S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A pragmatic look at the facts

The facts to be faced by Democrats today are these:

President Bush is in office for three more years. The very thought of that fact can send progressives into bleak discouragement. Blogger, "sundog" at TPMCafe, asks in a diary, "Why keep fighting?" This was my comment,
It is awfully tempting to crawl under the covers and put on a sleepmask and earplugs. That is what my grown siblings do, and they tell me not to take it too seriously. But then I realize I have several communities with whom I have aligned myself and to whom I feel responsible. They include TPMCafe, DKos, my professional association, the good city in which I live, my neighbors on the block, etc. So I give and get support that way--getting reminded that I am not crazy. I just need refueling most every day with reminders from kindred spirits that I love my country enough to fight for what's right.

Democrats are the minority party. So much so that they were not able to muster enough votes in the Senate to filibuster the Alito Supreme Court nomination. Despite the undeniable prospect of a Right Wing SCOTUS that may eventually rule on the issue, web giant Google plans to keep on fighting the Justice Department. The legal arm of the Bush administration has issued a subpoena that demands turning over huge amounts of private search data to the government. While we are all having a fit over Google knuckling under to censors in the Chinese government, we should remember that they are going head to head with Gonzales et al in this big fight for our civil liberties. Democrats need to recognize help from other powerful allies who may not always behave perfectly, but at least fight for what is right.

Living in a Republican dominated state is lonely for Democrats. This election year, it would be easy to feel hopeless and helpless. These Texas Democrats are not daunted by negative facts; they can be truly inspirational to the rest of us. A Dallas Morning News story reports that the two candidates think they can fight Republican dominance. To quote,
They might be fighting for the right to come in third – or even fourth – in the race for Texas governor, but that doesn't mean Chris Bell and Bob Gammage are going through the motions. Rather, they're scrambling to convince voters that the race can be won by a Democrat – if not by the other guy.
Our current president is at war. And it may go on for years and years because the war is against that ephemeral concept, "terror." Always keeping up the fear factor, he constantly reminds us that he is the commander in chief. It seems to totally define his presidency. What can Democrats do to counter this strategy? Texan Molly Ivins, my favorite columnist, titles her current column, "Don the pragmatism cap."
What would happen if we had not a political but a pragmatic debate about all of this? We have made a horrible mess of this entire war on terrorism -- now how do we fix it? What do we do? I realize it's a bit simplistic of me after all this time, but I really think one of the best things we could do for ourselves is deal honestly with the facts. Because we have made a mess of this does not mean we are a pitiful, helpless giant -- the United States still has more sheer military power than anyone else on earth. But using it is not necessarily the best way to get the results we want.
Because we are stuck with this administration for another three years, I think it important to begin to get past the defensiveness and drawing attention away and blame games that big messes provoke. And part of that calls on American journalism to get over reporting the Bush administration as though it were a credible source. We need to face facts.
The concluding fact is that Bush is unpopular. And there is enough reason to be hopeful about that reality to keep on fighting. Though Democrats are currently in the minority at the national level, that could be temporary, depending on this year's midterm election outcomes. There could be very helpful changes at the state level, also, if we all stay committed. Though it is just over a thousand days until November of 2008, our current president will not always be able to have his way. Public opinion could demand otherwise. In order to maintain our energy, I recommend this post by "dreaminonempty" at DailyKos on the subject of Bush's current approval ratings remaining at a low level. The excellent study and positive facts presented will make your whole Democratic Day!
My "creative" post today at Southwest Blogger is about being reasonable.

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