I have been running around the political hustings for a very long time. In Brooklyn, I earned the sobriquet "The Housewife From Hell" from the Daily News because I was a political attack dog. Anyone who crossed my path regretted it.
Even before that, I did real as well as virtual hand to hand combat over political matters. No namby pamby "I am against the war but too scared to demonstrate" stuff for me! Indeed, in Europe, the place I took my Desert Fighting skills and used it in real battles, I had the stirring joy and cold sweat fear of standing on a barricade and hearing the clank-clank-clank of a French army tank and seeing the gun turrent peek around the corner and then the tank hove into view.
We weren't as suicidal as the Iraqis fighting Americans, we ran.
The main thing is, I stand up for something and I am who I am and like Popeye, that's all that I am. Eat ya spinach!
Bush isn't a man. He is a coward. He hides behind an army of courtiers and operatives and the Secret Service and the GOP machine and they carefully remove any and all opposition when he appears "in public". He is scared of his own shadow.
The Deep South is full of scared people, alas. Even as they wave flags and act brave and proud, they really are scared. Scared of immigrants, scared of uppity women, scared of foreigners, scared of the descendants of slaves, scared of their own children, husbands, whatever. This pervasive fear causes them to cut themselves off at every turn. What will someone say if they notice...whatever?
When I lived in the deep South briefly as a child, I saw this fear first hand. As a student radical, I noted how scared the people there were of hippies. Hippies! About as harmless a folk one can imagine! They seem to be absolutely terrified of gay men. Indeed, the fear needle goes off the chart if the gay man is also kind and gentle. Then the fear totally unmans and unwomans the average Southerner.
Why? What makes for all this fear? Why are they addicted to it? Why is this fear destroying America?
For it is.
The right wingers in the Republican party and quite a few Democrats, too, want to ban the burning of the American flag. Like, when has this been going on? I ain't seen no such anywhere, no? So why warp the Constitution to deal with it? Fear. They just might hate the concept of a Federal Government and a nation undivided, indivisible, etc. They don't really love the flag all that much, they want to have a very divided America. Look at how all of the leaders in the deep south work hard to alienate us! The country is totally and nearly unrepairably divided!
So, the Democrats ride to the rescue?
Hahahaha. Nope. Fear eats them, too. In the south, and I assure you of this, this editorial is thanks to a conversation with a very nice but very fearful politician from the Deep South, the strategy is to run away from the Democrats up North! Why? Well, the voters won't vote if one belongs to a national party that has other members from other states like the terrifying place called "New York"! Repudiate Kerry! Repudiate and attack Edwards! Not to mention Al Gore! If a Democrat wants to be popular in the Deep South, all they have to do is attack these people. Join the howling right wing and attack within the party! Then you "win elections". Great.
Like winning a war by bombing your own cities.
The other thing is to pretend to not be progressive and indeed, attack brave progressives in the South. Repudiate them and even sneer at them. Depict them as out of step with "regular" Americans. Sow the hate.
The Republicans feed their base and the Democrats attack their base. And then wonder why the party is over.
For it is drawing to a close. The GOP can still pretend to be a national party only because they still have their grip on the American credit card and can charge everything to our children's bill. The big wigs in the North like this because they are raking in the dough thanks to this. But this is ending...very soon.
American Progressives and Liberals are getting pretty fed up with all this. Don't talk about Hillary! Don't talk about single payer plan! Huh? Eh? Don't talk about pulling out of the disaster in Iraq!
Why? You can't have dreams because you are afraid someone will say, "No"? Ask for the world, you might get it. Ask for a penny, you might get that, too. But why? The skinflints running the GOP want a single party system in the South so they can loot the North. They won't even give a penny so why worry about asking for that?
It is much worse. The hatred of our nation is rife there. Being told that one doesn't talk about "national" stuff when running in the Deep South pisses me off more than anything right now. Well, they don't want a nation?
Good. Let's get a divorce. I said this after the last election fiasco. Let them go. They don't want to be part of us, ditto in spades from me! They can live without my tax dollars! We pay for them even as the oil barons down there are reaming me out financially up here, they are rolling in dough and got their toadies to pass more tax breaks for themselves. I have to pay for all this.
Anyone running as a Democrat has to talk about these things. If a Democrat in the south is going to be a near clone of the Republicans, why have them? If they are progressive, they should stand proud and be happy being one and tell everyone, "The water is fine! Jump in and swim! We can do it!"
But that might be scary.
Hiding one's progressive desires while appearing in a false light never works for the GOP will turn the spotlight glare upon anyone challenging them and then blast away. It is far better to be open and proud so when they start yelling at you, you can say, "Yes, I am!" and laugh at them.
If Americans are not ready for progressive ideas then one has to slog along like I do here, educating and patiently building a case. Like health care. I comb the web for stories that contain data concerning this and I show how the American unions who wanted our present, unfair system, are losing it and will lose it and they have to start yelling, top of lungs, for single payer plans! And students and workers with no insurance, they must be organized to yell for this. They want something, give them what will work! Don't worry about the stupid insurance companies! They will absolutely hate anything we come up with. Look at the campaign against Hillary Clinton!
Hillary Clinton is an outlying icon. Any candidate in the Deep South should invite her down, stand next to her and say, at the top of the lungs "We are in the same party and want to work together for AMERICA! Let's give Hill a loud CHEER!"
Make sure the press has many pictures of this. Smile big and hard and even laugh! The GOP will go insane, screaming. "Yes, we want America to be safe, strong and happy. This is what the Democratic party has always fought hard for! We are proud of our record!"
But if one is scared? Run and hide. Hope no one notices that the terrifying Hillary is a Democrat. I have a suggestion for all politicians in the Deep South scared of my Senator: rename your party, please. I can think of several. "The Jackrabbit Party" for one. Or "Ostrich Party". "We keep our heads in the sand!" Way to go. Strut your stuff!
In the very early 80's I helped a politician who was gay. She thought she hid it well but I sat her down and forced her to listen to all the inside gossip I had collected on her. "I thought you were on my side," she wailed. I grabbed her and said, "You must make some choices now. What do you plan to do when this makes the news?"
She realized she had to start dealing with this, not by hiding it but by carefully bringing it out, step by step. She won. She did well. She is still doing well. No one in NY notices her sex life. It doesn't matter.
If she hid it, it does matter.
I would think it would be very easy to wrap the flag around oneself and say, "I love America!" Look at my icon image here! I wear this flag because my family fought for it in the Revolution, both the one in England with Cromwell and the one here! We lost our ancestral home in England, fled to Holland and then took a chance in the New World which was really dangerous back in the 1600s! Out of the frying pan and into the fire!
Elections are mere bribery sessions. "What are you going to give me," isn't the question. "What will make America better and stronger" is a pressing question. Fighting a deadly war with the civilians in Asia Minor isn't making us one whit safer, it has greatly increased our danger. We have to talk about this! Both parties! Both plunged into this war out of greed and fear.
The many trillions in debts we owe other nations is going to destroy America. There are no more goodies to hand out! Everyone wants whatever! But we can't! No more. No longer must we "balance the budget," it was nearly too late 3 trillion dollars ago. Now we are in "emergency alert" territory.
Ross Perot took almost one third of the vote talking about all this once. His party was butchered bit by bit until it died utterly. There was no way the Republicans or Democrats would allow a real third party.
I go forth and talk about stuff. If people want to follow, this makes me happy. If they don't it is a free world. Even lemmings make choices!
I don't have to join them.
Leaders have to stand out. This is why one is noticed. "Outstanding" means to stand on some sort of pinnacle and be noticed! Duh, no?
In NYC politics, I tracked who was my enemy and why and was quite happy to collect quite a few scary people. Meade Esposito was one. "The Mafia Boss of Brooklyn." When I was through with him, he was in prison. When I deposed the head of the City Council, he called me in tears, "Why did you do this?" he wailed.
I laughed. "You told ME to go to hell. Hot, isn't it?"
Politics isn't a tea party. It is warfare carried on without weapons except when the shooting starts. This didn't stop Martin Luther King. Bullets didn't stop me. Anyone who isn't willing to literally die for their beliefs isn't worth following. Get that, all you Republicans who are refusing to fight Bush's wars? Get going. Your duty calls! Bush is an AWOL coward and few Texans even in the Democratic Party dares say that outloud.
This is why the Southern Democrats are going down in flames. You can't fight if you give up. Someone tell that to Kerry, too. Rrrruf. Snarl. Snap.
This is also why I always used my real name on the web. No hiding behind clouds of smoke. You can see me as clearly as I see the world on my mountain. I see storm clouds. There is no Santa Claus waiting to give us goodies. All our progressive dreams will mean ought if the Chinese and Russians nuke our cities because we are moving in, at the orders of the Japanese, into disputed territory in Asia!
Riots and revolutions and civil war as well as world wars can rain down upon our heads. This doesn't happen because people are strong but because they are fearful.
As the great President, Roosevelt, said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." This should be engraved and posted in every office, every room of every Democratic politician. Speak up, be proud of a great party, be American. Be for all America. Get some spine, will ya?
Thank you in advance (sword fighting lessons at 5).