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Fighting on the home front

In my yard stands an Obama for President sign. Plastered on my back car bumper is an Obama ‘08 sticker. Yes, I feel he would be the better President for our country in the challenging years to come.

But if he doesn’t win, I won’t blame Republicans.

Well, sure, I’ll blame Republicans and Democrats alike for being foolish enough to rely on Internet emails and Rush Limbaugh or Jon Stewart for their political understanding of the candidates. And sure, I’ll be wild-eyed in wonder at the Republican state of mind, such as it is.

But mostly, I’ll blame Democrats who talk big and walk small.

To wit:

A close friend who won’t ask his parents who they’re voting for in the upcoming election. His family doesn’t talk about politics, he says.

I love my friend dearly, but I’m discouraged by his reluctance to fight for his country. I’m disappointed by the ease with which he passes off the burden of fighting to put a different kind of administration in the Oval Office to one man named Obama.

He’s smart enough to be scared about what a Palin/McCain administration would do to this country, but apparently he’s just not scared enough to have an uncomfortable conversation with his parents.

After all, it’s not like he’s going to be drafted, make less money for equal work, or get pregnant.

Before the conventions, a guy in his 30s told me he wasn’t going to watch the conventions, he’d just tune in to Jon Stewart for the highlights. Now, Jon’s a wicked insightful, funny-as-hell comic-cum-pundit, but watching him for 20 sarcastic minutes to understand the several-hour dynamics of the two most important political events for each party, is, while admittedly a whole lot more fun, a little lame.

A business colleague told me she’s no longer sure she’ll vote for Obama because he didn’t choose Hillary to be his running mate. There’s such a yuck factor in that thinking – reminds me of all the married women who tell me they withhold sex from their husbands until they get what they want from them. Double yuck.

A couple of women, both over 50, have told me they won’t put an Obama sticker on their cars or put signs in their yards because of possible disapproval from coworkers or neighbors, or possible retaliation from McCain supporters in the grocery parking lot.

They’re both lovely women. They both live alone. I understand their hesitation.

But I don’t accept it.

This is no time for commitment in half measure.

And me? I should talk. For all my sign-posting, sticker-sticking, column-writing, and friend-bashing in this blog, I haven’t been able to bring myself to respond to one of my best friends from high school and ask her about the pro-Palin e-forwards she keeps sending me. I just ignore her emails and feel badly about myself and cringe at my own cowardice. Would it hurt me to at least having a respectful dialogue with her about Palin?

Our country is literally on a precipice, and I’m afraid a woman I haven’t seen since high school will stop liking me if I challenge our relationship by discussing politics.

We Democrats can talk passionately about how inept Bush is and how trippin’ Palin and McCain are.

But it all means jack unless we’re willing to put ourselves on the line for this country the way soldiers and presidential nominees do.

To risk an uncomfortable conversation with friends or family. To risk getting our houses egged. To risk having our cars keyed or tires slashed. To risk feeling disappointed that your VP choice isn’t on the ticket. To risk losing a client who sees your sticker supporting a candidate he does not. To risk perhaps losing a friend.

If even one Democrat is truly afraid to show or speak support for Obama, then there might be others who are afraid — and if one person puts a sign out in their yard or a sticker on their car, it might make others feel safer doing so as well.

To risk is to serve. And every time a Democrat chooses to not risk – to keep silent in some way about the dangers of a Palin/McCain administration, we are complicit in our own demise as a party, as a country, and as a people.

If we refuse to help create groundswell support by posting signs and sporting stickers, if we only talk with other Democrats who are already supporting Obama, we’re spinning our wheels and desperately losing critical ground.

We’ve got to be willing to risk whatever we think we might lose – whatever repercussions we think we might suffer.

Because if the Republicans win this election, we’ll be losing a helluva lot more.

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Posted on September 11th, 2008Comments RSS Feed
6 Responses to Fighting on the home front
  1. I personally can not recommend Obama at this time due to his lack of experience, lack of commitment in the past, and the lack of a “hot” running mate.

    Maybe, the next time around.

    As for me, I’m still going to vote for PAT PAULSEN, the guy would make a perfect president.

    Reply
  2. Bad news for you John, Pat Paulsen died 11 years ago.Perhaps you can vote for Dickie Smothers as a write in candidate.He still lives in Sarasota and seems like a good guy when I see him. Hot running mate indeed!!Hell you never saw the pix of Joe Biden in Speedos..Enough on all this what on earth does it mean lack of commitment in the past???????

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  3. Being held hostage in a Blue State
    September 11, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    How can you support a candidate who wants to cut taxes for 95% of Americans of which 40% don’t pay taxes……………. sond econimic policy there!

    Reply
  4. “Bad news for you John, Pat Paulsen died 11 years ago”. Perfect! It would force both houses to come to a very large majority to pass any legislation. Incidentally, it was Dickie Smothers that first suggested it to me.

    “Hell you never saw the pix of Joe Biden in Speedos”. Umm, no.. And, I don’t want to.

    “what on earth does it mean lack of commitment in the past?”

    Alexander Russo reports in Slate magazine:

    For several months, Obama didn’t indicate clearly where his sympathies lay. He didn’t join with protesters and other legislators who swarmed public events denouncing the Vallas proposal. He didn’t talk to the press about the importance of community engagement for schools or the unfairness of diminishing the influence of the 5,500 elected LSC members. Obama kept tabs on the negotiations through his staff, met occasionally with local-control advocates, and, according to those who were involved, sometimes provided ideas and advice in private. But that was about it. Some local advocates weren’t even sure whether he would ultimately be on their side or not. And many worried that without someone like Obama to stop it, the Vallas juggernaut would overrun any opposition …

    In the end, support for Vallas’ proposal suddenly collapsed … Only after the fig leaf was in place did Obama come out publicly in support of local school councils, making a brief speech on the Senate floor to codify the final agreement preserving local councils’ authority …

    In being so late to the debate, however, Obama didn’t really have to stand up to anyone—not the groups he was affiliated with, not Vallas, not Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. He was just approving the final result. He remained loyal to his roots, but only when it was easy to do so. To some critics, this is exactly the problem. “Obama has no history of standing up to school interests or anyone else,” says Dan Cronin, the Republican state senator who handled the 1999 legislation (and recalls little if any involvement from Obama). “If you look at his past record, there’s nothing that’s particularly bold or creative.”

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  5. “Before the conventions, a guy in his 30s told me he wasn’t going to watch the conventions, he’d just tune in to Jon Stewart for the highlights. Now, Jon’s a wicked insightful, funny-as-hell comic-cum-pundit, but watching him for 20 sarcastic minutes to understand the several-hour dynamics of the two most important political events for each party, is, while admittedly a whole lot more fun, a little lame.”

    The theme of your latest post appears to be about political inaction and fear of openly supporting Obama. I don’t see how the above quote really fits that theme.

    And is it really “lame” to avoid watching the conventions which are nothing more than an astonishing amount of money being wasted on marketing and theatrics in order to sell a “product”. I compare it to an infomercial. Do I really need to sit through a multi-day infomercial about a product to decide if that product is “right for me”? How much do I really learn about the “product” the Democrats or Republicans are selling, when everything is scripted and marketed with the intent of swaying the “buyer”. It seems like a better way for me to decide if the Democrat or Republican “product” would be best for me, would be to evaluate where each side stands on the issues (optimally from an objective source), see the products tested side-by-side (debates), and/or see the “products” intensely scrutinized, even if it means doing so using comedy and sarcasm (Daily Show, Colbert Report, Bill Maher). Furthermore, ironic as it may seem, I believe I can gain a more realistic grasp of a candidate by watching them be interviewed by Jon Stewart than I could ever gain watching them recite a speech at any convention. Jon Stewart may be a comedian but he asks some of the more critical questions others are afraid to ask.

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  6. Thanks John for your insights and I appreciate you answering my questions!I am surprised that Michael Kinsley allowed Russo to write that about Barack!

    Reply

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