The following is a heart felt email from a friend who will remain unnamed. He/she said eloquently what I've been feeling for some time.
"oh my god, what happened?!" have we not been paying attention!?
yeah, it's horrible (and half the country is in the same boat, so we're not all idiots). i'm not saying the outcome of this election doesn't matter.it matters tremendously. and the next four years is likely to be a serious and potentially dangerous historical turn. but all this wailing and gnashing of teeth is not going to get us anywhere. especially not the email volleys. we've spent 4 years forwarding anti-republican humor and diatribes. did wonders, didn't it? hitting "send" is not the end (barely the beginning) of positive political action. it's a drug that makes us feel as if we've done something, contributed, like watching MTV and donating a few bucks to bob geldof in the 80s gave us the illusion we had solved world hunger. (hear much about that anymore? shit, did i miss the exciting final episode or did they just cancel the world hunger show without shooting the series finale?)
a true movement for progressive social change is not built around a once-every-four-years crap shoot. we put so much into the president, like a movie star, messiah, and repository for all our hopes and fears, and if "our side" wins we breathe a sigh of relief, assume it's all better now, and return to our consumerist stupor. yes, a great point can be made that if kerry had won, things would have taken a big step toward the good at least in terms of public discourse (there may have been less of this lethal god in the air, in the white house anyway, for the next four years anyway), protection of the environment (or the illusion of it) and stemming the tide of a right-wing-packed supreme court. but neither political party is going to fix it all for us. we have to make a stab at that ourselves. we're going to have to live with the after-effects of this administration for a
long time to come (as surely as we're still living with johnson and nixon and reagan - anyone remember them? anyone know what happened then?) and those effects aren't going to disappear with the "right" candidate. not under our system as it stands.
let's educate ourselves and each other - with real facts and analysis, not assholes, er i mean, opinions (everyone's got one). does anyone out there know what the imf is doing in the third world? how coke is contributing to the slaughter of the labor movement in columbia? what aids is doing to the population of russia? why there has been armed rebellion in mexico? and
whatever happened to afghanistan? (i think my cable company dropped that channel.) it's a world folks, a whole big fucking globe, and it's not all about one american and what the rest of america thinks about him. this all didn't begin with W. this won't end with democratic victory. history didn't start when you became aware of it a few years ago.
join a peace and justice organization and give them your time and hard work; organize and participate in boycotts; use your art to agitate, inspire, unite; keep track of every vote your elected officials (even your goddamn city councilmembers) cast and inform them immediately of your approval or opposition and threaten them with your vote; shit, run for office yourself;
chain yourself to the desk of a halliburton executive; tap into some news sources outside cnn/fox/daily show or whatever else is handiest at the end of a remote control. don't assume one vote every four years is going to keep the world on track and one politician is going to fix it all and one branch of essentially the same corporate-global-economy political party,
even the most "liberal" and apparently sane branch, is going to do the right thing. yes, we are fucked. now what are we going to do about it? wait for the democrats to come up with a savior in 2008? sure...start holding your breath. it might happen. if we make it to 2008. like my friend dan says, it's going to take tremendous sacrifice. the kind of sacrifice
people all over the world make every day but americans rarely have to face. the kind of sacrifice that pushes us on, even when we see little or no change in our own lifetimes. are we prepared to give up that great american sense of instant gratification: push a button-out comes your cash, push a button-your candidate gets elected?
i know we need to voice our frustration and rage to each other right now. but i've been dealing with these events and subsequent feelings for 35 years or more, and it's exhausting. you need to vent - but for god's sake, don't just second-guess the election, or shout opinions at each other, don't merely focus on how awful everything is. try to talk about what can be done. try to find a place to put this rage that's going to really turn it on those who deserve it. try to come away from it with one step to take together. even in our immediate local area, our neighborhoods, while maintaining the fullest
possible sense of our place in the whole big world. the tiniest little thing, you know, like the beat of the butterfly wings in the amazon that causes a typhoon in japan.
but please, take me off the Chicken Little email list.
i don't know what the answer is. even as i write all this, it's hard to convince myself that anything makes a difference. like i said: 35 years, i'm freakin' tired. maybe my friend dan answered his own question for us: stay and fight.
AND keep your money and passport in your shoe.