Wednesday, November 03, 2004

All out of rage

Unlike Mel, I really believed it could happen. Living in a blue state helped me to believe that, I'm sure. As someone who watched her students get really excited about politics this season, I'm with Mel in hoping that they, and other new voters, do not now feel that their engagement was for naught.

I liked what Jimbo wrote in his post-election post, especially this part:

[W]e lefties have to start thinking seriously about what we want this country to be. A collection of plans is not a vision. Hatred of conservatives is not a vision (it's arguably a blindness). What do we want? What do we want? What do we see as our nation's, we, the people's call in the world?...

We have to be called. And it has been so long since the left has blown its trumpet, since the left has issued a call to us rather than a five-year plan, since it has asked us to give of ourselves for ourselves in the making of a better world. Call us, please, call us. Let the trumpet ring. It's time to wake up from our dream and change the world.

In the past 24 hours, I've gone from dismay to disbelief to depression to frustration to numbness to terrified resignation. The only emotion that's missing is rage. And that's odd, 'cause, lately, I'm very good at rage.

But rage is exhausting and unproductive. And rage isn't going to make the war any saner, the Supreme Court any safer, or the environment less imperiled. Rage can be a catalyst, but it's also a poison — and one more likely to damage she who wields it than the people or things to which it's applied.

What I'm feeling instead tonight is a deep fatigue. But also a growing certainty that what the country needs now are local leaders who are steady and steadfast and brave. It needs people with the kind of patience that enables a clear-eyed idealism and the type of humor that enables sustained efforts for change.

(And, in my own field at least, we could use a few more people willing to lead by example instead of self-righteous indignation.)

There's no comfort (for me, at least) in hating Republicans, or Ohio, or even the horrible Karl Rove. As Jimbo said, hating conservatives is not a vision. Let's set concrete goals. Let's live the lives and be the global citizens we know we should. Let's wake from the dream and roll up our sleeves.


At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a start, I'm proud that at least the Obama part of my ballot went to good use.

I'd love to see platform renovation starting now, with a stronger green agenda; support for science as something more than just the drudgework of pharma and oil companies; a concrete plan for public education that teaches--among other things--media crit, and that helps people afford college without *having* to join the military; a renewed focus on keeping the peace, and not waging war; active "shadow government" diplomatic outreach to our (former) allies and beyond; principled, humanist stands against the assembled anti-woman campaigns (on choice, on a fair wage, on equal opportunity, on harassment); and a proposal of a corporate moral code such that our corporate "citizens" will have to act like citizens instead of cash-laden global economic vigilantes. And that's just the first week...

How do we start?

At 9:08 AM, Blogger anbruch said...

Victoria asks what we should do? Organize, organize, organize. Don't form the circular firing squad, which is our usual tactic in this situation. But mostly we just need to figure out what we want. We on the left have been so worried about tactics and defense ever since I've been politically active that we haven't really thought about what we want this country to be. We need to have that dialogue, then we need to start putting forward our story of the better America we want, that we believe it can be.


At 9:50 PM, Blogger What Now? said...

I hear you on rage. I was so consumed by rage yesterday that I completely wore myself out and lost hope. I actually kept having visions of physically hurting Bush-voters--so unlike me, so not in keeping with my views of democracy, so wrong in every way. Today the rage is gone (although there is definitely some weariness today as a result), and I'm back to remembering that working for justice and inclusion and civil rights and a better future isn't just an every-four-years-election event but is ongoing and important and continues no matter who is president. I think that I got so caught up in the presidential election that I temporarily forgot about the important, ongoing work on the ground. So I'm feeling much calmer and more hopeful now that the rage is gone, although I'm still terribly disappointed and sad.

At 5:31 PM, Blogger YelloCello said...

Not sure what to say, except call me if any of you three decide to run for office.


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