Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Unvarnished Truth

Events of the past few months have made one thing pretty evident to me. I'm not sure what to do about it, other than either co-opt, or work from the inside out.

Or perhaps foment revolt.

None of those is a particularly palatable choice, in my opinion.

I don't consider myself an idealist, by any stretch of the imagination. I find some of the idealists I read on blogs and in comments...quaint. Naifs who mutter dramatic change is in the wind, forgetting the simplest truths about politics.

We have what we wanted, but our deepest suspicions are being realized: the Democrats are only slightly more interested in our welfare and opinions as the Republicans. This was, of course, not unexpected. Power corrupts, and money is power, so in order to keep one's addiction to power intact, one must keep the money flow intact.

Benign tyranny is tyranny nonetheless, and while I might make a wonderful benevolent dictator, the simple fact is, unless the people are involved and engaged in the decisions of their government, unless they can believe that their voice is heard and making a difference, then the social contract with government is lost.

Third party politics may be ripe for taking serious bites out of the mandate of the current two parties, but analyses of history show that third parties, with one exception, fall woefully short of the mark.

The sole exception? The current Republican party, which arose to oppose the expansion of slavery into the Kansas territories, but who never really united as a unified party until 1896, despite electing President after President (Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, McKinley, interrupted only by Grover Cleveland...does that scenario sound familiar?). Republicans absorbed the Whigs, who were deeply divided over the slavery question, thus morphing a fractious coalition of people whose only common ground was a hatred of Andrew Jackson's imperialist treatment during his tenure in the White House (again, sounds familiar), said fervor dying on the vine.

All this swirls in the background like a dust devil at a duel. The matter at hand is, what to do about the Democrats?

I'm angry. I'm angry at the war vote. I see no good excuse for not forcing Bush's hand, at least a little bit. I see no good excuse for not at least trying to staunch the flow of the blood of young Americans as quickly as politically possible, if not humanly possible.

I see no good excuse why there's not at least the serious hint of impeachment talk floating around DC. I see a lot of posing about accountability. I see a path to the 2008 election, and that path can go one of two ways: either reveal the true depths of the corruption of this administration, and win the Presidency (but lose the facility to indulge yourself in the same spoils of victory), or ignore it except as a de facto totem of Republican cronyism to tar the next candidate with, and win the Presidency.

But lose on principle.

I'm angry that not a peep about investigating the 2004 election (nevermind the 2000 election), aside from the occasional press release from Congressman Conyers office, has been raised. This is a lot more important than even the US attorney scandal, which at best is a warping of questionable Constitutional authority: this strikes deep at the very heart of our democracy. One man or woman, one vote.

I'm angry that oil executives from across the country aren't being hauled in front of a Congressional committee to explain why gas prices are so high. Are we conducting legislative business on the Today Show?

Mostly, I'm angry that the Democrats aren't baring teeth, and my suspicions grow daily, the more and more they gum their prey.

I've been a lifelong (literally. I worked on the Humphrey/Muskie campaign in sixth grade) Democrat, and while my opinions have changed, and my take on reality has matured, and I've gained an appreciation regarding compromise and realpolitiks, I've never held anything less than regard for the ideals of the party: that people matter, that business is a dangerous wolf at the door most of the time and that we need to be protected from that, as well as other insidious creations of the Republican right, like blurred church-state separations.

I want to believe, despite the fact that it gets harder and harder to believe. The evidence in front of my eyes grows daily. I want to believe that there's some soopersekrit plan to take back America by the Democrats, that they'll resist the Siren call of campaign money, of power, and rule wisely. I want to believe that all of us can do well again, as we did under Bill Clinton.

Mostly, I want my country back.