I need to stress to those young voters, and to ALL of us, the importance of being part of the system. It's something the right has done so brilliantly in the last fourteen years, and until we learn from that, we're going to once again end up the chumps.
As much as we scorn the Freepers, the Neocons and the Religious Right, we need to see what they've done. They've been insanely successful at promoting and sealing their agenda.
It comes down to this: Holding up our end of the bargain in this democracy by being engaged, active and roundly participating is a responsibility we need to adopt. NOW.
I can give you a glaring example which we're living through at this moment: The
Democratic Congress. You hear it all the time. We certainly hear it all the time.
"We voted for them to end the war!" "They're not doing their jobs!" "They're just as bad as Bush!"
Waaah waaah waaah.
Let me ask you a question. Have you actually written a letter or an email, or have you actually picked up a phone and let them know what you want?
If you have, you probably didn't hem and haw in your mind to answer that one. You're active. You're engaged. You're a participant.
You know what this government is: Of the people. By the people. For the people.
Chances are, however, that you haven't done any of that. And that's what you need to realize - what the "wingnuts" have realized for a long, long time. You need to beat your reps and leaders over the head with what they need to know and do. Relentlessly. Repeatedly. And with civility.
They work for us. We hired them. We're the bosses. If they screw up, we need to dispatch a memo immediately and put them on notice. If they fail to follow our assignments to them, they'll be looking for other work.
I'm about to open Pandora's Box here, so strap yourself in.
Blogs are a great political community. Just as my posting my diatribes here, your posting your comments on this or any political blog is a great way of letting off steam. It gets your opinion out there. It's a wonderful way to sharpen your argumentative skills. But here's the awful truth:
It doesn't mean a goddamn thing to Nancy Pelosi.
It doesn't mean a goddamn thing to Harry Reid.
It doesn't mean a goddamn thing to whoever your reps are.
THEY. DON'T. READ. BLOGS.
Not Atrios. Not Kos. Not Crooks and Liars, Buzzflash or Firedoglake. Not Digby, AmericaBlog or Bartcop.
(Not even this one. And they should. But I'm off-topic.)
Even if they do stumble upon them, do you think in your wildest dreams that they're going to sludge through the swamp known as the "comments"? Atrios throws up a post titled "?" which is composed of the word "Oy" and a link, and that garners 755 comments. Christ, I have time on my hands and I don't have the patience to wade into that.
Imagine, however, if the energy, the words and the passion that went into writing those comments were directed directly toward Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the writers' respective representatives.
Yeah. Pretty damned awesome. Head-spinning. And believe me, you'll have their attention.
Give me a moment here to say that blogs are quite possibly the best way to rally our troops and give you perspective and talking points for the real world. I know I get that from everyone in the blogosphere. If any of you get that from here, well, we're proud to be a handful of fertilizer in your vast field of knowledge.
The word I'm trying to get out here is to vote on November 4th. The presidency isn't the only thing up for grabs. Every seat in the House of Representatives and 33 senate seats will be in play. We need to fill those seats with the best we can muster. We must fight for each and every one of those posts.
Furthermore, your responsibility does NOT begin and end in the voting booth. No matter who we elect for president - and it WILL be either Clinton or Obama - our responsibility goes beyond November 4th. We will need to kick down the barriers between here and the Beltway. We need to lean on these people and make sure they do the job we hired them for. They need to hear from us every day on every major AND minor issue. We need to fight hard for every battle.
We need to let them know there's a real world out here, and we need to keep that awareness front-of-mind. Their attention spans, common sense and concentration become severely handicapped once they're in Washington. It's up to us to maintain their reality check.
That's the lesson we need to learn from the people who have dominated the conversation since 1994.
It's our turn now. We've done it before. We just need to relearn it again.
Get active. Be a participant. Speak up and speak freely. Because. You. CAN.
As Thom Hartmann says, "Democracy begins with you. Tag. You're it."
My blog is only a tiny piece of my political activity. I consider this a place where I can vent more than a way to effect change. Most of the commenters are already sharing many of my views. As Hoffmania clearly says, we need action, not just posts. I volunteer for campaigns, my representatives all hear from me on a regular basis (even though they are Republicans), I work every election, and attend as many protests as I can. Now I'm asking you, my readers, to do whatever you can to help bring back a government "of the people, by the people, for the people" (I still think that is the most beautiful phrase ever written). I hope I'm adding a little fertilizer to your vast field of knowledge.