Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Did K Street set us free?

Things are bad. When are we going to catch on? More and more of us are - catching on to something.

What is it that we fasten onto? We have all sorts of drowning going on - in debt, in malaise, in anger... and we fasten on to something we reach for something that provides some hope.

Some have fastened onto a black and white faith that gives simple answers while it supports the current system. As long as there's someone to hate, someone to blame, and someone to tell you with full sincerity that they know what the answer is, people will latch on.

Some have fastened onto political ideology. A secular faith (secular, except when part of the religious reich) which gives us some answers. The left as well as the right do this. If only we can get the majorities. If only we elect the right ones. If only... if only...

Some have had their faith dashed. The megachurch with the grinning formerly closeted fag at the helm. The macho scared male suburbanite with a football team and a tough man president who never loses. He's been losing a lot lately, hasn't he?

The Kossaks and so many others - these kids. I remember being politically active at 24. I was hella active. I loved it - and I thought things were great and big and never more important and we were gonna do it (ok, we lost a lot) but I see these kids now, and they don't remember Reagan. Hell - you got ten years to become aware, and 8 years of Clinton and 6 years of Cheney and you're 24 years old. And it was a loong time since the Democrats had Congress, and frankly, from what I remember, those Congresses weren't the same kind of Democrats. But maybe I'm forgetting - what kind of firebrands they had back then.

So a new Democratic majority in the House. So a feeling of politics mattering. I can see it in some ways - a progressive movement - and I can also see the sellout politics of the DLC and the other corporate Dems - and I wonder if the faith in the new Democratic majorities will soon be dashed.

I was a Naderite in 2000. And I was a WTO protester in 1999. And I formed a union in 1993, and was a Wobbly. I had and have a profound distrust of many structures of power. The Nader critique was a good one - because Bush-the-candidate and Gore-the-candidate weren't that far apart. Al Gore v 2.000 was the crappy southern stiff insider who was flogging his DLC crap. He was into oil in South America, he was death-penalty, he was good for business. His internationalism - and that we cry for that, for the good old days when we weren't unilateralists and instead the US and Western Europe and Japan (a bit) were all holding hands together (as we sucked the third world dry...) - things are so bad that this seems to be the bright and shining path... anyways, Gore was all those things. And Bush seemed like a mix between Dole's boring corporate stuff and Gingrich (but dumber) with a smallish dash of Robertson, and he didn't seem to be the monster.

Perhaps DeLay and Abramoff and Santorum and Grover did us a K Street favor. Maybe they were so good at sucking the corporate power into their machine that they lost some of their hold on the Democrats. Maybe we will be able to talk about things that challange - if not the system, at least the gains the rich and richer have made in the last few years. Maybe we'll be able to stop a war, maybe we'll be able to make some changes in the better. Mounting a better defense is very do-able; going on the attack (subpoena power, anyone) would be even better. Maybe the hand that fed the old Democrats has stopped feeding to the point where it can get bit.

So I am not fastening onto the new House majority. I will have to give them some room, and maybe do some trying to hold accountable (if they do some good accountablity holding themselves, it will be very nice.) I would like to have faith - but I'll wait to see some proof.

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