Sunday, November 9, 2008

Never Again

Since the election, four days ago, I have been absorbing, processing and relishing our well-earned, triumphal victory. So many thoughts have been racing around my brain, and I want to write about all of them, but the one that really nailed me was when I read Frank Rich's column today in the New York Times: Bathing in the afterglow of almost two years work, depleted, thrilled, and emotional, this article made me sit up straight.

Whether intentionally, or not, Rich made us look like victims...victims of the Bush administration: "For eight years, we’ve been told by those in power that we are small, bigoted and stupid — easily divided and easily frightened."..."We heard this slander of America so often that we all started to believe it, liberals most certainly included." Um, excuuuuuse me, Mr. Rich, but those are not the people I hang around with. While the majority of people bought into the fear dictum, there were a lot of us who were dismayed that so many people drank the Bush kool-aid and became the lemmings of group think. We wondered how so many people could
have relinquished their rights, their ability to think things through, and buy into the wholesale fear of a terrorist golam that was invented by someone who couldn't even shoot straight? Now they cry, "We were hoodwinked!" We, the others who didn't believe the spoonfed rhetoric, were aghast that people, pundits and politicos went along with the Bush doctrine.

Rich goes on to say, "If I had a dollar for every Democrat who told me there was no way that Americans would ever turn against the war in Iraq or definitively reject Bush governance or elect a black man named Barack Hussein Obama president, I could almost start to recoup my 401(k). " Cute, but pathetic. Democrats are notoriously 'cajones-less'. For the record, I am not a Democrat. Why on earth would I want to be associated with such mindless wimps as Rich portrays them? If they had actually paid attention, and done something, then they would have known all of these things that Rich lists were impossible to conjure, were actually totally possible.

But then, these mushy Democrats prayed that someone would come to save them from the mess they let happen. They voted, and felt redeemed by shouting, "YES WE DID!" Yes they did allow Bush to take down this country. Where were the protests, where was the outcry when it mattered? Even last year? Boy, I hope they don't swing the other way and think that Obama is the Messiah. Obama has a shitload of a mess to clean up, and he's going to need everybody's help. Now is not the time to resume your couch potato position because your Saviour has arrived. Now is the time to for you to do a little meditating, and think of why you were so easily lead down the path to hell via the loathsome strategy of fear and division. Get out of your comfort zone, for good, and pay attention. All hands should be on deck now.

And Rich is amazed that young people reversed the thinking that they would be too lazy to vote. Thanks for the confidence. We know that young people weren't participants during the Bush theocracy*, but they are certainly engaged now, and forever, I hope. They showed those cynics, and put their money where their mouths are, worked their asses off and came out in droves to vote. Obama gave them something to believe in, and he embraced them. He tapped into their latent potential, and made them dig deep to prove they could deliver. I would bet that the average age of volunteers running campaign offices around the country was around 23. It was a thing to behold...seniors stapling campaign materials while twenty-somethings ran the show. They delivered all right.

This campaign has shown us one thing, loud and clear...that the Power of One, collectively, has the power to move mountains. If you ever doubted that you could make a difference, this election should permanently put that to rest. We can harness that power and make it known that WE are the bosses, the government our employees. Just as I marched, several times, with thousands of others against the Iraq war (how come
we knew?), we can employ all the tools at our disposal, some new, some old - the internet, phone calling, letter writing, marching - to let government know that we have grown skeptical, and we will let our will be known when need be. Obama has promised a transparent government, and I believe him. That is not to say we will always agree with him, and it is also not to say that we must hit the streets with every policy disagreement. All I'm saying is that we should keep in mind our personal power and obligation to participate in our own governance. We cannot let anyone tell us what to think when they give us their version of classified information. We don't have to be paranoid, but we need to be vigilant and scrutinize, scrutinize, scrutinize.

As to my personal involvement in the campaign, I am a proud member of the most incredible grassroots organization this nation has ever seen. I am a PROUD COMMUNITY ORGANIZER. If it weren't for the millions of volunteers who sacrificed jobs, money, time with loved ones, who overcame exhaustion and drowned in adrenalin, to make this Obama campaign successful, this victory would not have happened. And that is the power that was sound asleep during the eight years of the Bush nightmare. Now Democrats have seen what they are capable of doing.

Let us take this grassroots effort and keep it going. Let's keep it going so that we, the people, have a place in our own government, and a voice that will not be quelled. Let us never let something like the last eight years happen again...never again.

* Bush theocracy:
Mr Shaath said that in a 2003 meeting with Mr Bush, the US president said he was "driven
with a mission from God".

"God would tell me, George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did, and then God would tell me, George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq... And I did.

"And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East. And by God I'm gonna do it."

2. read this:

3. a very interesting article:


nancy said...

I think that there was a convergence of events and circumstances that led to Obama's election: (1) that things had gotten so bad (ie, the economy, exposure of the lies about why we invaded Iraq, the international isolation Bush created for the US, the healthcare & housing crises, etc) that the couch potatoes got off the couch, (2) Obama emerged as the eloquent leader many people needed to get inspired to give of their $$ and time, (3) that the first 2 factors were compelling enough to overcome whatever racism some people might otherwise have felt, and (4) after seeing the last 2 elections stolen/rigged, many folks were motivated to act in order to see that this did not happen again.

While I do think we all were victims of Bush/Cheney/Rove, I don't think we all were duped by them.

jll2000 said...

Not everybody was duped by them, but my issue is that most people were passive, and just complained. Hopefully, now, people will stay engaged, and understand that they have the power to effect change. We just that. Thankfully.