Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Just Say NO!

I just read the most astonishing essay; I'm absolutely blown away.

There is so much anger amongst the Dems right now, but even worse, such a catastrophic sense of disorganization. Who do we have? How can we adapt ourselves? How can we appeal to the moral crowd? How can we get our message out in a media tipping further right as we speak? It's as if we're stumbling around in a sealed box, desperate to find the door before the gas begins.

Well, guess what? We're being played.

Watch Dan Rather apologize for not getting his facts straight, humiliated before the eyes of America, voluntarily undermining his credibility and career of over thirty years. Observe Donna Brazille squirm as she is ridiculed by Bay Buchanan, and pronounced irrelevant and nearly non-existent. Listen as Donna and Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer take to the airwaves saying that they have to go back to the drawing board and learn from their mistakes and try to be better, more likable, more appealing, have a stronger message, speak to morality. Watch them awkwardly quote the bible, trying to speak the 'new' language of America. Surf the blogs, and read the comments of dismayed, discombobulated, confused individuals trying to figure out what they did wrong. Hear the cacophony of voices, crying out, "Why did they beat me?"

And then ask anyone who has ever worked in a domestic violence shelter if they have heard this before.

They will tell you: Every single day. The answer is quite simple. They beat us because they are abusers. We can call it hate. We can call it fear. We can say it is unfair. But we are looped into the cycle of violence, and we need to start calling the dominating side what they are: abusive. And we need to recognize that they will keep hitting us and beating us as long as we keep sticking around and asking ourselves what we are doing to deserve the beating. -- Mel Giles

You see, when we accepted that so called "moral mandate", we were ducking a blow. Because Dems, as liberals, embrace tolerance. This means that while we disagree with conservatives, we are tolerant of their opinion and support their right to have it. What happened to us is simple. While we were busy believing that building up everybody is the best way to achieve forward progress, they got busy building up a scary caricature of what liberals were and frightening a lot of formerly non-political people with it. They rode that horse hard.

Faith is a personal journey. At 42, I'm ready to ask questions; I'm actively seeking answers. My quest is not based on any formal religious training, nor is it based on a specific doctrine. I search as a Christian, but if I find God in Chaos Theory, I still find God.

This is why I find this whole "moral mandate" so appalling and ultimately, unacceptable. This is not moral, it's manipulation. This is not a mandate, this is greed and power lust. Politics are inherently amoral and consistently immoral.

Listen to George Bush say that the will of God excuses his behavior. Listen, as he refuses to take responsibility, or express remorse, or even once, admit a mistake. Watch him strut, and tell us that he will only work with those who agree with him, and that each of us is only allowed one question (soon, it will be none at all; abusers hit hard when questioned --the press corps can tell you that.) See him surround himself with only those who pledge oaths of allegiance. (To him.) Hear him tell us that if we will only listen and do as he says and agree with his every utterance, all will go well for us (it won't; we will never be worthy.)

And watch the Democratic Party leadership walk on eggshells, try to meet him, please him, wash the windows better, get out that spot, distance themselves from gays and civil rights. See the Democrats cry for the attention and affection and approval of the President and his followers. Watch us squirm. Watch us descend into a world of crazy-making, where logic does not work and the
other side tells us we are nuts when we rely on facts. A world where, worst of all, we begin to believe we are crazy. -- Mel Giles

Over and over in the last election cycle, I read outraged blogs. What about the facts... they're ignoring the facts... the fact is...

It was bewildering. The situation couldn't possibly last, surely people understood what was at stake, who we were, what was real and what was smoke. The days after the election were a lesson in rage. We leached it from every pore, expressed it in creative and far flung ways. We apologized to the world.

Then we started talking about how we needed to change ourselves to fit the new mold, be more like them, more acceptable, more obedient to the moral mandate.

How to break free? Again, the answer is quite simple: First, you must admit you are a victim. Then, you must declare the state of affairs unacceptable. Next, you must promise to protect yourself and everyone around you that is being victimized. You don't do this by responding to their demands, or becoming more like them, or engaging in logical conversation, or trying to persuade them that you are right. You also don't do this by going catatonic and resigned, by closing up your ears and eyes and covering your head and submitting to the blows, figuring that its over faster and hurts less if you don't resist and fight back.

Instead, you walk away. You find other folks like yourself, 57 million of them, who are hurting, broken, and beating themselves up. You tell them what you've learned, and that you aren't going to take it anymore. You stand tall, with 57 million people at your side and behind you, and you look right into the eyes of the abuser and you tell him to go to hell. Then you walk out the door, taking the kids and the gays and minorities with you, and you start a new life. The new life is hard. But it's better than the abuse.
-- Mel Giles

I am a Democrat. I am liberal. I accept that people are different from me. I am not threatened by their difference. I want my world to grow based on the richness of diversity. I know that the brain is an incredible instrument and we need every one of them. I accept that my planet requires my stewardship. I am responsible for the weak and the broken; I will care and raise them up. I am a Democrat. I am one of many.

And I am through ducking.

We have a mandate to be as radical and liberal and steadfast as we need to be. The progressive beliefs and social justice we stand for, our core, must not be altered. We are 57 million strong. We are building from the bottom up. We are meeting, on the net, in church basements, at work, in small groups, and right now, we are crying. Because we are trying to break free and we don't know how.

Any battered woman in America, any oppressed person around the globe who has defied her oppressor will tell you this: There is nothing wrong with you. You are in good company. You are safe. You are not alone. You are strong. You must change only one thing: Stop responding to the abuser. -- Mel Giles

There is nothing, NOTHING, wrong with tolerance, reform, support and protection.


These are the liberal acts God wishes from us. Not to slander, not to lie, not denying the poor, or denigrating the different. Tolerance, reform, support and protection for others and for my earth are mine to give. I am steadfast, and I WILL GIVE THEM.

I don't need your permission.

Don't let him dictate the terms or frame the debate (he'll win, not because he's right, but because force works.) Sure, we can build a better grassroots campaign, cultivate and raise up better leaders, reform the election system to make it fail-proof, stick to our message, learn from the strategy of the other side. But, we absolutely must dispense with the notion that we are weak, godless, cowardly, disorganized, crazed, too liberal, naïve, amoral, "loose," irrelevant, outmoded, stupid and soon to be extinct. We have the mandate of the world to back us, and the legacy of oppressed people throughout history.

Even if you do everything right, they'll hit you anyway. Look at the poor souls who voted for this nonsense. They are working for six dollars an hour if they are working at all, their children are dying overseas and suffering from lack of health care and a depleted environment and a shoddy education. And they
don't even know they are being hit. -- Mel Giles

We must turn our backs on the bullies, and stand firm for our core beliefs. They are rock solid; they are ancient. It is right to raise up, it is right to encourage, it is right to correct wrongs, it is right to accept, protect and nurture. To do anything else is wrong on every level.

The funny thing about it? If we stand up and remain steadfast, our strength becomes ten, hundred, thousand fold. With that strength, comes respect and interest. With respect and interest, leadership grows. With leadership comes more people to the cause. More people begets more strength, and the circle of strength continues to grow.

I am a Democrat. I am one of many.

Are you with me?


At February 09, 2005 1:06 PM, Blogger PATCAM2005 said...

I am with you!!!!


At February 09, 2005 3:18 PM, Blogger frstlymil said...

Mel Giles speaks great wisdom - as do you. There has to become a willingness to repeat the sentiments of Paddy Chayevsky in "Network" "We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore." But yes, the fear, the eggshells, the what if we're the ones who are crazy - maybe we ARE Godless - We can't accept that for a minute. Hell, I decided to read the Bible again just so I can engage in a really awesome and informed argument. We need to be willing to step up to the plate and fight back - not try to figure out how to be more like them at playing the game, but how to be better as who we already are and to refuse to back down from principal and decency.

At February 10, 2005 8:19 AM, Blogger DJW said...

Please, for God's sake, do not change to be like more like the Republicans, or even more like the mainstream Democrats. No one should change their beliefs, just because they are unpopular. They should change their beliefs only if, through careful, thoughtful introspection, they come to realize that their beliefs are wrong. Michael Medved, for example, as reflected in his new book, Right Turns.

But, at the same time, you must recognize that your beliefs are not popular and if you hold to those beliefs, do not expect to win elections any time soon. The political winds have moved to the right - a process that has been continuing since at least 1980, if not before, to the point that the Democrat party is no longer a party of liberals.

By the way, don't be surprised if your leaders sell out - keeping power is more important to them then staying true to any ideals. Human nature.

Having said this, give me a break with this victim crap. That guy is out of his mind (I say politely) comparing liberals to domestic abuse victims. You are not victims or anything. Worst of all, his statements demean what domestic abuse victims go through. Good friend of mine, attorney, makes over 200K a year, liberal, hates Bush - is he comparable to a domestic abuse victim?????

First of all, you must realize that you did not lose in the election because you did not get your message out. You didn't lose because the other side didn't play fair. You lost because 62 million Americans rejected your message. The voice of opposition was deafening. Need I make a list? New York Times, Washington Post, Time magazine, Newsweek, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC (particularly Chris Matthews), CNN - these are just some of the major outlets. - how much did they spend? Steven Bing, Peter Lewis and George Soros combined to give nearly $24 million to prominent liberal groups, including the Joint Victory Campaign 2004, America Coming Together and Did you see their campaign ads? I did. I could do more research, but I saw at least one figure of $80 million amassed by liberal groups, intent on defeating the President. Their message got out. I know it did, because I saw it.

I haven't even mentioned Michael Moore and his movie.

Now, this is not to say that the Republicans did not get their message out as well. But, aren't they entitled?

So, how are you victims? You didn't lose because you did not get your message out. You lost because the voters rejected your message.

As for Dan Rather apologizing - he supported a story designed to tear down the President that was based on phoney documents. I don't care who is in the White House - that deserves an apology.

Does that mean you should start acting like Republicans - of course not! Stay true to your beliefs! But come to the realization that your beliefs are not popular and are not likely to win elections anytime soon.

Remember 1964 - Barry Goldwater - radically conservative ideas - he was soundly defeated - reincarnated 16 years later in the form of Ronald Reagan.

I will also offer this - you will not get support for your ideas by continuing to demean and villianize those with opposing views. I'm not speaking to you personally, but to the tendency by liberals in general, to demean the intelligence of their opposition.

Such as this statement: "Even if you do everything right, they'll hit you anyway. Look at the poor souls who voted for this nonsense. They are working for six dollars an hour if they are working at all, their children are dying overseas and suffering from lack of health care and a depleted environment and a shoddy education. And they don't even know they are being hit".

So, he characterizes the 62 million Americans who voted for Bush as "poor souls" working for "six dollars an hour" with children dying overseas and suffering from lack of health care, blah, blah, blah. 62 million Americans.

Keep this attitude about your opposition and keep losing elections.

At February 10, 2005 7:05 PM, Blogger Jet said...

DJW, I knew when I posted this you would want to come out and play. I appreciate your concern, but I feel quite confident that I won't be changing my beliefs anytime soon. I'm hitting on all cylinders.

I wanted to clarify a couple of things.

Mel Giles is a woman. She is an advocate against domestic violence. I do not think she was intending to demean the people she helps.

I understood this essay to be written metaphorically, not literally. I saw a connection between it and what I personally read and experienced pre and post election. If you didn't think the Dems were dysfunctional after the election, you weren't paying attention.

If Dem leaders "sell out", I have no problem whatsoever with not voting for them. I demand an agenda that is true to original liberal principles, is simple and concise, and draws a line in the sand. I want the choice to be clear. No more trying to please everyone, just the clarity of bare boned liberal precepts. If you don't know what I mean, see "Talk Dirty to Me".

Your media choices were interesting. The New York Times, CBS, and the Washington Post, occasionally; The Nation, always, present the liberal viewpoint. Everybody else, in my opinion, is sliding to the right like the left side of the plane is on fire. Eric Alterman is the lone voice of reason at MSNBC. Chris Mathews is an ass. You had me scratching my head over that one.

Overall, Bush raised more money that Kerry, but there was a lot of money bandied around during the last election. Some of it was spent unwisely. Some of it was used to slander. I will never forgive the swiftboat people. What they did was shameful, indefensible, and it was disrespectful to all who serve.

I haven't even mentioned Sinclair Broadcasting.

As for demeaning and villainous behavior, see John 8:7. This was not a one sided battle. I will not run around apologizing for perceived imperfections. That smacks of Ms. Giles' metaphor.

I'm coming to the realization that it's not about winning the election, it's about finding the truth. Find the true path, based on simple, traditional liberal principles, and the rest will come. Just watch the falling dollar, the dissension in the fiscal conservative ranks, and the eyes of the Chinese who wait to see when propping up the dollar will no longer be a profitable part of their long term economic plans.

The republicans told us that we ran, as our candidate, the most liberal senator in the Democratic party. We ran him against an incumbent during a war. We lost by ONE state. If Dubya keeps spending money they way he has been, if I was on your team, I'd be worried.

At February 11, 2005 7:18 AM, Blogger DJW said...

I understand that Ms. Giles was speaking metaphorically - I may be from Texas, but I know a metaphor when I see one. I just don't buy the comparison. A domestic abuse victim is cowed because she has less power than the batterer. My point was, you didn't lose this election because the fight was one-sided. The mainstream media outlets of which I spoke continuously battered the President (which is their first amendment right to do), the Democrats running for the nomination continuously battered the President (which received a lot of press), the liberal-leaning 527's raised millions and continuously battered the President and his policies, John Kerry did well in the debates and received good coverage - the point being, that your message got out. You were on equal footing - but, you lost. I just don't think the metaphor is applicable, or frankly, very constructive to your side.

I'm not whining, incidentally, about the attacks in the media and by the 527's - the Republicans got their licks in too - and due to the emergence of conservative talk radio, Fox News, and conservative blogs, the playing field, information-wise, was as even as I have ever seen.

I would not want for you to stray from your beliefs. You are very thoughtful and passionate in what you believe. But, if your side doesn't win elections, its not because you were unfairly battered by the evil, mean Republicans - its because a majority of Americans heard your message and didn't buy it.

At February 11, 2005 3:02 PM, Blogger Jet said...

I was not implying you or Texans in general as unintelligent. If you were offended, I apologize.

I still feel that Giles' metaphor is applicable to the immediate post election behavior of Dem leaders; I found their intent to massage the liberal message into something "more palatable" as the wrong thing to be trying to do. As for the mud slung during the campaigns, you are right. It was brutal on both sides.

I appreciate your comments, though. I'm getting a better understanding of your point of view.

At February 14, 2005 1:10 PM, Blogger DJW said...

Now, how were you abused again???

AP story - February 14, 2005:

Study: $100M Spent on TV Ads in Ohio Race

"Kerry and his Democratic allies spent $61 million on television ads compared with $39 million by President Bush (news - web sites) and Republican groups. Together, the two campaigns spent as much on television ads as Bush spent nationwide to win the 2000 Republican nomination, the study said.

Both sides also spent an estimated $50 million for mailings, door-to-door contacts and phone calls, the study said."

At February 14, 2005 2:00 PM, Blogger Jet said...

George W. Bush (R)

John Kerry (D)

Ralph Nader (3)

Michael Badnarik (L)

Michael Peroutka (3)

David Cobb (3)

Obviously, different amounts would be spent in different states depending on campaign strategy.

We are obviously not reaching any sort of agreement to disagree; therefore, I am closing this topic.


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