Anyone who has been reading "Comng to Terms..." since the old days (and I know there are not many of you left out there...) remembers that I was known to post a political rant or two. I haven't been sharing my political views here, lately, as I have been writing for a political blog as well as posting my personal stuff here. I wrote the piece that follows for "The Blue Voice." But I think it's worthy of being shared here in j-land. Because I would like you all to start thinking about the mid-term elections coming up in November...
I read an editorial the other day that explained how the "high ideals" that the GOP embraced with a flag-waving flourish around the time of Bush’s second inaugural have run smack into the realities of culture wars and protectionism. Yes….it sounded wonderful, back in January of 2004, to shout that the United States of America was ready and willing to carry the banner of freedom and democracy to the world. A couple of pesky roadblocks sprang up along the way. Like that the objects of our crusade failed to throw open their doors, fling off the chains of thousands of years of cherished customs, and embrace our Western ideal of the highest form of human government. And that our own leaders were so busy "spreading democracy" across the world that they forgot to nurture and support it inside our own borders. As if there is a finite supply of freedom, and for every ounce we bestow upon someone else, we lose an ounce of our own.
To the GOP, idealism seemed a handy tool to make their wealth and power-driven agenda palatable to the American people. Unfortunately, the GOP lacks recent experience with concepts such as the good of mankind and universal understanding. They had no idea where those ideals actually come from, nor how to control them. High ideals are meant to give birth to an agenda, not to be manipulated after the fact to conceal one.
Ideals have to be anchored in reality, or they get so high, they are out of reach. The GOP hadn’t a clue that there has to be some connection between lofty, abstract creeds and the guy sitting next to you at the lunch counter. Leaders like FDR, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, and even Bill Clinton, understood this. That you can’t just stand behind the podium, point to the sky and proselytize. That at the end of the day, you had to climb down off the dais, sit down and share a meal with the folks you meant to lead to that higher plain. You take your direction from the people. You need to know what they care about. You need to care that where they want you to lead them will be a better place for them—economically and practically, in their everyday lives—as well as a loftier plain for mankind in general. You need to understand what they are willing to sacrifice, and what results they expect. That’s how you get them to follow. That’s how you change the world. The Republicans, in their headlong rush to stockpile as much power and money as possible while their foot was in the door, understood only that their time on top was most likely limited. They could not spare a single second to listen to the people. Certainly not the Iraqi people. Nor even the American people. At least, not the ones lower on the food chain than, say, corporate executives.
Now, that idealistic Tower of Babel constructed to hide the GOP’s selfish, materialistic, xenophobic truth, has begun to crack and fall. Leaving the stark the image of a party whose real credo is "Build wealth, protect wealth" laid bare for all the world to see. The people—the American people, the Iraqi people, the people of the world—are beginning to take stock of the sacrifices they’ve been asked to make, and the results they have been cajoled to embrace, and two and two are adding up to zero. And now, now they’re casting about for a better answer. Who can blame them? And who is going to step into the vacuum and provide the leadership we so desperately need?