Oct 8, 2010

I just got off the phone with Charlotte. She was fit to be tied. "Would you like a comment?" she asked. "I know you're doing phone banking and you can't spend too much time with any one person, but would you like a comment?"

Absolutely, I said.

"Okay then. I've been political all my life. From childhood. I can't remember not being involved somehow. I went to Florida in 2004. I went all over the country in 2008. I've spent my life supporting progressive candidates. But now I'm just sitting on my hands. I am so disgusted I can't tell you."

Well, tell me anyway.

"Why on earth have the Dems allowed Republicans to take over this campaign?"

How do you mean?

"The way they respond."

You mean the messaging.

"Yes, the messaging. How can they let these smears, the hypocrisies, the lies go unchallenged. I just don't understand."

Give an example that really bothers you.

"I was just watching Rachel Maddow and she had somebody on, I don't remember his name. He was saying something about how there was no rational reason to block this particular piece of legislation because it "would just drive us further into a".... And what do you think he said next. What would the next word be?"


"Exactly, a ditch. But you know what he said?"


"He said, a 'double dip recession'. Now you hear that and it doesn't really register. That's not what comes to mind. Don't they know anything about cadence, about framing an idea....."

Cadence, yes that's an interesting point, I said. Charlotte was like horses let out of the coral.

"They're still acting as though this was all a civilized debate, like we're still living in a civil society. The whole language of debate has gone out the window. There is no civilized society any more."

So how do you want Dems to act?

"I want them to be less corrupt, because both sides drink from the same trough. And I want them to stand up and fight. Alan Grayson. Weiner. Like the way those two fight. I'm just sitting here in horror watching all this. You know what Bill Clinton said that's really true? He said, people respond to a leader who is strong and wrong much better than a leader who is weak and right."

"Every day I become more discouraged," she went on.

People have lost the ability to think critically, I said.

"Yes, and you know where that started. That started with No Child Left Behind. And who handled that? Neil Bush handled that. And what was that about? It was about teaching to the test and so we have a generation of kids who were taught to take a test, don't remember anything from the courses they took and never learned to think critically, never learned to question or analyze....

You believe that was a conspiracy.

"I do and I'm not a conspiracy theorist. But I believe that. Read Crashing the Gate. It's the 'conspiracy of self interest.' Not a literal conspiracy, but a conspiracy of self interest. Everything is for money. That whole education initiative was for the economic benefit of the testors. And then of course if they don't teach to the test, the school gets no money, and the whole cycle tightens. And that's how you get a permanent underclass."

She paused.

"So that's why I'm not getting involved this time. I'm just too discouraged. I feel further and further distanced from everything I believe that's good in this country. And by the way the other day I went to visit the San Francisco Unified School District and I met some of the lower income workers, not teachers, but security guards and the people who work in the cafeterias, those unions have all but collapsed, and what's interesting is how conservative those people have become. They're the ones listening to Rush Limbaugh and they honestly believe that the Republicans have their interests at heart. I know someone else. A friend of a friend's father. He always thought the way to be rich was to be a Republican. And now it's all these years later and he still doesn't have any money and he's a still a Republican. How do you describe the stupidity of people in this country? Seriously, how do you?"

I don't know. It's a job for H.L. Mencken. But I'm asking you one more time if you won't reconsider and come out and help us.

"Okay. Where do I go? When does it start? How many calls do I have to make? We're all going to hell in a handbasket, I might as well....

No comments: