Okay, more on the second one in a minute.
I'm not a Democrat. A Democrat is a person who is a member of the Democratic Party. I am not a member of the Democratic Party. I am unaffiliated with any political party (mostly because I hate being put in boxes, and now that I can choose a box, I choose no box). My political views and convictions are liberal and progressive, and I'm so far left of the Democrats right now that the only reason why I'd be okay with being associated with them is that some people still think you're either a Republican or a Democrat, and I'm obviously not a Republican.
A slew of Democrats in power right now, including President Obama, are what I would consider left-moderate.* I think that if the Republican Party weren't going fucking insane right now, turning into a fringe group with mainstream status, the Democrats could be a bit more left. But since they're trying to please and appease and compromise and speak reason to uber-conservatives who aren't interested in being reasoned with, they're not really doing anything that liberal right now. As for being progressive ... long way to go.
So, I'm not a Democrat. I tend to vote Democrat because moderate is the lesser of our current two evils (the other being conservative). I vote for the party that isn't openly against women's rights, that isn't openly against queer rights, that isn't openly racist, that isn't openly classist, that isn't openly anti-immigrant, etc. etc. etc. I say "openly" because plenty of Democrats (in power or otherwise) are those things, or do those things on an individual level, but the party itself is supposed to be what lefties and progressives are for.
And so that puts me in a weird position, where I'm not a Democrat, but I'm shuffled into generalizations about the party, especially when it comes to talking about Martha Coakley's defeat in the special election. I'm not going to talk about her campaign because as far as I can tell, if you're not going to make the effort to learn about your political candidates and check your facts, and you seriously have to rely on things like advertising and Scott Brown and his truck, and you're livid that Coakley didn't shake people's hands on a cold day or that she called Curt Schilling a Yankees fan,** then I find you extremely annoying. But what bothers me (besides the fact that Scott Brown is going to be our next senator) is that bloggers and journalists are talking about Democrats and progressives liberals as if we're all the same, and we're not.
Many Democrats voted for Brown. Many liberals aren't progressives. Many non-Democrats are not happy with the results. What does that mean in terms of reporting? In the same way that "Massachusetts has spoken" is completely inaccuate (it would be more accurate to say, "A slim majority of Massachusetts has spoken"), "liberals are demoralized" is completely inaccurate ("Many Coakley voters are rip-shit pissed" would be infinitely more accurate).
Onto Scott Brown himself. I am very angry that he won. Not only will he do a poor job of representing me because he's an upperclass Christian man, but from his voting record and political positions, I know he will make absolutely no effort to represent me in Congress. That's supposed to be the whole point of Congress: get a bunch of people to represent each state and hopefully all of our citizens will be represented, and these representatives will make decisions in the interests of their constituents. Right now, though, we elect people who makes us lots of promises, and then who go off to Washington, D.C. (which is not represented in the Senate) and do whatever the fuck they want, and then we have to beg them to please for the love of god do what we wanted them to do. Not a good system.
This senator-elect says he supports Roe v. Wade, but he also supports the ban on partial birth abortion (which, by the way, is not the name of any real medical procedure), as well as "conscience clauses" for professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and pharmacists.*** In short, he clearly does not actually respect women's autonomy over their own bodies and ability to make decisions regarding their bodies, sexualities, or health. It also makes his support of Roe v. Wade extremely suspect; I wonder if he might withdraw his support for the decision now that he's not worried about garnering votes.
He opposes granting suspected terrorists fair trials, which is unconstitutional. He talks about cutting taxes and investing in jobs, but none of these promised tax cuts ever help the people who need them (middle class, working class, etc.), and what money is there to invest in jobs if we've cut taxes? I don't claim to fully understand the situation with our troops in Afganistan, but I'm pretty tired of war and not getting the full story on what the hell purpose these wars serve. And I want to see that money used for domestic policy ... like investing in jobs!
He opposes healthcare reform, which is assinine because the state he represents has better healthcare than the reform would even provide. I'm aware that a lot of Massachusetts residents might not be that concerned about reform because we already have ours, but to have a senator from a state where reform obviously works say he's against healthcare reform is. just. plain. stupid.
Scott Brown is being hailed as a new breed of GOP. Guess what? Scott Brown is a new breed of GOP!! You know, in the same way that the poodle is a new breed of poodle! TOTALLY new breed, yeah?!
Totally new poodle.
* I would consider them left-moderate. I also have no degree in political science.
** No, I do not think that Coakley made even a remotely smart decision in refusing to shake hands with people. I think that it's also not remotely smart for people to judge her for that. Was her Yankees fan comment directed at Curt Schilling a good thing to say? No. Is it annoying as shit that Curt Schilling is using his position in Red Sox Nation to get us to vote for the candidate he likes? YES. Curt Schilling also loved George W. Bush and supported John McCain. That's kind of like being a Yankees fan, when you think about it, because it's about rooting for the bad guys.
*** For those of you who aren't familiar with the idea of a "conscience clause," here's a 'splanation. Let's say you are a pharmacist, and a woman comes into the pharmacy and asks you to fill her prescription. The prescription is for a type of birth control pill. And you, the pharmacist, firmly believe that contraception is morally wrong, that hormonal contraception is the same thing as an abortion, that preventing a pregnancy is the same thing as terminating one, or that either this woman shouldn't be having sex, or (if she's married) she should be trying to have babies ... etc. etc. ad inf. You decide that it is your moral (often religious ... well, maybe always, I think) obligation to refuse this woman her prescription. Or that it's your moral obligation to refuse to provide her with under-the-counter emergency contraception on similar grounds. Or you're a nurse or a doctor, and your patient needs an emergency abortion or requests a non-emergency one, and you're morally opposed.
The conscience clause allows you to say, "I morally cannot provide you with this service." Exceptions to the clause would be if there were no other people available to provide the service (only one pharmacist present in the store, only one doctor present, all available nurses necessary for a procedure, etc.).
The whole "Scott Brown voted to deny rape victims access to emergency contraception" revolves around his support of the conscience clause, to the point where yes, he believes that it should protect hospital workers even if there's a rape victim who asks for it.
The conscience clause is complete bullshit. If you are a pharmacist or a doctor or a nurse, etc. etc., you have a responsibility to do your job. It is absolutely none of your business why someone might asked for a particular prescription to be filled, request a particular under-the-counter medication, or need a particular procedure. And if your religious or moral beliefs prevent you from providing these services, then you need to find another career. If I ever find myself denied a service because of a conscience clause, believe me, I will not go quietly.