I hate feeling this way. Even in 1972 I understood just enough to realize that grown-ups were feeling it. I felt it powerfully in 1980. 1984 and 1988 were a little easier to cope with, if only because there wasn't much doubt going in. 2000 spread the feeling out over such a long period that it was hard to bear. But this feels the worst yet. I'm not going to abandon the quest for long-term hope, mind you. I just need to express how bad I feel right now.
Here's an idea. Instead of being polite and respectful and tolerant with all those X-men and X-men who are well on their way to destroying every ideal of American democracy that still matters, why not just tell them, to their faces, what we think of them? One thing I've learned from this campaign is that the Fundamentalists fear not only people from other countries and Big Government, but us. There's a reason why even in our benighted subdivision there are more Kerry signs than Bush signs. I say we capitalize on that fear with everything we have. If they can't tell the difference between radical Islamic terrorists and people who enjoy reading novels that aren't in the Left Behind series, that's their problem. Let's show them that they would be better off hiding their authoritarian, theocratic, reflex-driven views under whatever discount bushel they can find at the nearest Wal-Mart. They should be ashamed: it's our task to shame them.
Mark Morford has a column in the San Francisco Chronicle today that pretty much says it all. I include the following excerpt for any non-Americans who are reading this:
So then, to much of Europe, Asia, Canada, Mexico, Russia, the Middle East -- to all those dozens of major world nations who want Bush out almost as much as the educated people of America, to you we can only say: We are so very, very sorry. We don't know how it happened, either. For tens of millions of us, Bush is not our president and never will be. That's how divisive. That's how dangerous. That's how very sad it has become.Please pass it on.
amnesiascope has a stirring call for leftists to put faith in the Democratic Party behind them, to stop, "settling for -- and fighting for -- a dime's worth of difference." I remember similar arguments from four years ago, when Nader was running as the Green Party's candidate for President. The situation is quite different now, obviously. And I'm sure amnesiascope would not want to be reduced to tilter at windmills, the way Green Party supporters were in 2000. Reading this argument for renewed radicalism, though, I felt torn. Here's what I wrote:
I'm not sure how I feel about your very eloquent call to arms here. Part of me agrees. But another part -- perhaps the same part that had you out volunteering yesterday? -- of me, the part that is a parent and a teacher and someone who cares about actually existing people existing right now all over the globe, that part of me would take a balance of two parties in the short term. I suppose you still can't have Bernstein and Luxemburg at the same time. Nevertheless, I feel like we need to think and act on different levels at the same time, even if our actions and thought at one level seem to contradict our actions and thought at another. I think it's important to recognize that the perception of contradiction sometimes comes with the conflation of things that should not be conflated, the collapsing of one level onto another. Will I vote Democratic in two years, in four years? Probably. Will I really be working and hoping for something a lot better than the Democratic Party? Absolutely.I may reconsider this position as the particulate matter settles into the inner recesses of my political lungs. But it will do for now.