Have you had it with the Democratic Party? Are you sick and tired of the lily-livered "compromises" that strip away any breath of Progressivism from bills and laws debated and passed by Congress? Are you ready to "sit-out" the next election to "teach them a lesson"? Yeah, I know -- I feel that way, too! I tell myself, "They're not getting another dime from me!" "No more doorbelling; screw the phone banks; voter registration -- who's voting for these losers?" "They can just whistle for support; llke I'm whistling for that oft-promised 'Change' I can believe in!"
But then I look at my Drivers License and remind myself that I'm not two years old anymore -- and, as an adult, temper tantrums, stubbornness, storming off, and holding my breath are incredibly ineffective tools for resolving real-world grown-up problems.
Then I put on my "grown up hat" (which has been wadded up, stomped on, and thrown in the corner!) and consider the meaning of democracy, activism, citizenship, and self-responsibility ... and I remember my mom's advice when I was in the throes of a momentary childish anger; threatening all manner of short-term retribution that would provide me with momentary satisfaction and do long-term damage. She would say, "Well, you could always take your dollies and go home. Just be sure you don't cut off your nose to spite your face."
Lately, we are hearing Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, and Independents saying, "I contributed to him, doorbelled for him, phone-banked for him, voted for him, and wept when he won." "I believed in 'The Audacity of Hope'." "I thought this guy was different." "Never again." "I'll stay home next year." "I'll vote for the third party candidate."
To these people, I would say, "Now let's not cut off our noses to spite our faces. Let's not take our votes and go home." In this crazy, fractious, argumentative, exciting and wonderful country we call ours, change has never been easy -- or rapid. In the days of the Continental Congress, Abigail Adams petitoned her husband, John, for women's rights. In the decades after the Civil War, Suffragettes set aside their campaign for womens' voting rights in favor of voting rights for recently-freed (male) slaves. Women finally won full voting rights in 1921. Abigail would be so proud!
Before we decide to "take our toys and go home", consider the long-term effect of a weakened Democratic President, and a diminished Congressional majority. Consider the havoc that can be wreaked by an emboldened Corporatist Republican Party.
And, most of all, remember Democracy is not a spectator sport; activism doesn't stop the day after the election; we must not hang up our passion with our campaign signs; our Government IS "We the People" -- and it is up to every single one of us to suit up, show up, and hold our elected officials' feet to the fire when they break campaign promises and/or work against the best interests of "We the People".
If we don't like our electoral choices, it is our job to recruit and support a primary challenger. Whether or not we score a Primary upset, the \competition will help move the eventual candidates in a different direction ... a direction that "We the People" have influenced. Now, that is Democracy in action! In fact, just this past weekend, Ben Nelson (D-Ne) withdrew his demand for perpetual Medicaid funding in his state -- we shouted so loudly, he actually heard us and was shamed into doing the right thing! Democracy works! ...And we must never stop shouting!
In his Innaugural Address, President Obama told us to "pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin the work of re-making America". As we all know, the mess we are in has been in the making for 30 years or more; merely accelerating in the past eight, and will not be cured in days, or weeks, or months -- or even a short span of years -- and the burden cannot rest on the shoulders on only one man -- or even 535 pairs of Congressional shoulders! The burden rests on all of us.
This is THE marathon; the big race that will define the future of our country -- the race that really counts. Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work of fixing and re-making our country? Are you ready to commit every spare minute and resource to the job ahead? Are you ready to suit up, show up and save our country from blowing up? I am! Let's go!
PCO DES 33-2625