack Obama has won another term in office. The Congress that awaits him is much the same as it was before the election in the sense that Republicans still hold the House whereas the Democrats control the Senate. The differences in those two chambers are small, but significant. There are more Democratic Senators now making passage of the Democratic agenda there somewhat easier. There are also more women Senators now, all the new ones being Democrats. This should help mitigate the systemic misogyny exemplified by Tod Akins and Richard Mourdocks, neither of whom, I’m glad to say, will darken the halls of the US Capitol now.
What can we expect from President Obama now that he’s a “lame duck”? In addition to the continued push for reforms in the financial and insurance industries, as well as a greater push to make America a leader in the field of Green Energy and sustainable living, there are a few lingering matters that will not get proper attention — or inattention, as the case may be. All of those things the Republicans hold so dear, particularly all those tax cuts for the wealthy, are still very much in play. You can be all but certain that the Bush tax cuts will now be allowed to expire unless the recalcitrant Republicans are provided with some other impetus to move off their collective … agendas.
Kentucky is home to one of the “supermax” prisons, the sort of facility you’d need to house the detainees now incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay. Kentucky’s senator Mitch McConnell will probably be a bit annoyed to learn that Obama will now make good on his promise to close the base and move all those detainees to Mitch’s home state. I’m sure his constituency will be very impressed with his inability to keep that from happening. Bye bye, Mitch.
The insurance companies will start to see that they’re no longer able to make the sorts of obscene profits on health insurance premiums once Obamacare becomes fully implemented, so they’ll start to bow out, making a little-mentioned public option built into the law an increasingly viable alternative. With a little luck, we’ll not only have universal health care in the US, but it’ll evolve into single-payor health care. What this means for you and me is that we’ll no longer be paying through the nose for insurance that can, at their whim, deny or cancel our coverage.
One thing you probably won’t see is another war. No, not even with Iran. They’ve already offered an olive branch and Obama now has the latitude — and the Senate — to negotiate with Iran to eliminate their nuclear fuel program and make its way back into the family of nations.
We’ll stop “eating our seed corn”, and begin to invest in education and research the way we once did. Years after Obama finally does leave office, we’ll start to see the fruits of this as we become smarter as a whole. We’ll start solving the real problems that plague us, that have gone neglected in favor of beating up on other countries, taking their wealth. Once solved, we’ll once again be looking far beyond where we are, and start the journey in earnest to get there. It might be Mars, or it might be a world that no longer fights over oil fields or water or imaginary friends or lines on a map.
What we have, now, is a breather. But only that. We need to set things in motion now that will have momentum, four years from now, to withstand the ignorance that plagues us as a nation, and the feeding frenzy of fear that the corporatocracy would have us all gorge on. We must stop thinking of ourselves as teams, one that must beat the other. We’re all in this together, and we’ll continue to be for more than just the next four years.