(i've been too sick and tired to write anything about the election, but this piece from dmsRoar on Democratic Underground really sums it up for me. what say ye? -- brook)
The Lost Message from the Electorate
Like many of you, I followed the election and the results carefully and passionately and understood full well just how much was at stake. Future of the country...survival of democracy...restoration of freedom...considerations that once could only have been hyperbole now were near understatements. And, like many of you, I found myself relieved after the Big Blue Wave rolled the nation into a nice deep cobalt-colored tide, at least for two years. Because, and let's make no mistake about it, the leverage of subpoena power and the threat of impeachment are massive. Democrats now hold real power, even without holding the presidency. This is also a fundamental problem for our Democratic leadership.
Like many of you, I've enjoyed watching Bush cower and backtrack and say the previously unutterable. Yes, it turns out that Democrats, even Nancy Pelosi, love the country as much as he does. Yes, he's not really so much the Decider as the Cooperator. Etc, etc, etc. Of course, these are sentiments that only abject fear could produce in our Wedge-Driver-in-Chief. And, of course, this fear comes out of the direct threat Democrats now pose to his power, his own perceived place in history, and perhaps even his freedom to walk freely outside of bars the rest of his life without the official charge of war criminal.
And, most likely, he will, in fact, cooperate with Democrats, at least on some issues. There's nothing like imagining your own public disgrace to motivate you, after all. And, yes, Democrats have the opportunity to now pass legislation that many of us will herald as long overdue, because, of course, it is. I have little doubt that there will be a new minimum wage and that other makeshift (but valid) midterm party planks now can actually find their way into policy. And, as we know, the administration's backpedaling on Iraq gives our troops, our country, the Middle East, our allies, the world a little bit of hope.
It's not enough.
It bears repeating and repeating and repeating: the hope of passing centrist and progressive legislation is NOT why Congress is going to be blue in January. We--meaning most of us here, and a majority of voters--marked our ballots, according to exit polls, based on two primary issues: corruption and Iraq, two issues, which, of course, are married to each other. We--meaning many of us here and a majority of people in recent polls--believe that if Bush lied he ought to be impeached. We--meaning most voters--destroyed the notion that all politics is local. We hated what Bush has done to our country.
And we now feel relieved, and for good reason, because there's hope that with the infusion of Democrats into leadership roles, with true power now held by Democrats, we can turn our nation onto a new course.
I suggest that a better reaction--though less noble, to be sure, and much harder on the heart and veins--is prolonged anger. I've found myself internally battling over whether my thirst for justice is really just thirst for revenge. I've always believed mercy was pre-eminent to justice, because, ultimately, none of us is equipped to decide real justice. But no more. Why?
Like many of you, I am relieved. Plain and simple, I think our nation likely will avoid its own demise now. I think Democracy will survive, even if in its bastardized form, in this country. I believe Checks and Balances to some degree will be restored. I expect, someday, Habeas Corpus will be written back into law and my Constitutional guarantees will, once again, be guarantees. I am amazingly, stupefyingly relieved.
In short, for the first time in years, I feel safe. And that is why I think anger--over mercy, over political calculations and positioning for 08 and concerns about stigma regarding perceived petty payback--must dictate the course our party takes. With regard to basic protections, I feel safe, and I'm relieved about that, and those two emotions ought NOT to fit hand-in-hand in our country. The fact that I've rediscovered my relief in safety speaks, of course, of the astonishing cost this president and his Machiavellians have exacted from ordinary citizens.
No, it isn't understatement to say our country seems to have averted disaster, at least for the moment. True, our nation's poor and disadvantaged likely will still face the brutal effects of unchecked capitalism, and many other forms of inequity (and worse) will continue to pervade our nation. But we were headed toward fascism, even already living under its first touch. And that fascist bent was made possible through lies, manipulation, corruption, greed, and the yearning for power for power's sake at the expense of our country's true ideals, protections, and liberties.
We--the majority of voters--yelled at Democrats and Republicans alike. We're sick of Bush, hate his stance on Iraq and the lies he told us, abhor the rank corruption he and his cronies have practiced as a matter of course. We did not yell anything about cooperating to get things done, or even necessarily moving the country leftward, toward its center. Did we consider this and more when we voted? Of course. But we did not turn out in incredibly high numbers for these midterms to YELL about a new minimum wage. We voted because we were fed up, angry, tired of the President and of the costs--the damage to our rights, our nation's image, our government's excesses at our expense, our soldier's lives.
We YELLED this.
The Democrats' leaders immediately plugged their ears. They've made the political calculation that our party's image might be tainted by searching for justice. They've decided to make deals--a little legislation here for a little break there--deals which cash in our votes, yours and mine, for outcomes that have little to do with the message we yelled. Now, of course, impeachment is off the table. And, true, this might actually be what's best for the party. And this is politics, after all. But forgoing impeachment has nothing to do with what's best for the country. This nation must never face the sort of crisis it has faced these last six years. Despite all its problems and inequities, this nation should never even come close to verging on fascism. We, you and me, should never lose our Constitutional guarantees. We should never be ruled by corrupt lawbreakers. We should never be lied into war. We should never live in fear of what our leaders will do next. But we did...and the costs--to liberty, to pocketbooks, to reputation, to LIVES--will be tallied, will mount for years, as our country sorts out the astonishing price it's paid for this administration.
I am relieved. I am not afraid. I shouldn't have to feel such relief and I never have should have felt so much fear. And so, in my rediscovered safety and hope, I now find anger. I want justice. I want actual oversight. I want accountability for what this president and his administration have cost this country and its citizenry. For the sake of the Constitution, I want extensive prosecution and an outcome that errs, I'm sorry to say, on being merciless. I want impeachment. If these criminals are not held accountable, the next group of authoritarians to come to office will freely commit worse offenses, restrict our liberties even more, manipulate us even more, test even farther reaches of corruption. And make no mistake about it: there will come a time when democracy will not bounce back, when it will not be able to correct for corruption, lies, lost freedom, and tyranny.
The exit polls show that we--you, me, and our majority of voters--knew full well the damage our democracy had suffered due to illegal war and corruption. We knew it must not be allowed to continue now or to happen ever again. That's what we YELLED.