Friday, November 07, 2003
We all feel kicked in the gut. My wife said it was her worst day since her daughter died. Many friends agreed with me that this was worse than 9-11.
My gratitude goes to good friends who, the day after, said, “Keep up the fight.” I was tired and discouraged, and all I wanted to do was give up. Over the course of the week, grief and despair has transformed to rage and bitter determination. The chorus among those who have lost the battle has grown loud and almost unanimous:
“Keep up the fight!”
We don’t know how to fight yet. We’re on uncharted territory. The bad guys have won, and they will have their way for a while. We must resist, we must fight; but we must fight smart. We’ll watch and learn. We’ll pick our spots when and where we can. We are already united in spirit but we must unite in tactics. Better that than the other way around.
The bush administration has more than enough rope to hang itself. The scarey thing is they may hang us all with them. They will be faced with crises of their own making, and I fear we won’t stop them before their idiotic ideology brings us all down.
Many say politics move in cycles; we may be in for a bad one, but the pendulum always swings back the other way. I have two things to say about that:
1) American democracy is a very young and imperfect experiment. The fact that we have always managed to rebound in our short history is no guarantee that we will indefinitely.
2) Nature is oblivious to political cycles. The polar ice caps are melting; the ocean is rising; global warming is upon us. Yet we continue to fuel the fire. Climate change threatens to be a crisis that will dwarf all our petty human squabbles. Time is a-wastin’ and the one thing we don’t have is time. Bush fiddles while Rome burns.
I’m reminded of Watergate. In the snapshot of our memory, Watergate looks like this: Nixon’s secret police force got caught breaking into Democratic headquarters, there were some spectacular hearings, we threw the bastards out. In reality, it was touch and go. The Watergate story had already broken before the Nixon/McGovern election. Nobody cared. Nixon won in a landslide. The hearings brought out a barrage of shocking revelations for a year, yet Nixon’s approval rating stayed above 50% until the very last weeks, when his entire house of cards collapsed.
It’s useful to remember that now. People are slow to recognize facts. The media is cowed. We need reporters like Woodward & Bernstein to dig tenaciously. We need a courageous publisher like Ben Bradlee to put his reputation, career, and publication on the line in order to expose the truth.
The truth is more available and less available than ever. The vast base of information we can access from the internet is a miracle. However, mainstream media is at best an anesthetic, and at worst a vicious propoganda machine.
What to do? Stay informed. Demand honesty and accountability from your news sources. Arm yourself with information so when the opportunity to affect change presents itself, you will be ready to fight smart.
Stay hopeful. Stay loving. Stay engaged.
Keep up the fight.
November 8, 2004