Concerto for blunt instrument

An irregular heartbeat from d.o. to you. Not like a daily kos, more like a sometime sloth. Fast relief from the symptoms of blogarrhea and predicated on the understanding that the world is not a stage for our actions, rather it is a living organism upon which we depend for our existence.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Scrooge in the White House - mean spirit rules the land

"I wear the chain I forged in life,' replied the Ghost. 'I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it… My spirit never walked beyond our counting house -- mark me! ………Business! Mankind was my business!"
- Jacob Marley’s ghost, Charles Dickens' "Christmas Carol in Prose".

This holiday season, with resurgent Repugnicans on the loose and every historic policy forged with New Deal goodwill falling to the belligerent axe of the neo-cons, we are hard-pressed to find something to celebrate. For all appearances it seems the denizens of the far right have stolen another presidential election and their alleged opponents have rolled over like so many spineless minions of the status quo. Worse, countless numbers of so-called progressive activists, far to the left of the squishy Dems, remain dazed and confused about what to do (the ghost of Elections Past) while their adversary’s walk away with all the ill-gained power. Mankind is the business of these progressives, but they seem to be out to lunch.

Pro-democracy demonstrations and protests over the tens of thousands of voting irregularities in Ohio, Florida and elsewhere draw mere hundreds of participants across the nation, while armies of rightwing operatives toast to their dirty tricks and business-as-usual. It’s as if a gigantic dark cloud has swept over the "Land of the Free".

Let me take this opportunity to remind my fellow activists that caving in to the Repugnicans qualifies one as an enabler. The Scrooges of this world will never see the light of day if their fellow citizens allow themselves to be doormats. The character of Bob Crachet, the classic nice guy in Dickens' "Christmas Carol", would have spent the rest of his days under the boot had it not been for the "ghosts" of Scrooge’s conscience. Such ghosts do not arise from nowhere; creative forces must conjure them up. Charles Dickens, old-school liberal of the Enlightenment, knew this and in his work often chided his fellow citizens for their lack of courage in confronting the demons of selfishness and greed. Indeed, the writer held up those very traits to public scrutiny, exposing them for their shortcomings and destructiveness, making a mockery of avarice and self-indulgence. The rightwing does not have a monopoly on morals and values. In fact, their policies belie a failing of moral fortitude. Their so-called values are built on a clay foundation of selfishness and disregard for their neighbors.

Like Dickens, it is our duty as enlightened citizens to haunt the oppressors among us, to force them into seeing the light of day and the error of their ways. Not to do so, to remain the enabler, will only perpetuate the darkness. What better way to start the New Year than to haunt the Bush regime, mercilessly?

Monday, December 06, 2004

The distance to resistance

Given that the forces of darkness have again taken over the U.S. government; given that the Bush regime and its supporters have chosen to literally rule the world; that it invades other nations at will and bullies other people into kneeling before its golden throne; given that the tattered remains of democracy here at home may well be stamped out entirely in the next four years, wouldn't you think the streets would be ringing with protest?

How is it that college auditoriums and community meeting rooms in progressive communities around the U.S. fill to capacity when some high-profile speakers come to town, but only a handful of people turn out on Main Street to demonstrate for progressive issues? Are those missing in action waiting for things to get worse? Are they waiting for the last straw, that critical mass? What final heinous outrage will bring them to their feet? Or is it that public displays of protest or action no longer, or never did, work for the absent activists? Has something changed in the theater of public affairs? The last time this observer looked, corrupt and immoral regimes were still brought down by masses of people fed up with business as usual, seldom if ever by symposiums and speeches alone.

The worlds most recent example of citizens taking to the streets to reclaim their government appears to be in the Ukraine. Over there a highly flawed election has resulted not only in outraged mass public reaction, but also in condemnation by international observers such as U.S. Senator Richard Lugar. The Republican senator said he did not like what he saw in that nation's presidential runoff election. We have not read any such statements from Lugar concerning our own recent elections, even though some internationals observers expressed similar sentiments.

But congressional slaves to the status quo aside, how is it that the highly flawed U.S. presidential election, replete with examples of disenfranchisement, voter suppression, miscounts, breakdowns and errors in voting machines, and seemingly endless irregularities, has yet to stir this nation?

A pro-democracy demonstration in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend, called in advance of a hard fought for recount, drew only 1,500 people. Why are the streets so quiet? Are activists waiting for the corporate media to finally report on the vote fraud in Ohio, Florida, or New Mexico? Are they waiting for the results of the recounts? Suppose those recounts are stalled in the courts long after the contested election deadlines or the meeting of the so-called Electoral College on December 13? Suppose several months from now, after various recounts have been performed and any number of vote fraud scenarios are proven, it is revealed that George W. Bush did not win the election; will the streets in the U.S. then come alive with protest then? If the present atmosphere of lethargy is any indication, such events seem frightfully unlikely. Wake up people!

In 1786 the people of Western Massachusetts rose up in protest to the disenfranchisement and inequities suffered under the rule of wealthy ruling class in Boston. Their rebellion, named after Captain Daniel Shays, shook the region and the nation. Shays Rebellion led to the creation of the U.S. Constitution, yet it remains nearly forgotten history in mainstream America today. One can only wonder if so-called progressives in this nation, not to mention the minions of the Democratic Party, have also forgotten that powerful legacy. They forget at their peril. Where are the Shaysites when we need them?