Chat Fragment

00:00:00 (michael): Is there any way to go to sleep until next Wednesday?
00:00:17 (me): That’s when hell begins, my friend.
00:00:38 (michael): ‘fraid you’re right. But at least it’s a start. :-)
00:04:31 (me): that stuff about what the Right is going to do to Kerry poisons even my hope of his victory.
00:05:02 (michael): Yeah. It’s grim. Really, really grim.
00:05:22 (me): we’re not out of the woods yet.
00:05:40 (me): and winning a victory in an election will not get us out of the woods.
00:06:17 (michael): True dat. We’ve got a long way to go.
00:07:31 (me): you know, a while ago I had this insight that I didn’t know what to do with so I let go of it, and that was that the structure of elections — big fights, winner take all — was essentially opposed to what liberalism is really all about. Despite democracy being essentially liberal, elections are not, at least in anything like their current form.
00:07:48 (me): I think that the grim future we’re foreseeing is an illustration of that fact.
00:08:59 (michael): Yeah… not the way we’re doing things.
00:10:39 (me): on the other hand, I think important things are taking place in parallel to the election.

You don’t ever really win by making people do things the way you want. You only really win by getting other people on your side, coming together in dialogue, honestly working together. I think Kerry is going to win. But the reason that is not going to make everything all better is that the fight is still going on, and when there is a fight going on, then the people who approve of fighting are winning, and the people who love peace are losing. Even if the people they support are “winning” the fight.

Essentially peaceful, decent people are always going to be worse fighters. They’ll only ever “win” when winning is understood in a broader context than “kicking the other guy’s butt.”

We’ll only really have a decent nation when a jerk like Bush not only loses an election, but would never have a chance of winning it in the first place. We are not there yet. We have a long way to go.

I Prohibit It

You — yes you — are not allowed to say another damn thing about Kerry until you sit down and read the Rude Pundit’s endorsement of Kerry (via Michael Berube via PuddingBlogmarks).

You are not allowed to say another word about Kerry without thinking about facing down Nixon, facing down Reagan, facing down Bush I, and what kind of a person it took to do that.

The fact that we are not hearing about that stuff from the Kerry campaign shows just how damaged our political world is — the people running the Kerry campaign don’t dare bring up the times Kerry faced down corruption, rottenness, and pure evil in the form of former Republican presidents and their thugs, because people like those former Rethuglican presidents too much. They fondly remember the nuclear brinkmanship and raving, delusional, McCarthyesque anti-Red paranoia of Ronald Reagan. They think of Nixon not as a crook but as an elder statesman. They think of Bush I not as a creepy ex-spymaster who engineered Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait through duplicitous diplomacy (April Glaspie) in order to create a convenient excuse for a nice little war in the Middle East, but as a sane, wise statesman. They forget the history of Republicans busting the budget and accusing Democrats of fiscal responsibility, of shredding safety nets and making America a worse place for anyone who’s not rich to live, of massive deregulation leading to corruption and malfeasance and a degradation of the country’s business climate… After all, the Republicans want to cut taxes for the rich and make everyone rich, right? So we can’t say bad things about them…

And to be honest, Bush II does make his father, Reagan, and Nixon look like Franklin Delano Freaking Roosevelt in comparson, he’s so over the top.

But the whole thing is sad. Kerry isn’t “good enough,” he’s not a “barely adequate alternative.” He’s a great candidate, a great statesman, a great man.

But the Democrats are too fearful and weak and cowed to even speak of the best things Kerry has ever done.

That’s the kind of sickening world we’ve created.