Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Was sollten wir nur tun?

I just left my friend's place. He had been hosting a small gathering to watch the election results, but called it a night as soon as the gap in Ohio seemed to great for the Democrats to close. On the way out he said, "Well, I guess I won't be reading the newspaper for the next two-and-a-half years." I knew exactly how he felt, since that was my response to the horrible year between the 2000 election and the start of the war in Afghanistan. This time, though, I felt the need to disagree.

I'm not prone to finding silver linings in the clouds of despair, but think that we need to recognize the opportunity in this demoralizing defeat. The losing side is organized across every manner of divide: generational, ethnic, religious, gender etc. What we do with that organization is the question. Burying our heads in the sand will make all the effort that went into organizing seem futile. And that could very well prove deadly, both in a metaphoric and literal sense.

It seems pretty clear that the second Bush Administration will continue to divide instead of unite, doing whatever it can to promote partisan goals. Our remaining civil liberties will be one of the prime targets. And, given the composition of the new Congress, legislative resistance will be extremely difficult to achieve. But that doesn't mean we have to sit back and take it, the way so many Germans did during the early 1930s. We can act directly without bringing the full punitive power of the state down on us. More than that, we can act with out pocketbooks. Did you notice that most of the so-called "blue states" are also the states with the highest personal incomes?

My friend sent out an e-mail to his friends and family a little while ago in which he asked for help coping with the loss. I'm going to do what I can. Beginning by imagining boycotts we could organize might be one place to start. Sure, it would be a symbolic gesture -- there's no stopping globalization -- but one that might at least get the attention of people we need to court. Ideas, anyone?

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