Friday, November 05, 2004

What do you guys make of this?

It COULD work but I don't know. For one thing we would need to publicize it in a way that keeps it under the media radar and yet attracts enough people to be effective. Also security is still likely to eject people for this stunt given Bush's notoriously fragile ego. As an image it's compelling.

I dunno. I don't have any ideas myself.
Clearly, melodrama is in.

Getting back to business

In other words, nothing has changed. Mr. Bush's victory on Tuesday was not based on his demonstrated competence in office or on a litany of perceived successes. For all the talk about values that we're hearing, the president ran a campaign that appealed above all to voters' fears and prejudices. He didn't say he'd made life better for the average American over the past four years. He didn't say he had transformed the schools, or made college more affordable, or brought jobs to the unemployed or health care to the sick and vulnerable.

He said, essentially, be very afraid. Be frightened of terrorism, and of those dangerous gay marriages, and of those in this pluralistic society who may have thoughts and beliefs and values that differ from your own.

As usual, he turned reality upside down. A quintessential American value is tolerance for ideas other than one's own. Tuesday's election was a dismaying sprint toward intolerance, sparked by a smiling president who is a master at appealing to the baser aspects of our natures.

Which brings me to the Democrats - the ordinary voters, not the politicians - and where they go from here. I have been struck by the extraordinary demoralization, even dark despair, among a lot of voters who desperately wanted John Kerry to defeat Mr. Bush. "We did all we could," one woman told me, "and we still lost."

Here's my advice: You had a couple of days to indulge your depression - now, get over it. The election's been lost but there's still a country to save, and with the current leadership that won't be easy. Crucial matters that have been taken for granted too long - like the Supreme Court and Social Security - are at risk. Caving in to depression and a sense of helplessness should not be an option when the country is speeding toward an abyss.

Democrats shouldn't cave in to Mr. Bush when he tries to appoint highly partisan judges - even when the effort to block a bad appointment fails, it will show supporters that the party stands for something. They should gear up for a bid to retake the Senate or at least make a major dent in the Republican lead. They should keep the pressure on Mr. Bush when he makes terrible policy decisions, which he will.

It's all right to take a few weeks to think it over. (Heads up to readers: I'll be starting a long-planned break next week, to work on a economics textbook. I'll be back in January.) But Democrats mustn't give up the fight. What's at stake isn't just the fate of their party, but the fate of America as we know it.

The hard part isn't believing the words. The hard part is getting past my own sense of personal grief. Mentally I know that we have go on, and to do nothing is unacceptable.

But I wasn't prepared for how completely this would knock me over, I feel like somebody died. Words are so inadequate to express my own sense of personal loss and failure. So I guess I'm trying to say, yes, I will be there to fight. But right now I'm grieving. Because that uphill battle has become the sheerest of cliffs and I can't face it in my current state. I'm also emotionally spent. I don't enjoy the constant sense of embattlement. I don't enjoy this vigil. Kerry not only meant hope. For me it meant that I put out the watch fires for a little while and attend to my own life.

So allow me these moments of wallowing and brooding. I'll get there soon, And I will continue to post. Just don't expect a return to good humor anytime soon.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Yes, the black was a bit melodramatic. I'll be better before too long. And it's wrong to be so glum after reading this.
This is my hope: that the vision and determination that we poured into Kerry's campaign, we will now direct towards everything else there is to do, from the poverty-level families in our own cities to the Sudanese that are being systematically killed and raped in Darfur. I have learned something absolutely brand new about myself in the last couple of months: in the face of crisis, once I make the connection between the situation and my own two hands, I act. I have the time to act, I have the energy to act and I have the resources to #$%-damn act. I had just never realized the connection before. I just hadn't realized that what I do as an individual does affect others and can affect the world. My potential to affect others is being wasted every year that I assume that my responsibility as a human being only goes as far as the ends of my own fingertips.

I am 38 years old and it's time to get on with it: time to get on with a global focus that takes me outside of my own lonely life. With no husband and no dependents, what else to I have to spend my time on? If I could squeeze six days out of my life to help successfully deliver Wisconsin to the Democrats, what else can I do? In my last post, I wrote that I couldn't control the election, but I could control my participation in it. Robert Kennedy and countless other activists are dead, Kerry's campaign and the Democratic plan to re-take the Senate lie in tatters, but I'm still standing. I'm still standing and although I can't control the world, I can control my participation in it. Now all I have to do is decide what to work on next.

Brava Regina! You worked really hard, and have become my personal hero this election.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

From Move On
Our journey toward a progressive America has always been bigger than George Bush. The current leg is just beginning -- we're still learning how to build a citizen-based politics together. But it's a journey our nation has been on for a long time. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."

Today, we'll take a breath. Tomorrow, we'll keep moving toward the America we know is possible.

I needed to read this today. When I feel better hopefully I'll be able to use my own words. But right now I have none except those that are angry and full of despair.

I was so sure we would win.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Tentative Good News

It's still early but check out those swing state numbers!

Kerry 45 48 42 60 52 51 51 50 58 52 49 57
Bush 55 51 57 40 48 48 47 48 40 43 49 41

Thanks to Kos for the link (and happy 1st birthday to Baby Kos, Ari).

Monday, November 01, 2004

Ezra over at Pandagon has an eloquent post about his reasons for supporting John Kerry
...Righteousness, as a habit, rejects certainty; in fact, the angels have a troubling predisposition to wander around issues, which makes sticking in their camp a matter of ideological flexibility as much as judgment. There's no chasm greater than the one Kerry bridged to go from Vietnam war hero to the war's most prominent opponent, but he was right to serve his country and right to fight for an end to the misguided slaughter. It's a lesson he's refused to unlearn, and one he's spent a lifetime applying. And we need it.

There are times when principle matters more than results, when the admirable aspects of certainty outweigh the practical aspects of flexibility. Certainty can inspire, it can direct, it can empower. But it can't always be right. Terrorism isn't an issue on which we can afford to be wrong. Kerry's willingness to adopt new strategies and positions in response to new evidence is his most crucial trait. The terrorists, Cheney says, will not be impressed by our softer side, though, according to the precanned narratives emitted by his voicebox, it seems George Bush's resolve impresses them greatly. But the objective is not to impress those who wish to kill us, it's to destroy them and their networks. Kerry is willing to adapt his approach to that imperative, Bush is unwilling to do anything that may compromise his puffed-out chest and firmly set jaw.

As a practical matter, that is the primary difference between George W. Bush and John Kerry. It's a choice between extreme certainty and an almost excessive flexibility. These are personality traits and I blame neither man for them, I simply judge which I prefer in my president, and that places me in Kerry's camp. But you know what? I forgive Bush his failings, I forgive him his mistakes, I forgive him his transgressions and his lies and his misjudgments and miscalculations and messes. What I don't forgive -- what I will never forgive -- is that he ran for president in the first place. And the reason, dear reader, that I can never forgive him for that, is because he fought to ascend to an office he didn't understand.

I'm not going to pretend to share Ezra's magnamity when it comes to Bush. I will never forgive him for this war. In fact I hope there is still time to bring him and his abetters to justice.

Nor would I call Kerry's flexibility "excessive". A person who changes his/her opinion when confronted with truths that fly in the face of said opinion is smart. More importantly, he is result oriented.

But for the rest, Ezra hits all the right notes. Kerry has emerged as exactly who we need right now.
No Retreat, No Surrender

I'm reading Norman Mailer's Armies of the Night for a paper I'm writing. At one point he describes the media as "the silent assassins of the Republic." This in 1967. Fast forward thirty-seven years and those silent assassins aren't silent anymore. They have corporate sponsorship and a captive audience.

When I first started this blog, my first priority was to keep insanity at bay and have a little fun in the process. I also wanted to join this community that seemed yet unbowed by the consecutive shocks of the 2000 Election and September 11th. The energy, ballsyness, and humor of these people was the perfect antidote to anything on cable news. After one of Bush's "press conferences" it was nice to read something insightful, cutting, or even downright vulgar about our Resident-in-Thief. It was also exciting to watch it grow, from Mediawhores, to Atrios, to Daily Kos, and further out. The blog community became an excellent way to innoculate myself against the multiple threats of pessimism, apathy, doubt, and above all misinformation.

Through it all, this year's election has always appeared to be the end of a long road. Of course I didn't count on the massive incompetency of this administration. We all know that a victory the day after tomorrow is merely breaking ground on a daunting reconstruction process. But we can only cross that bridge once we get there and we're not there yet. Moreover, we can't afford to let up once we do get there. Because even if Bush goes away, the assassins remain. Fox News isn't going to fold just because their guy loses. If anything they're sharpening their fangs as we speak.

So I guess for me this a reassessment of sorts. This blog's title is going to have to change after Tuesday, and only Tuesday will tell what that change will be. What should my priorities be? The same? More of this? Less of that? I'm taking suggestions.

Meanwhile, we're all crossing our fingers and watching the polls. At the very least, this election won't catch me lying down, (although I can't promise not end up that way, literally, regardless of the outcome on Tuesday). So stay cheerful everybody. This isn't 2000. We know better now.