"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Friday, August 03, 2007

elections 2008: how to get a Democrat in office

don't want this to happen again? then we better rethink our voting strategy...

i try to stay out of formal politics as much as i can, and stick more to the immediacy of local grassroots organizing and community-building (that, to me, is where true democracy lives and breeds).

however, as an activist and as someone who would like to see significant progress made in my lifetime, i concede that we (the people) need help from those in more obvious states of power - the policy-makers, office-holders, our leaders and representatives in Washington - before we can realize progress.

and unfortunately, because of the sheer extremes the current administration has brought us to (widespread hatred for America and Americans, an international image of callous cowboy bravado), many - including myself - have decided that the only way to right our course is to elect a Democrat into office in 2008.

indeed, many activists have been working hard in the past years to build grassroots campaigns for Democrat candidates. in Ohio, recent election of Governor Strickland over Blackwell was seen as a huge win for the left. all over the nation, we are seeking a balance to the current administration by plugging in Democrats in every office imaginable.

so obviously, a lot is resting on the spot for Democratic candidate for President in 2008. and though i would LOVE to see either Barack Obama or Hilary Clinton make the ballot, i also have my reservations.

unfortunately, democracy in America is far more theory than practice: it's not "a government for the people, by the people," so much as a spectacle for the people to gawk and laugh at. (an emphasis on the idea of "spectacle" - we are not participating so much as we are watching.)

let's not forget that even if election by popular vote was actually practiced in the States (by which case Gore would have won and we could have avoided this discussion altogether), there still remains a stubborn majority of conservatives (and worse - neo-liberals!) in our country. conservatives who, even when faced with the travesties of justice inflicted on our nation by the Bush administration in the past 8 years, will still, undoubtedly, be reluctant to cast their vote for a Democrat, let alone a Black man or a woman (it's sad, but probably true).

what i fear is that neither of the forerunners in the Democratic camp will actually get elected. if offered a choice between a standard Republican candidate (from the country club set of old-fashioned white traditional values) and a minority candidate with liberal values, i fear most voters (not even just the conservative ones), even when reminded of the horrible events and misdeeds of the current administration, will still vote for the Republican.

regrettably, i don't think a majority of our citizenry is ready for change. at least, not the kind that would accompany the huge shift in paradigm that having Hilary or Obama in office would signify.

i hope i'm wrong. i really do. but it seems that if we want a Democrat in office in 2008, the best way is to vote John Edwards (he's got a kind of Kennedy feel about him...)

or is Al Gore still in the running...?



Brian said...

You raise some good points Steph, but two things may make that moot.

1. Immigration is not going away and any gains made by the right are being negated by the Hispanic vote moving left.

2. Iraq is the key and will determine who is elected. The more American casualties and violence, the more likely a Democrat will be elected.

stephan!e lee said...

yes, you're right. Iraq is a key (tho i would argue, not "the" key), and it is certainly affecting the way they're campaigning. but Iraq aside (since the Dems will, in large part, present similar strategies for getting out of Iraq), the vote still boils down to a matter of "how much change can our country handle?"

now, for my generation, this is a momentous point in our lived history. most of us can probably barely remember a States without the ludicrous Bush regime. any change will seem huge to us. but to have our first minority president, that will be TREMENDOUS! (and i'm not saying unwelcome...) even for other generations, our first woman or Black president will be a huge turning point in our nation's history, and i'm not sure if that much change right now is something America is ready for.

again, i hope i'm wrong. but many analysts have been saying, like you, that Iraq is the key. and many, unfortunately, still have terrorism in the back of their minds. and in the word of one political analyst, are "looking for a president who can protect us."

i just hope that we don't go seeking that kind of protection in something "safe."