Every once in awhile, I get on a roll with my father's quotations, the most recent one being his theory of the American Revolutionary War: Twenty percent supported England, 20 percent supported the colonials, and the rest didn't give a damn.
For my entire adult life, I've always been a twenty percenter. Remaining so involves one-half conviction, one-half optimism, and one-half magical thinking. Not only has my side lost more elections than we've won, the issues and people we care about most never seem to make there in the first place. But we endure. See second sentence of this paragraph.
Anyone know what happened on April 22, 1970? That was the first Earth Day. It was back in the olden days when the environmentalist-types thought climate change meant global cooling. A new Ice Age was at a hand. All that stood in the way of certain doom were the rainforests. We planted some trees just in case.
One day, the scientists weighed in and said climate change meant global warming. Some say the world will end in fire, but ice would be just as great and would suffice, and you can look it up. The slaughter of the rain forests continued unabated. I made sure everyone I knew as well as my elected officials were aware of this. See father's quote in paragraph number one, above. My wife planted some trees. Lumber companies clear cut Oregon.
Optimism first imbued my system when Robert Kennedy ran for president on an anti-Vietnam War platform. It actually seemed as though someone in charge shined a big light on the absurdities accepted by the American population, its political leaders, and the news media. But he got shot, which never works out well. See Martin Luther King.
Nixon won. He resigned. Ford served. He bumped his head a lot. Carter won and scolded the country for four years. Reagan won and became a giant press release. Bush I won, invaded Iraq, and presided over the savings and loan financial crisis. Clinton won, eviscerated welfare, and revoked Taft-Hartley, which led to the financial meltdown of 2008. Bush II won (sort of) and invaded Afghanistan and, for good measure, Iraq again, with support from my party. The stock market tanked. Twice. The second time, the whole financial system collapsed.
Now, of course, whatever is wrong is all Obama's fault.
To which I say:
What's so depressing is the realization that anyone running for public office doesn't do so to make life better so much as to serve the interests of whomever provides financial resources to the party. That means putting their integrity into escrow and doing or saying whatever is necessary to get elected. Is Congress debating a climate change bill? Nope. How about campaign finance reform? Nope. Immigration reform? Check that. This list goes on and on and on.
It's the Koch brothers playing cards with the brotherhood of AFL-CIO, everyone motherfracking their way to victory. If you've got the money, Honey, I walk the line, and Chelsea Clinton now gets $75,000per engagement on the speaking circuit.
And who is out there on a national level not just to do something, but to actually care? The starters for Republicans are all whack jobs, and the bench is worse. The Democrats don't even have a bench, which is sad because their sole starter is about as interesting and creative as the fine print on an insurance policy, someone who will take a bold position after making sure the public supports it first. See preceding paragraph.
Turns out the 20 percent for-or-against has been wrong all this time, and those who don't give a damn got it right.
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