So, though I suppose it will matter to noone, I'm leaving the fight to Lowell and Gray Haven and others. I quit because I don't believe there is enough Palmolive to wash away the slime of this cowardly compromise from my hands. Let the Republicans twist the moral bootlickers any way they will; I have enough money that financial gain will be mine under the party I have despised for years, a party I voted against always because I believe in social justice. Now that the belief has been betrayed, I'll just clip my bond coupons and wait for the next surrender.
Bye bye. - Soccerdem on RaisingKaine
There is an excellent article from the New York Times Magazine about Justice John Paul Stevens. In it, he is entitled "The Dissenter." In the course of the article, it is revealed that his father was wrongfully convicted of a crime, his uncle committed suicide, his family lost its business and its livelihood in the Depression, and his own career after overcoming these amazing obstacles of his youth was a series of experiences that shaped his judicial mindset, including judicial corruption, and leading to his vigorous role as a dissenter and advocate for positions on the Court which would put him strongly in the van of Democratic politics and policies in the Old Dominion.
At each step of the amazing journey that has been his life, and at each turn of the court to the right, Justice Stevens has seen his own views denied, his own positions lose, and his role more and more frequently limited to that of dissent, in one manner or another. He has had a thousand chances in his life to say "Enough, I give up. This system, this nation, has failed me. A pox on all their houses!" And in doing so no one would have questioned that choice.
But he never did.
Stevens, however, is an improbable liberal icon. “I don’t think of myself as a liberal at all,” he told me during a recent interview in his chambers, laughing and shaking his head. “I think as part of my general politics, I’m pretty darn conservative.” - The New York Times Magazine
This reformed Republican, this "conservative" holding the line for liberal America quietly shames us all.
We are six weeks from an election which will define the playing field for the next decade. We are six weeks from an election on which Tim Kaine is betting his political career so that his children (and ours) will have a commonwealth that looks out for the common wealth. We are six week sfrom a day on which our neighbors go the the polls and decide whether to vote down hate and fear and radical agendas.
We are six weeks away, and people give up now?
And the problem is not limited to giving up. Every day, we progressives attack each other for not being pure enough on our pet issues. From recycling water bottles to funding the Iraq war, there are a thousand - a million - perfectly good reasons to snipe and snark and declare one another impure. And the reasons for not doing so are so ephemeral, so intangible, as to be easily ignored: unity, progress, hope.
Good-bye America ...you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.
It’s up to you now. - Cindy Sheehan, DailyKos, "Good Riddance Attention Whore"
And yet, people give up hope after only nine months of Democratic majorities in the Congress (A majority of only 50.5 in the Senate!). Members of the progressive blogosphere are calling out Democrats with purity-troll-like efforts, and if those Democrats do not respond, the complaints echo for epochs across the Internet.
We are googlebombing ourselves.
And amidst all the noise, we are, ourselves, doing the very thing we so frequently accuse the media of doing, we are ignoring the story, burying the lead, and reporting on the process, not the principle.
Have we all forgotten that the Iraq war could end tomorrow if only President Bush ordered the troops home? The problems we are calling on our Representatives to solve are problems created by President Bush. Yes, many Democrats voted for the war, but President Bush is the one who asked for it. Yes, some Democrats voted against MoveOn.org, but the Republicans sponsored it. Yes, some Democrats voted with Bush on the FISA bill, but The Executive proposed it.
Our fight is with the Republicans, folks. Regardless of how uncomfortable we may be here in the Democratic Party some times, we began the fight to remake the Party, we Crashed The Gate, we have only ourselves to blame if we squander this opportunity. Lest the revolution devours its own children.
Perhaps it is just easier to give up once a single victory is achieved. Perhaps it is to hard to be part of the governing solution, governing which is messy, filled with compromise and half-measures and years of arm-twisting and dealmaking and actual setbacks before change occurs, and the triumph can only be seen in retrospect, years later. If you doubt that, I would share with you a personal story.
Earlier this week, I watched Eddie Murphy: Delirious with my family. I remember it being hilarious when I was younger. Rewatching it today, there were many moments that just made me cringe. The ideas expressed had changed from being funny to just being offensive. (And I was a proud member of the Virginia Pep Band, so I know from offensive versus funny.)
Progress often happens when we are not looking. It is the Republicans who expect staged milestones of freedom's victory. We Democrats know (or we should) that success is measured in 5% higher graduation rates among city high schools, in 10 million fewer Americans without health insurance, in 100,000 Virginia kids with access to better pre-school. Success takes time, and patience, and sometimes, success takes failure (Mark Warner 1996, Mark Warner 2001).
Of course we should tell our Representatives how we feel, of course we should hold them to account, but we should also realize that they are representative. And guess what that means, folks? It means that they are set up to disappoint us, perhaps even more than half the time.
Disappointment is as much a part of democracy as triumph. Get used to it.
I, for one, refuse to be a bandwagon Democrat. I refuse to believe that the fact that Jim Webb won in November 2006, means that all my candidates, policies and positions are equally valid and viable, for the rest of my life. I refuse to take my ball and go home, just because my team let me down.
It's my team damnit, and I'll fight for it. Thankyouverymuch.
Because my team lives my principles, as best they can, most of the time. And that's what I expect, "because in a democracy, the whores are us. - P.J. O'Rourke"