The Unbearable Weakness of Our Resolve

I just returned from a fundraiser for a local pol or, let me rephrase, I just walked out five minutes after I walked in. I dropped my sizable check and drove home, sans crudités and wine. Nothing to do with the guest of honor, everything to do with the exchange I had with a long-time progressive activist, someone I admire and respect a great deal. Yes, it was about her reaction to The Debate.

“I’ve never been a huge Obama fan, I voted for Hillary,” she reminded me, “and I was upset that people felt it was more important to elect the first African-American than the first woman. But I got over it, and it seemed like the right thing in the end. But after the debate, I’m really reconsidering. I think we made a mistake. I really do.” Her tone was all “I told you so” in that confidential self-satisfied way that Democrats reserve for such moments.

The other woman in our little circle of chat then brought up today’s Pew Poll—a snapshot of Romney’s bounce that excludes Obama’s lead from both before and after the debate—and shook her head in dismay. I realized I was about to be trapped in a pity party, and decided I should drop my check in the basket and slip out the door before I climbed up on the bar to shout “How ’bout those jobs numbers, people?”

I am not going to make excuses for the president’s poor performance. I am as disappointed as the next person. But it is our response to this incident that disturbs me.

What do the Republicans do (ahem, the conservatives, or is it the tea party? anyway, the other party) when their candidate makes a gaffe, a misstep, a fool of himself? When the headlines are not going their way? They say the polls are skewed, the numbers are fixed, the media is biased, climate change is a hoax, he’s really a conservative, he’s really a moderate, he’s really…whatever we need him to be. And they keep working to elect Republicans, no matter what.

I am not saying that making excuses for bullshit is the proper course. I’m saying that the Republicans understand the game, keep the long view, and don’t get hung up on personality cults—at least until the person in question is long-dead and can be properly reformatted, like Reagan. Their objective is to elect Republicans, and they don’t let the flaws of their candidates distract them. (Have you seen them fall in line behind Todd Akin—Mr. Legitimate Rape—for instance? Can I get an OMFG?)

Their objective is to elect Republicans. They do not let anything get in their way.

In this one area, they are quite rooted in reality.

Democrats, on the other hand—or rather “progressives” who have the highest of principals and no pragmatic strategy to accomplish whatever long view they might have—withdraw their support in dismay when the politician du jour does not live up to their perfectionist standards every minute of every day. Like my friend at the fundraiser, they’d rather be right than to win.

I do believe in principles, and I have some.

I believe the electoral system in the patriarchal imperialist corporatocracy that we call the USA is wholly inadequate to accomplish the radical feminist utopia of my dreams and my ambitions.

I believe many women and men have fought and died for my right to vote.

I believe there is more human suffering under Republicans and less under Democrats.

I believe the ultimate goal of the current “Republican Party” is a theocracy for the masses and an invitation-only skybox for the Chosen.

I believe Barack Obama is, without question, the best president in my lifetime—and that starts with Eisenhower.

I believe the first term of Barack Obama will prove to be a time of historic advances for progressive, liberal, and even radical values, and I spend not an insignificant amount of time daydreaming about what might happen with a second term, and a Democratic House and Senate.

Therefore, even when Barack Obama fails to satisfy my need to publically kick Mitt Romney’s ass during one particular 90-minute infotainment episode, I remember that my mother needs Medicaid, and I need for my country to not send combat-weary men and women to Iran. Or Syria. Or Turkey. Or [FILL IN THE BLANK].

Barack Obama is a Democrat. We need Democrats. We can negotiate with Democrats.

The Republicans cannot win this election, they can only buy it or steal it.

But they cannot rig a landslide. Now is the time to get out the vote.

Channel your angst, your whining, your “I wish we’d nominated Hillary” superiority, into the next 28 days of getting out the vote for all the Democrats in your state. Believe me, Obama may have disappointed you at the debate, but you have never in your life seen a ground game like this. He believes in organizing communities to participate in democracy, and he’s making sure we have every opportunity to do so, and to help our neighbors do so.

So occupy a f#*king voting booth.

Then meet me in the streets on November 7th.


About meme_ster

Tracking power through language
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7 Responses to The Unbearable Weakness of Our Resolve

  1. Jane says:

    Sing it meme-ster! More working less whinining.

  2. Carol Plummer says:

    Hey, babes. My friend and I watched the debate and didn’t see what the entire world must have. It was not sit on your edge of the seat time, but we saw one guy who interrupted constantly, a very poor moderator who did not enforce his own rules, and a guy (who we will both vote for) who still wants to play nice/say nice to the repubs. Oh, yeah, he was born in Hawaii. We culturally GET that!!

  3. rdphotog says:

    I too saw a different debate from the majority of viewers; I saw a somewhat tired President show us how a good diplomat and negotiator behaves. If not for that other guy, there might have been a substantive debate on the serious matters we’re collectively facing.

  4. Cat McGuire says:

    I for one can’t claim that “Barack Obama is, without question, the best president in my lifetime.” My vote goes to John F. Kennedy.

    For years I disdained Kennedy as a liberal womanizer who got us into Viet Nam. Of late, however, I have been reading extensive history about JFK and have learned a considerably different story.

    Both behind the scenes and publicly (see his extraordinary American University peace address), Kennedy was proactively working to mend ties with Cuba, get the U.S. out of Viet Nam, keep Israel from getting nuclear weaponry, and in cooperation with the Soviets attain worldwide nuclear disarmament.

    For this he was murdered in broad daylight. And as the professional scholarship has thoroughly established, his assassination indisputably was not pulled off by a lone gunman.

    Upon Kennedy’s death, Cuban relations became even chillier, U.S. forces in Viet Nam were immediately increased to heightened proportions, Israel began accumulating the record foreign aid and top ally status that they maintain to this day, and the Cold War with the USSR was racheted up with a vengence. In essence, the U.S. had a coup d’etat by dark forces that took us down a profoundly different path than the peace process John Kennedy was committed to implementing.

    The current all-powerful 1% warmongering agenda is a direct legacy of the JFK assassination. Forever after, all presidents including Obama know that if they dare buck the powers that (shouldn’t) be, assassination is their fate.

    Unfortunately, it’s almost as if to qualify to be the “best president,” you have to be willing to be killed. Anything less means going along with a highly controlled program, one in which leadership operates squarely in the range of non-transformative, lily-livered accomplishments.

    The day Obama takes Kennedy-level risks is the day I’ll agree that he’s the “best president in my lifetime.”

  5. Cat McGuire says:

    According to Ray McGovern, “I know from a good friend who was there when it happened, that at a small dinner with progressive supporters – after these progressive supporters were banging on Obama before the election, Why don’t you do the things we thought you stood for? Obama turned sharply and said, “Don’t you remember what happened to Martin Luther King Jr.?” That’s a quote, and that’s a very revealing quote.”

    • meme_ster says:

      Hmmmmm. Maybe the reason I think he’s the best president is that he is still alive! I will admit that I have a low bar for what’s possible working inside über-patriarchy and some days all I hope for is that Democrats, as pathetic and cowardly and corrupted as they are, will keep the government in an impasse until the inevitable demographic transformation taking place in the US makes a different kind of grassroots change possible. The alternative is a theocracy shilling for global corporama, and we’re too close to that now for my comfort. Seems to me, also, that the CIA isn’t the only entity gunning for Obama. As a constant affront to white supremacy in all its forms, I think his life is on the line every day simply by having the nerve to get elected president and living in that big white house. I get it that you’re disappointed, and I take your point that assassinating Kennedy has proven effective in chastening subsequent presidents. So what now? If you realize they’re going to kill you if you go too far, and you have a desire to work for change anyway, maybe you make the choice to do what you can, incremental though it may be, and try to stay alive to do it. “Moral agency under oppression” and all that stuff we used to talk about in the 80s. That’s about the extent of my optimistic fantasies—truth be told, I’m still in the “if it’s not Dick Cheney, I’m ok” mode

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