Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Finally, the Day arrives... and although many are emotionally exhausted (if not disgusted) by the long campaign, and consider it absurd (if not obscene) that the Presidential candidates have spent in the neighborhood of one billion dollars in their campaigns... there should be a real satisfaction that more Americans than ever are actually engaged in this grand, continuing, experiment in self-government.

188 million citizens (out of a 304 million population, approx. 73% of whom are potentially eligible) are registered to vote in 2008! And, from the Democratic Party's perspective, Chairman Howard Dean's "50-State Strategy" to contest offices in every state, not just strategically elector-rich states, has borne enormous fruit. Barack Obama has taken that initiative and created a tremendous political infrastructure across these United States, one we will need to pull our nation back from the black hole into which the Bush Administration has thrown it.

I pray that our hopes are not crushed this evening by some unexpected turn; I cannot even allow myself to contemplate how we will endure another four years of belligerent, greed-based, theocratic-leaning politics. I cannot imagine how painful it might be if our hopes must give way to despair.

But even when (when!) our nation is lead by President Obama, our individual responsibilities will be far from done. Although the Republicans have been painting Barack Obama as some sort of fiery radical, that speaks more to how far Right the Neo-Cons have taken our government. Obama is clearly a Centrist; you can expect that he will compromise many of the fond dreams of those of us who consider ourselve Progressives, but I'm not sure that that is bad at this juncture in our history. He must try to bring us all together if we are to repair the damage caused by this not-yet finished, venal Administration. That is why, after perhaps a brief holiday, we must get back to work, to expand responsible, personal rights, to re-define national priorities so as to obtain economic and social justice, to make a massive, technological shift in our energy generation and manufacturing methods. All of this hampered by a quagmire of war and staggering economy.

Isn't it time to rest on our laurels? Isn't this why we are electing our Fearless Leader, to do these things for us?? Haven't we suffered enough???

No, that is the lazy way out, and, difficult as it has become in the remains of the Middle Class, on the whole we do not really know what suffering is: there are many in our own nation who are much more at risk, and vulnerable, and beyond our shores... continents of suffering. It is hubris writ large to imagine that we are just struggling to remain alive just for one more day. I remember the early 1970's: the Vietnam War was ended, African-Americans had secured the vote, women's rights were on the march, and saving the environment was all the rage. We'd done our job; put that puppy on autopilot, and enjoy the fruits of our labour!

Ronald Reagan, the "Moral Majority," the Gingrichian "Contract On America," and George Dumbya Bush rose in influence and power how? Because of complacency, because of taking our eyes off of the ball, by being so distracted by the very real issues of living day-to-day and not fostering the liberties and initiatives that had been established by our standard-bearers in the various "Rights" movements. We cannot afford to make the same mistake, cannot become complacent, must be willing to Question Authority and speak Truth to Power each and every day. Even when we don't want to. When it would be easier to go along, or when we're tired and cranky.

Thomas Jefferson told us that "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance," and he was not kidding around. We no longer have the luxury of denial, or to expect that 'Daddy will take care of us.' Let us also remember the words of Robert F. Kennedy from 1961, even more applicable today:

"On this generation of Americans falls the burden of proving to the world that we really mean it when we say all men are created free and are equal before the law. All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity."

Our challenges just begin with voting today; let us take at least one more step toward a more perfect union.


At 5:18 PM, Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

Sorry, but there's NO WAY there can be 184 million NEW registered voters. In 2004, there were 215,694,000 people of voting age, of which 122,295,345 voted. Maybe 184 million total registered.

But the 50-state strategy was right on.

At 5:29 PM, Blogger Uthaclena said...

Quite correct... a bad cut 'n paste job. YOU can always be counted on, dhude! Revised, now..


Post a Comment

<< Home