November 20, 2002

What We Need is "D"-fense!

America has had two weeks to reflect upon the results of the 2002 mid-term Congressional elections. However, more than 60 percent of voters never thought about it in the first place, so even fewer are clamoring to recall it now.

The most obvious question is: why did the Democrats get slaughtered? Whatever the answer, I’m pining more than ever for just a few years ago when things were more optimistic. How bad do things have to be for a college student to want to be underage again? Damn bad!

The economy sucks. Bankruptcies and layoffs are happening at the speed of light. The tax cut is an utter sham. American citizens are having their rights destroyed at an alarming rate. Huge corporations own most of the media. Deregulation of everything is imminent, assuring that our air is more unclear, our food more filthy and our products even more cheaply manufactured. Our leaders are pushing feverishly for a war that would make more sense as a duel between Bush and Hussein. The far right, increasingly in absolute power, has abandoned any pretense of tact and grace and is now gloating over its control of us. The state of the union: liquid.

How did the Republicans soar so high in this election? Terror, terror, terror. Apparently it reassures most folks to see George W. Bush, surrounded by flags, promising to fight “terra” and smite all evildoers. No one really can blame the public. It is tempting to do so, but the unabashedly toxic information the mainstream media releases nowadays is really to blame. I am reminded of this every time I hear someone say, “The news these days is biased and sensationalized. That’s why I like Fox News! They’re fair and balanced, you know.”

Issues have been successfully framed in comic-book-style simplicity, to the tune of countless votes. Good grief, people, comic books don’t even use that story frame anymore! That hasn’t stopped people from voting through the jingoistic eyes of Captain America. Patriotism is at an all-time high, eclipsing even World War II levels. Now that was a glorious time in history! Remember the unified populace, the God-sent leader, the flag-waving, the one-armed salutes and the book burnings? Whoops! Wrong side. Blind, fever-pitch patriotism helped the Republicans as much as it paralyzed the Democrats.

Overall, the Democrats’ 2002 campaign had about as much fight in it as Michael Dukakis going three rounds with the dad from “Cathy.” The Democrats—I say this as a concerned independent—have lost their edge. Now it seems they can’t even swipe a victory handed to them on a silver ballot.

The tenacious Ds are in the same hole the Republicans were in after 1996. The party has splintered and decentralized to the point where calling it a party is a bit of a stretch; Democratic Get-Together seems more appropriate. The Greens and others have split from the pack, leaving the mainstream full of the most complacent members and brownnosers. The party is in shambles, and the only way to save it—and the country—is for the Greens and the Democrats to unite.

I can already hear the outrage from the Greens; but we do not 30 or 40 years to form a new party. By then, right-wing domination may have rendered the notion of parties and elections moot. Instead, what the donkeys need are the ideas of the Greens, the establishment of the Democrats and passion of the Republicans.

The next two years might turn out better than expected for us. Unencumbered by the charade of fair play, the right will show its true colors; this will lead the 2004 Democratic Convention keynote address to state simply, “Look around!” Hopefully, by then the Democrats will have the steel to represent us.

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