I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!
Disclaimer: I know tensions are running extremely high on this one, so I want to say at the outset, if you choose to comment on this (and I really hope you do), please be respectful. I’ll do my utmost to keep my snark to a minimum (and I know I fuck up a lot) and let’s be productive about this.
First of all, to disappointed Dems in Massachussetts: my condolences. I cannot imagine how it must feel to have a true hero of Kennedy’s stature replaced by a backward-assed Palinite. It must be absolutely awful, and for you I’m sure this is particularly bitter. That being said…
I’ve been watching the explosion of responses on Twitter, Facebook, the whole shebangabang, and I’m finding a common theme:
The voters have given up on the dream, haven’t given Barack Obama enough of a chance, are lazy and weak and don’t believe enough.
I’d like, given my feelings about how much Obama’s really been fighting for progressive (rather than corporatist) values (also here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here- the last one especially important tonight) to propose an alternative: getting Democrats elected is the responsibility of Democratic leadership and good Democratic policy.
I get frustrated with the voters too. Voting for Nader over Gore? Poor choice. Ever voting Republican over Democrat? Poor choice. Not demanding more from our leaders? Poor choice.
But that being said, I can’t blame them or take fault with the voter who feels absolutely disgusted with Democratic progress over the last year. Women see their rights to reproductive freedom dangling by a thread under the best circumstances of health care reform. The LGBTQ(IQ) community sees absolute waffling on their civil rights and pandering to hate-filled Uganda-meddling demagogues. Blacks and Latinos are suffering under a depression, not a recession, and are being disproportionately ignored by the stimulus. The green jobs movement saw our shining star tarred and feathered by the rightists and abandoned by the leftists. The climate movement sees disrespect and a lack of transparency and democratic input at Copenhagen and in all climate legislation being considered. We all see billions thrown at an expanded overseas war and billions thrown at rich bankers (those that aren’t running the treasury) while millions are without work, drowning in desperation. And we see the wholesale giveaway of tens of millions of new customers to health insurance companies slavering at the chance to abuse them, the entrenchment of the very people that caused this mess.
As I have been saying for months, there are many of us who are not frustrated because we can’t appreciate the pace of change, but because we do not approve of the direction. Just look at health care.
At the end of the day it probably comes down to a combination of factors, the most salient of which is almost definitely the economy (not to discount frustration over inability to challenge the real bastions of power). One in ten Americans doesn’t have a job. One in six doesn’t have the job they want. Half of those that do have jobs don’t like em. I think our ideological paradigm is better-equipped to solve that, but I doubt most people give a shit about ideology. They give a shit about opportunity. And I just don’t see how you can blame the voter for feeling like they’ve had opportunity snatched away from them. I know I feel that way, and I’ve got a fantastic job. But I know a lot of people who don’t, and it’s bullshit that I have what they don’t because I got lucky.
I find this contempt for an ambiguous block of ‘voters’ unsurprising but a little disturbing. I will always advocate for the voter doing more to assert themselves democratically. I happen to think an energized, combative, dissenting public is the only way we’re going to get anything done around here. I try and provide leadership in my work and writing. But I just won’t lambast those that feel let down. I mean, where was the outrage when Lieberman made a mockery of ‘our’ 60-seat majority? Where was the ‘where do we go from here?’ then?
But enough about me, what do you think?
ps. reconciliation? end the filibuster? when procedural Senate rules are able to destroy the ability to govern… DC, we got a big honkin problem.