Back on the Horse
Okay, the Martinelli’s is still in the fridge. Unopened, it’ll last for three years, but I don’t want to keep politicized apple cider through a move. So in the next six months, I’ll need to celebrate something.
I’ve read more stirring post-election posts than I can count, but I’ll lead with Ampersand’s:
The big mistake the Democrats, and most of the left, made was to believe that by winning elections we will change the country. Just the opposite is true. It is only by changing the country that we will win elections.
There was some talk at the party of a California secession – instigated, as it happened, by our very own newly-re-minted* state senator Jack Scott (who was obviously just kidding). Funny, ha ha, and an entertaining exercise in alternate history – would there really be a civil war? With guns and everything? – but we won’t see Jesusland anytime soon and NAFTA is not in particular a precursor to EU II: The New World.
Moreover, “states’ rights” have historically been less than compatible with individual rights. Don’t you dare think for one moment, you distraught rethinkers of the whole sweep of Leftism, that we can, ought, or must sacrifice the rights of Alabamans for our own comfort here on the Lefty Coast!
We can’t consign the Red States to their fate, not because “Red” is a ridiculous social construct (even though it is) but because we share a nation, a planet, a fate, a common humanity. Jeebus cripes, if we’re going to be ugly, if we’re going to gleefully visualize our fellow human beings choking on their own vomit, can’t we at least have the decency to do it off the record? This is why bars were invented!
But enough chiding. It’s time for angst! Angst about what we as a quasi-coherent sociopolitical movement could have done better; angst about why those funny people in Idaho won’t love us back; angst about our generally successful, if imperfect, voter turnout efforts; angst, angst, angst!
I’m worried that all this emotion will be focused on a One True Solution, that other answers will be attacked as “distractions”. I voted Green in 2000** – in California – and four years after the fact people are still hurling invective at Nader voters quite generally nationwide. Non-voters don’t come in for this kind of crap. Was my vote in 2000 an ineffective act? Maybe. And I’m sure we’ll be discussing an awful lot of ineffective ideas in the months to come. Ineffective is not the same as counterproductive.
Meanwhile, on the “things are always darkest before the dawn” front, here’s one from Worldchanging:
Less cynically and more in the non-zero sum vein, as Brand suggested, the enduring impact of this election may force everyone to be stronger leaders at both the micro and macro level. It might trigger a deeper and faster and more systemic articulation of alternative paths to how we might live, the launching of new experiments that prove through their success to be vastly superior to the unilateral interventionist vision of the neocons in Bush’s camp. I don’t care if they are done on the side, below the radar screen, outside the power structure. This is par for the course. But without this wake up call, these alternatives might have languished in mixed-muddle land too long.
I’ve been thinking about ants in the past few days. They’re back in my kitchen again, undefeatable. They find every single drop of jam on the counter within three minutes, not because they have a grand plan for doing so but because there’s just a metric fuckton of the little bastards crawling aimlessly around at all times.
There’s a metric fuckton of us, too, and it’s good that we’re aimless. All we’re missing is the political equivalent of pheromone trails – quick, decentralized, universalized ways to communicate that we’ve found a drop of jam, a compromise that works, an idea that sells. I don’t know what those will look like – MoveOn, Meetup, and blogs are all headed in the right direction, but the Internet isn’t everything.
I think I might claim this to be one of “my” pieces of the puzzle. Expect more on this later. In the meanwhile, there’s a local election scheduled for March 8th. Any suggestions as to how I should allocate my fancy, sparkling, celebratory bottle of juice?
* With 78% of the vote, hoorah!
** Yes, “Green” and “Nader” were the same cause then. Now they’re not. Can you get it through your skulls, mass media and sundry 2004 Nader-haters, that not all movements are personality cults?