That's right -- you can stop looking around. I'm talking to YOU.
Republican, Democrat, Green, Independent, I don't care. Your country needs you to answer the call.
A call to arms, you ask? No, no...the call to serve in public office.
I know, I know - "Eww," you say, decent upstanding citizen that you are, "I couldn't do it. Soil my pristine soul shaking hands with those slimebags? Never. I'll leave that to the manipulators, weasels, and corrupt dirtbags of the world."
Fine. I hear you. It's something I said for years and years and years until I really started thinking about what that attitude has bought me thusfar, and where it will leave us 50 years from now (with a special thanks to Kate Coyne-McCoy of Emily's List for opening my eyes in that regard). Now I charge you to think about it.
If only the palm-greasers and back scratchers run for office, what kind of government will we have?
We deserve better don't you think?
Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives Gaye Symington said something very wise at this year's State Democratic Convention and I am paraphrasing her loosely here (if anyone has the exact words she used, please forward them on to me) - she said, "Do not trust your democracy only into the hands of those who are naturally drawn to politics."
Look at what doing so for the past 25 years has bought us, especially at the national level. Vice, graft, divisivness, hypocrisy - enough already! Haven't you had enough? I know I have.
We do not need any more career politicians, movie stars, and billionaire playboys running for office. What we need are more nurses and firemen, day care providers and teachers, stay-at-home parents and construction workers, and (dammit!) ordinary Janes and Joes. People who have been out there living life, up to their elbows in the muck of reality struggling to make ends meet, whose life choices and decisions have been centered around supporting their family and their community, not on what would be most politically expedient or financially rewarding.
If all of us regular Joes and Janes get involved -- serve on the school board or run for the Senate, it matters not -- then regardless of Party affiliation, we'll end up with a government worthy of our attention and loyalty (and the world's respect) once again. It IS possible. But only if you become the change you wish to see in the world around you -- you set the tone and, if the fire is in your belly, lead the charge so that others like you can follow.
Calling Mr. (or Ms.) Smith. Like it or not, Washington needs you.
"Just get up off the ground, that's all I ask. Get up there with that lady that's up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won't just see scenery; you'll see the whole parade of what Man's carved out for himself, after centuries of fighting. Fighting for something better than just jungle law, fighting so's he can stand on his own two feet, free and decent, like he was created, no matter what his race, color, or creed. That's what you'd see. There's no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties. Great principles don't get lost once they come to light. They're right here; you just have to see them again!" -- Jefferson Smith, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
"Are you okay?" a well-meaning Republican friend asked me in a recent email.
I'm almost afraid to reply right now for fear of the pure unadulterated vitriol which would no doubt issue forth.
I am definitely NOT okay today.
I've been in tears of frustration and sadness off and on all day.
Even *Tom DeLay* won -- one of the most unabashed corrupt partisans in our government's history. And he won courtesy of his own malfeasance and deception. And no one can do a damn thing about it. The man should be *impeached*. And there is nothing we can do about it.
I really should stop.
I'm just so, so, so very hurt and angry and sad right now.
The feeling people like me get from those who voted for Bush, especially social conservatives who favor an authoritarian "strict father" form of leadership, is that this is "their" America, and in their opinion, those of us who want a "nurturing parent" government -- where tolerance and fairness, peace and diversity matter more than authority and strength and consistency-to- the-point-of-foolishness -- don't belong here and should move if we don't like having intrusive fear-based right-wing policy and religion shoved down our throats.
I've even gotten nudges like that from Republican family and friends at times, and it hurt. A lot.
Y'know, this is MY COUNTRY TOO. I love it and I AM a patriot and no one will ever tell me I am not. And I don't want to have to leave it just to get *basic* basic things like affordable health care, a clean environment, and a fiscally responsible government that doesn't practice corporate welfare in the form of HUGE tax cuts to big businesses and the wealthiest 1% of the population while throwing $300 'candy bar' refunds to the rest of us. Meanwhile college tuition goes up $5000, gas prices skyrocket, and health care costs soar (and benefits are cut).
Where is that $300 now, Republican friends?
What happened to the America we were raised in?
An America where *all* faiths (or no faith at
all!) were welcomed, respected, and protected, with not even so much as a hint of preference or favoritism given to one over the others.
What happened to the concept of American world leadership -- where we always took the high road...set the tone...were the shining example of restraint and democratic fairness the rest of the world sought to emulate?
What happened to "liberty and justice for all"? Because I don't think this Administration embraces that. I think they only want liberty and justice for some...usually those who think like they do.
Now we are laughingstocks and buffoons, even in the eyes of nations who were once our most loyal friends.
And what ever happened to the notion of a God who loves *all* of us -- who is above petty earthly politics -- and who wants us to reach out to each other in a spirit of peace and brotherhood?
Whatever happened to ALL Christians understanding the meaning of "love your enemies"?
Why do so many conservative Christians seem to verge on denying that Jesus even said it in their fervor to embrace the Old Testament God of wrath and vengeance. Oh but let's not go so far as to also embrace polygamy...for some reason even though one could cite chapter and verse from the OT to justify it, polygamy is "not OK" except in some of the fringe elements of the Mormon church.
Y'know, I could almost stomach that if the people who want to pick and choose anti-gay and anti-feminist dogma from Leviticus, etc. could just stand up and say they're picking and choosing rather than insisting that their version of "what matters and what doesn't and how it applies to us here today" is the ONE TRUE version ... and everyone else is going to burn, burn, BURN in Hell for all eternity.
That is not a God I could ever worship.
If God is, as so many devout conservative Christians have often insisted, the definition of Love, of Compassion, of Forgiveness...then there is no room in there for one select group to be The Only Ones Who Got It Right. That's not loving or compassionate.
I probably should have stopped writing long ago, but this is what's been building up inside me for months now.
Pardon my catharsis.
I think one of the things I despise most about Bush is that he has separated me from my best friend and from my own brother with his smug, arrogant "If you ain't with me...well, yer wrong!" attitude.
Bush is not a uniter, he IS a divider.
I weep for this nation and for the world. I cringe at the thought of what Bush's first Supreme Court appointment will be.
And, odd though it may seem, I pray for the health and healing of Justice Rehnquist, for I truly fear his replacement will make him look like a latte-sipping liberal atheist.
I'm not sure where this leaves us. I don't anticipate that my feelings about Bush (that he is a corrupt ideologue -- a fake Christian and a child of privilege who has had everything handed to him without ever really knowing what it means to serve others...or to be in danger or in want...and worst of all he is a lying moron incompetent to run even a baseball team, let alone a superpower nation) will ever change.
I miss having respectful discussions with friends on the other side of the political fence...discussions where we always knew, at the end of the day, that we were equally American, equally patriotic, equally loyal, and equally loved by God. I want to have those discussions again.
I just cannot promise I'll be able to remain silent about what is going on in our government. This is my country too, and I am afraid of what is happening to it.
Even staunch Republicans I know have acknowledged that there needs to be balance -- now we're going to have 8 years in a row of Republican domination of ALL THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT. There ARE NO CHECKS AND BALANCES anymore, and I fear we are in for a disastrous dispensationalist-driven MAJOR war in the Middle East on top of a depression that will make 1931 look like the Golden Age of American finance.
Half of America doesn't think like Bush. But by God he's going to continue to govern as if it does.
And the level of seething resentment I and others like me feel in response to that is not going to go away unless he makes some MAJOR changes to the way he's been governing.
Let's not forget, however, that Bush is Mr. Steady Leadership so... don't anyone hold their breath on that one.
Dean in 2008. Because HE understands that this land is your land AND my land...and wants us ALL to know we have a home here.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
This being my maiden voyage into the blogosphere as a blogger rather than one who comments on other blogs, I'm somewhat at a loss for words. (blush) Be gentle. I'll come up with something more substantive after the Red Sox have won the WS, and Kerry has won the election. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm just not in spitting distance of it quite yet.