October 24, 2006

Backbone

By the way, if you haven't been watching Keith Olbermann lately, you've been missing the absolutely amazing re-emergence of a spine in the Fourth Estate. Yesterday evening's "Special Comment" was something not to be missed. Watch it - and then get a friend to watch it, too - here.

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Underwhelmed

Whew! While it's energizing and satisfying to be in the thick of some fine video campaigns for some excellent candidates and causes, it feels like I've been away from this site a thousand years. Truth be told, I haven't had much to add to the unwitting - and transparent - farce that the Ruling Party has become, all on its own, day after relentless day.

And I guess I just didn't want to outshine the stirring, clear voices of the majority of our Democratic "representatives" either, who once again (and I say this from the inside) have decided on a pointlessly timid, relatively disjointed, virtually invisible approach to the upcoming elections, instead of seizing upon this revealing rash of cracks in the GOP's facade and lighting a fire under America's collective ass.

Quite honestly, in spite of all the "predictions" and "leanings" and "indicators" of Democratic victories come November 7th, I'm feeling more and more underwhelmed the closer we come to election day. Sure, I intellectually grasp the necessity of "first steps" - and when the stakes involve halting a theocratic dictatorship before it does any more damage to the planet and its inhabitants, Democratic control of one or both Congressional houses is the last chance for our democracy's very survival.

Which is why I'll undoubtedly grit my teeth and cast a vote here in the Garden State for Bob Menendez instead of the odious alternative, Bush-supporter Tom Kean, Jr. You know - practicality. Political necessity. Party equity. Checks and balances. And that "choice" makes me want to retch.

Because what America genuinely needs right now is (with a handful of notable exceptions) a complete purge. A clean sweep. "T'row all da bums outta dere," elephant and jackass alike.

I mean, good God, Menendez voted for the Military Commissions Act - and he wasn't the only Democrat to do so. Can I really give my support, my vote, to an individual who could sell out America's most fundamental tenets to avoid a few attack ads from his October campaign opponent? Does this mean that I, too, have to side with strategy over conscience in deference to the "bigger picture"? Is this kind of Hobson's choice all that is left to us in America, the mere illusion of true and principled and courageous representation in the halls of power?

Sadly, the answer to that last question seems to be "yes."

Shift your gaze to the Left Coast for a moment, and the picture is no less infuriating. There, Nancy Pelosi has, for at least the second time this year, pledged that "impeachment is off the table" should she become the new House Speaker. And all I can say is that if that's her position, Democrats had better find someone else for the job.

Let's face it, kids, there hasn't been an Administration in my lifetime - one which, I'll admit, stretches back to the Eisenhower years - that deserves impeachment more than the Bush gang. And while I understand that Nancy doesn't want voters to think a Democratic Congress would simply become obsessed with petty, personal revenge, her real task should be more effectively convincing the American public that an impeachment agenda isn't about "revenge" at all.

Instead she's been quashing the topic altogether for some time now, even muzzling those few Dems with the courage to believe it's the only sensible way to protect what's left of our country.

To dismiss out of hand this vital step toward curing the neo-con cancer that's infested our government, is to ignore the simple truth at the heart of Republican excesses for the past six years - that lack of accountability fosters rampant corruption and despotism among those who operate with impunity. Impeachment for this bunch is not about vengeance. It's about non-partisan justice. Pure and simple.

And if Pelosi can't make that distinction, and is afraid to make this one of Congress' domestic priorities as early as November 8th, then she and her backers represent the will of the people no better than Denny Hastert represents the best interests of underage boys. For starters, Nancy, maybe you should read this open letter, written six months ago for Chrissakes, on the importance of holding the Ruling Party liable for its demonstrable crimes.

There simply must be a demand for accountability from those responsible for the shameful state of our union. Without it, how is there any real possibility of moving forward? How can the American people be expected to regain faith in the inherent fairness of our system? How is there any tangible difference between the (D)s and the (R)s?

My Lord, "we the people" are subject to swift and harsh justice for holding a lit cigarette in the wrong place and time. We face ruin for an inadvertent mistake on our 1040s. We can lose our jobs over a careless, sexually-charged remark, or be sent to prison for having a joint in our own homes. Given the comparative magnitude of what this White House and Congress have done, they should be tarred, feathered, waterboarded, disemboweled, and drawn and quartered on live TV.

In that sense, impeachment demonstrates the height of bleeding-heart Liberal restraint.

So, yes, I'll dutifully vote for candidates whose party affiliation will shift the balance of power in Washington, at least on paper, and I urge everyone to do the same. If nothing else, it is the last step available to us to slow America's backward slide toward tyranny. And maybe, once we've established a two-party government again, we'll have the luxury of weeding out those Bush-enablers who've hidden behind a Progressive label.

But if Democrats continue on their present path; if they fail to vocally oppose the egregious assaults on our fundamental freedoms for fear of bad publicity; if they shrink from their duty to punish the blatantly obvious wrongdoings of their Congressional peers; if their conduct is governed solely by pandering and PR, then we truly have no representation in Washington, no matter which political puppetmaster controls the strings.

The only option after that is revolution. Let's hope Democrats like Menendez and Pelosi remember that fact, if we give them the chance in two weeks to make things right.

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