Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fighting for Our Nation's Future Is Worth Doing

Yes, most Americans hate politics. We hate the noise, the phone calls, the stupid ads and so on. But it's important to remember what we love. We love our families and we want them to thrive. We love that we live in a free country, even if there are people who itch to tell the rest of us what to do (and maybe both sides of the aisle need to think about that).

But we also love our history, flawed so much of it may be. I've talked about my great-grandfather helping to build a community from nothing in the 19th century and how he and his neighbors worked for the common good at times building irrigation canals or other things for themselves and their children. Many of us who are drawn to the power of words love reading the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights or the US Constitution; and we have enormous respect and love for the words of some of our better presidents, the farewell address of Washington, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, his Emancipation Proclamation and so much else that he wrote, Roosevelt's inaugural address that reminds us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, and John Kennedy's inaugural address that inspired so many of us to give back to our country.

Sometimes people act as if belonging to a political party means nothing more than just rooting for the home team or stirring up divisiveness by screaming at the other guy, or they act as if the word 'American' is a label some people get to wear but not others, though they know better. But there are real issues to discuss in our country and it takes at least two political parties to work out the issues in the country. But one party has decided to cut off discussion. One party seems to have forgotten what democracy means though it's a word easily thrown around to justify war.

One party has decided it has all the answers. The rest of us look at Iraq and we don't see those answers. We look at the ruins of Hurricane Katrina and we don't see those answers though we see their photo ops. We look at good paying jobs disappearing overseas and we don't see those answers. We look at the president's energy policy and we don't see those answers. Where are these answers that the president's party says they have? They are not to be found. So many of us are concerned and feel strongly that we need change.

Here's a post by S.W. Anderson of Oh!pinion who comments on the last three elections; I've included an excerpt from his discussion of 2006:
Now in 2006, it’s the same old story. The Iraq war is a bloody, costly debacle that has gone from bad to worse under the direction of the most thoroughly incompetent bunglers to ever control the federal government. Our soldiers are paying the price for their leaders’ wanton stupidity every day, with their blood and their lives. Bad leadership doesn’t get any worse than that.

Everywhere you look in America, there’s ample reason for most Americans to be angrily, actively dissatisfied and more than ready for a complete change of leadership in Washington. They’ve been conned, bilked, cheated and lied to without letup for years, and the results are so outlandishly bad and so painfully obvious that the jig is finally up.

And yet . . . and yet — again! — with no pride, no shame, no guile, even, the neocon Republican scourge is playing the same stupid game. They want us to be very concerned not about our 3,000 needlessly sacrificed troops in their Iraq quagmire, which is now a wide-open, bloody civil war, but instead about whether a Democrat running for the Senate wrote some steamy sex scenes in a novel 20 years ago.

And now here's a post by Mike Bock of Alone on a Limb who imagines a sensible speech by Nancy Pelosi if the Democrats win the House; here's the last paragraph:

The task of government is to lead with wisdom. The huge errors in Iraq and in our economy were the result of politics, the result of a failed democracy -- not the result of objective thinking guided by a profound understanding of the common good. Now that the Democrats have a forum of leadership, we need to demonstrate our commitment to the common good via clear thinking and shared problem solving; we need to structure a thoughtful process that shows no fear of objectivity and truth, and that seeks the best insights and ideas. I am urging the House of Representatives to meet the challenge that I am outlining and to act on this request immediately.

...a thoughtful process that shows no fear of objectivity and truth. Throughout history, there have been great religious thinkers that will tell you that if you face life with strength and courage and without fear, if you look honestly at the world and yourself, you can find your way. The thought of those religious thinkers laid down the foundations of our democracy and the real strength of our nation.

Even if the Democrats win a house, the road ahead is going to be a bumpy one until the current generation of right wing Republicans are thoroughly rejected and the Republican Party rebuilds itself on principles Americans can recognize as part of the real dialogue that has to take place in American discourse. But we should all remember what's worth fighting for in the final days of this election, win or lose.


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