Surrendering in Advance

Xposted at Firedoglake:

From Digby comes this story:

Even though the automatic recount had cut Bush’s lead dramatically in the previous three days, Christopher and Daley offered little hope that the margin could be eliminated completely. “Look you got screwed,” said Daley, “but people get screwed every day. They don’t have a remedy. Black people get screwed all the time. They don’t have a remedy. Sometimes there’s no remedy. There’s nothing you can do about it…

Which is a Thing for me, a little bit, the giving up, because I feel like in the last 20 years or so we’ve really made an art of it, as a country. How often do we see this in politics? How often do we hear this? “We can’t do that.” “We can’t afford that.” “We can’t win on that.” “We can’t make that happen.” “We can’t do that anymore.”

All of this acting like the inevitable just happens, like none of these things are choices. We can’t afford Social Security and Medicare … because we’d rather have two unwinnable wars and a bunch of people paying their yacht club dues. We can’t get single payer health care through Congress … because we elected people who call themselves Democrats through a mouthful of corporate junk. We can’t rebuild our roads and schools … because we’re too busy worrying about the latest missing white lady.

None of these inevitabilities, none of these political realities, is a naturally occurring phenomenon. We didn’t wake up one day to a world in which this is the case. It’s not some kind of Politics Pandemic where people touch each other and get infected, and therefore talking about it requires something more than a Daley-esque shrug about getting screwed andoh well gosh darn life sucks. It requires being willing to say okay, but there has to be something that can be DONE about it. There’s always something to be done. There’s always a way out.

It’s frustrating, because sometimes it seems like we have tried everything. Republicans were in charge? Fine, we’ll elect a Democratic president and Democratic legislature. Our media suck? Fine, we’ll build our own alternative networks and ways of communicating. The right’s outspending us? Fine, we’ll just work harder. And the fact that none of this is enough to turn the country around, I mean, I don’t know about you but my second-worst fear is that people like Bill Daley are right and we’re all crazy for thinking we can be better than this and we should be using our limited time on this planet to watch TV and sleep.

My worst fear, though? That we’re right. That we are better than this. That we can do more. That we can give more. That political reality is what we make it, that inevitability is nothing but the limit of our sight, and that we are allowing ourselves to be talked out of all our glorious possibilities by people whose interests lie in convincing us that this is the best we can do.


9 thoughts on “Surrendering in Advance

  1. You know where most of the surrendering starts? In electionslike this one.
    By the time you get to the very top of the ticket, all the policy options are already off the table, and all you’re left with is the least bad of several terrible choices, and you end up wondering why those are the only choices you have available.
    Want to end the drug war? Start in your precinct. Want to make sure civil liberties are respected? Start with your local police. Want to save public education? There’s a school right down the street. Want clean water and clean air? The city council is right there – they write the recycling contract and dictate wastewater policy.

  2. Some of We also allow ourselves to get lazy and knee jerk and shamble around in half-consciousness, as individuals and groups.Lots of ppl do not want to take the full risk and sacrifice involved. Easy targets R us.

  3. Aye, ma’am, ye do be right aboot all ye’ve claimed here.
    I was at NASA’s Johnson Space Center Saturday.
    I was enthralled all day; but some of the tears in my eyes were from rage at all we’ve now thrown away…

  4. This reaction from you all is so interesting, because over at FDL they all sniffed and went, “I don’t know anyone who thinks like this.”

  5. “over at FDL they all sniffed and went, ‘I don’t know anyone who thinks like this.'”
    They don’t get out much, do they?

  6. Just went and read the FDL comment thread.
    I was stunned to read the one about how the left “gave Obama all the tools of Captain America” and how he “gave it all to the GOP.” That’s about as reality based a notion as the idea of Paul Revere with guns n’ bells warning the British, WOO. Maybe they could get a quick count of Republican legislators across this country before they start in on Obama for “giving anything away.”
    These sound like the same folks who scratch their heads when Rick Perry promises to dismantle Social Security and gets closer to the Presidency. Many of them have already surrendered, thrown up their hands, and given up. They’d rather talk to like minds than interact with people who disagree with them and try to convince them otherwise. They’re waiting for the imaginary cavalry – or a messianic liberal figure – to save them.

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