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I'll bet one of the most-often used words in the recently concluded national election was "STUFF." Yes, stuff. I'm sick of hearing about keeping stuff and giving away stuff. I'm sick of hearing who deserves stuff and who doesn't deserve stuff. I'm sick of hearing the word stuff on local and national media all day long. I'm sick of hearing the word stuff in robocalls. I'm sick of reading the word stuff in political junk mail. Discover why I decided to write a diary about this below that burnty orangey hopey changey whatchamacallit.

PART ONE:
I recently participated in a few lengthy post-election discussions (who hasn't?) about how close or not close this election was, and whether it was like 2004 or 2008. Inevitably one reaches a comment saying Obama just wants to give people stuff, I asked myself what "stuff" did that person mean? My inner light blub came on and said, look up the meaning of "stuff." So I did, and this is what was found:

1. The material out of which something is made or formed; substance.
2. The essential substance or elements; essence: "We are such stuff/As dreams are made on" (Shakespeare).
3. Unspecified material: Put that stuff over there.
4. Household or personal articles considered as a group.
5. Worthless objects.
6. Special capability: The team really showed its stuff and won the championship.
7. Money; cash.
8. A drug, especially one that is illegal or habit-forming.
9. A basketball dunk.

PART TWO:
The aforementiond discussions also went on about how the Republican Party is toast. Maybe, but probably not. I hope its current morph is, but a two-party system is better than a one-party system. I decided to look at what "stuff" was promised by the winner of other close elections. The closest post-WWII elections, in order by vote difference between winner and loser, have been 1960, 1968, 1948, 2004 and 2012.

In 1960, Kennedy's "stuff" was civil rights, collective bargaining, increased minimum wages, lifting of immigration restrictions, more pay for teachers, and more aid for the aged, farmers and small businessmen. In 1968, Nixon"s "stuff" was law and order and an end to the Vietnam War. Truman's 1948 "stuff" is explained below. In 2004, George W. Bush's "stuff" centered around keeping us safe by continuing the Iraq/Afghanistan wars and support for the Patriot Act. Bush's other "stuff" included banning abortion, banning same-sex marriage, privatizing Social Security, creating an ownership society, opposing mandatory carbon emissions controls, and a guest worker program for immigrants. In 2012, Obama's "stuff" was keeping jobs in the USA from going overseas, rebuilding America's infrastructure, investing in education/teachers, pursuing and killing terrorists, ending the Afghanistan war, a veterans job corps, preserving the right to chose on abortion, preserving affordable birth control, preserving/improving Obamacare, keeping Social Security and Medicare public, promoting energy independence through renewable energy, and comprehensive immigration reform.

PART THREE:
I've read a few places that 2012 emulates 1948 more than the other close elections mentioned. Truman won despite all the polling indicating Dewey would win. Gallup showed Dewey ahead by 5% on election day. Remember the famous "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline in the Chicago Tribune? Reminds me of Karl Rove's behavior on FOX as the election was called while he was still spinning wrong numbers regarding Romney and Ohio. Truman campaigned on a "do nothing" Republican Congress trying to stall him out. Dewey was a wealthy businessman who ran a nasty campaign in 1944 against FDR and the New Deal. His effort to appear less combative in 1948 was not effective. The voters didn't buy it. Sound familiar to 2012?

FYI, Truman won by 2,188,000 votes which was a much larger (4.7% vs 2.3%) margin of the total vote than Obama's this year. His coalition included unions, Jews, the South and farmers. The South got "stuff" from the New Deal (TVA, western dams and water projects, etc.) and were still thankful. The civil rights granted in the 1960s neutralized the New Deal for southern Democrats in 1968 and beyond.Southern white anger over losing their human "stuff" trumped all.

Farmers supported Truman for two reasons. They got "stuff" such as water projects out west via the New Deal. He also fought off attempts to undo the Agricultural Adjustment Act, thus keeping fair ratios between prices paid for their goods and their costs to run their farms. Farmers did not go for Obama in 2012, fearing the "stuff" they get now will be reduced for giveaways to cities. This might have been enforced by the 2012 drought and a refusal/inability to rise above racial stereotypes regarding getting "stuff.".

Unions supported Truman because he vetoed the Taft-Hartley Act the year before, and promised to repeal it after Congress overrode it. Their support for Obama in 2012 was enhanced by corporations shipping jobs overseas and efforts in Ohio/Wisconsin to severely restrict or outlaw collective barganing by public employees.

The Jews supported Truman because the "stuff" he gave them was rebuilding post-war Europe and an Israeli state in the Middle East. They supported Obama in 2012, not only because of his continued efforts regarding Israel, its Arab neighbors and Iran, but his domestic policies better fit their general views.

The Blacks supported Truman because he rose above his racist upbringing to form a Civil Rights Committee in 1947 and was the first President to address the NAACP. The "stuff" he gave them was a Federal Government dedicated to ending racial discrimination. The Armed Forces were integrated just after the election.

PART FOUR:
Lincoln took away South's human "stuff" in 1863 by proclaiming all slaves free. FDR gave them their TVA-type public works "stuff" in the 1930s. Truman started to take away more their "stuff" in 1947. LBJ took away their institutional barriers ("stuff") for discrimination. Now they believe Obama wants to take their monetary "stuff" and give it to their former human "stuff." And he reminds a few of them of the human "stuff" they lost.

Yes, elections are all about "stuff" and who gets it. But they are also about what kind of "stuff" is wanted or threatened to be taken away. The military-industrial complex and deregulated large corporations/banks have bought out politicians at an accelerating rate. Middle class wealth (houses, retirement plans, etc.) "stuff" has been slowly taken away over 30 years and more rapidly over the last decade. The 2012 election was about fairness "stuff" more than monetary "stuff." You wouldn't know that listening to the media. Fairness won, but all we are hearing is changing demographics.

The essence of America is its dream. Obama's campaign "stuff" was more about the dream than Romney's campaign. It was more about fairness in the opportunity to try for the dream than Romney's campaign. Romney's campaign focused on monetary/materialistic "stuff" when the important "stuff" this year is found in definitions #1, #2 and #6. The only stuff we want is fairness, respect and fewer barriers to try for the dream. And we want a media that isn't focused so much on political entertainment and "horse race" elections as it is the truth.

Hope and change were planted in 2008. The "do-nothing Congress" was the fertilizer. The win in 2012 can be the sunshine and water. People don't stand in a voting line for hours on end unless the promised "stuff" means something positive in their lives. Romney and his Republican Party promised "stuff" to big oil, big business and racists, Good signs: David Frum calling for the Republican Party and its complicit conservative entertainment complex to change their ways and William Kristol actually saying billionaires might need to be taxed a bit more.

Look over that list again and think about what definition(s) of "stuff" most influenced your decision in 2012.

Haven't done a diary in a long time. Hope you follow my drift with this one.

Originally posted to OHeyeO on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:16 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (33+ / 0-)

    There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

    by OHeyeO on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:16:31 AM PST

  •  Nice diary (4+ / 0-)

    Except Obama is currently winning by about 2.8 %.. margin, not 2.3%.. I bet it will be up to 3% at least by the time all votes are counted.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics" - F.D.R.

    by biscobosco on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:12:41 AM PST

  •  The fear of having stuff taken away (10+ / 0-)

    is what I heard in several conversations this time around. Stuff meaning consumer goods that many feel we have the right to even though we don't really need it.

    A relative posted "That's why I work so hard and never get a vacation - so you can sit around on your ass all day and collect welfare" in big, poster-like letters on his Facebook.

    This relative has lots of stuff. Right after he posted that, his wife started posting about her new car, and then I heard they cancelled the vacation of a life-time to invest in property. They are all about what they buy, and not supporting the 47% for fear that they won't have as much money to buy stuff.

    Ironically, they have both had to depend on government assistance at different times in their lives to get through rough times and that included not paying taxes for awhile.

    Of course, now they both claim that they pulled out of those tough times through their own hard work and initiative. True, but they had help when they needed it.

    I'm glad that Obama was re-elected and we stand a chance of getting the stuff that we all really need. I'm glad for the chance to start acting more like a community.

    Great diary, by the way.

    •  They deserve their stuff; no one else does (6+ / 0-)

      In the wingnut alternate universe, Democrats are lazy bums who were bribed into voting for Obama with free cell phones and condoms.

      Oh, and Obama himself ran for president so that he could get perks that he otherwise could not afford -- from the ghetto to the White House. So now he, his wife, his daughters, his mother-in-law, and God knows how many African relatives live "high on the hog" at taxpayers' expense.

      Never mind that both Barack and Michelle were lawyers, the girls already went to private school, and the house in Chicago was rather nice.

      Wingnut women with shoe collections that would make Imelda Marcos envious have hissy fits if Michelle buys designer sneakers, and wingnut couples about to embark on a Mediterranean cruise rant and rave if Malia goes to Mexico on a class trip.

      All because, after all, "we deserve it."

      261.A wealthy man can afford anything except a conscience. -Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

      by MaikeH on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:15:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great example of their narrow view of "stuff" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smalakoff, AuroraDawn, greengemini

      To hell with the common and its benefits.

      There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

      by OHeyeO on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:08:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well-done! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dotdash2u, greengemini

    Faith, as you say, there's small choice in rotten apples." (The Taming Of The Shrew; W. Shakespeare)

    by LibbyLuLu on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:37:57 AM PST

  •  You left out the election of 2000 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee

    The election of 2000 is arguably the closest, in terms of votes, second to 1960, in which it is impossible to tell the number of votes because of the way Alabama messed
    with their electoral vote.

    •  Considered that one an outlier (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini, Nulwee

      The popular vote was for Gore policies while electoral vote enabled Bush policies via Supreme Court. Was sticking with the ones where popular vote matched the winner.

      There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

      by OHeyeO on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:02:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary. (7+ / 0-)

    You're right. I want stuff too.

    I would like to make sure that everyone has Social Security and Medicare available when they get old enough to use it.

    I would like to make sure that everyone has a safe infrastructure available to use when they need to.

    I would like to make sure that the planet doesn't kill us because we abused it to much.

    I would like to make sure the people of the world are free to pursue their own path as long as it doesn't interfere with someone else pursuing their path and vice verse.

    I didn't believe that Romney was bent in that direction. I hope that Obama is and that he's stronger this time.

    Keep moving. Its harder to hit a moving target.

    by KatGirl on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:58:06 AM PST

  •  Damn (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, Nulwee

    And here I was hoping the stuff Obama would be giving us (Bill O'Riley said so) would be drastic discounts on the Obama/Biden 2012 website stuff.  Silly me.

  •  Obama's margin of victory is 2.7% and climbing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, Nulwee

    Could be 3% by the time all of the votes are finally counted.  So the result was not as close as GW Bush, whose margin of victory was 2.4% and only 286 electoral votes

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:04:51 PM PST

  •  Here's a classic George Carlin bit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smalakoff, greengemini, Nulwee

    All about "Stuff."

    "What is a house except a wrapper for your stuff?"

    But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

    by Dbug on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:28:00 PM PST

  •  my stuff = education + equal opportunity (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    helpImdrowning, OHeyeO, Nulwee

    I think the "stuff" I cared about was spending on education, infrastructure, and being sure that we keep working towards being a land of equal opportunity.  I have personally been horrified by the way that this GOP referred to immigrants.  
    It is stunning to see a nation of descendents of immigrants
    behave so badly to the next wave of extremely hardworking immigrants. (never forgetting Native Americans and those who were brought here against their will)

    I think that what many racists lost in this election was the right to feel okay about their behavior and about themselves.  It is only okay to be so incredibly selfish if those "other" people are not deserving.  And it is okay to feel better about your own losses in this economy if you can blame it on those "others".  

  •  Very enjoyable diary. Thank you. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee, OHeyeO

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

    by helpImdrowning on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:08:19 PM PST

  •  These people who complain about giving "stuff" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee

    ...actually get MORE "stuff" (in hard currency value) from the government than anyone of limited means does.
    Their "stuff" includes tax cuts and fat government contracts and cheap oil facilitated by wars paid for by the taxpayer.
    Anytime you see a "rich" Republican whining about "giving away stuff" remind him that he gets exponentially MORE stuff than the average American.

    Everybody got to elevate from the norm....

    by Icicle68 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:00:44 AM PST

  •  But..but.. (0+ / 0-)

    You can't let "those people" have stuff!

    Two of my brothers-in-law are hard-core Romney-ites, because, apparently, all Obama voters are leeches on the government and just want free stuff.  They're dead weights waiting around to be supported by hard-working, honest folk (though one of these brothers-in-law spends years at a time unemployed, so...ahem).  Strangely, one of them (the employed one) posted a rant on Facebook yesterday about how the government doesn't offer enough services for families with autistic children.

    Oookay...who's asking for the "free stuff" again?  Not that I'd be opposed to more aid to families who need it, but isn't this the same guy who's foaming at the mouth over all the leeches who want something for nothing and about how he's taxed enough already and what-not?

    Hmm.

    "Shit-dripping pond scum" may not advance the English language but it shows people are working to see our common tongue doesn't stagnate at some elitist level.

    by Ratmum on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:34:10 AM PST

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