Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wherein Dwells the Last Smidgeon of Hope for America

Hope springs eternal.  Could 2011 be "our" year?  I feel like a fan of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, who could reach the World Series but not win it.  "Wait Till Next Year" was a headline the Brooklyn Eagle published every October.

Now we have an historic opportunity to end the two-party system that has failed us so miserably. Not only should we form a true party of the left in the United States, but our liberal class should rally around its perfect choice to run for president: Russ Feingold of Wisconsin.  Russ, like millions of other Americans, needs a job and he's a perfect fit for the one in the Oval Office.

The only non-millionaire in the U.S. Senate lost his seat in the craziness  that we called the mid-term elections. The only potential Presidential candidate since John F. Kennedy who can't be bought, Feingold has the experience, integrity and temperament not just to be President, but to to be very good at it. When Kennedy stoked up his Presidential ambitions, he was so rich in his own right that no outside interest could afford to try to buy him.  Feingold, like Guernica, simply isn't for sale.  Don't even bother trying. Not that anyone would.  The richest, the most powerful, the most greedy among us are already devoted to bringing down Barrack Obama. No serious money will go to any other cause. Under the two-party system, all those dollars mean that the Republican nominee will be elected in 2012, even if the Republican nominee is someone as spectacularly ignorant, arrogant and unqualified as Sarah What's-Her-Name, the machine-gun Mama, wolf-killer and Murdoch-made TV star.

And so the last, best hope for reviving democracy in America is to form a third party now, nominate Russ Feingold and then put together something nationwide that clones what Russ did on his first Senate run. He had no money. He wasn't for sale to raise any. So he walked all over the state of Wisconsin knocking on doors and introducing himself to real voters.  If they elected him, he told them, he would be beholden only to their best interests.  Sometimes, like a parent, he would he would have to give them medicine that didn't taste very good, but it would always be in their best interests. Always. Alas, after the planes flew into the twin towers, Americans lost all sense of decency, logic and fairness.  They stopped swallowing Russ's good medicine that tasted bad and booted his ass out of Washington.

Perhaps Wisconsin's loss will be the country's gain.  Perhaps a handful of wealthy progressives like George Soros will put up the seed money to create a new political party, then bow out and turn it over to real people to build upon, doorbell by doorbell and penny by penny. Perhaps all those little people, real  citizens who unlike most of their fellow Murkins have retained the capacity to think, folks who realize that it's not the taste of the medicine but its healing powers that matter, individual and marginalized and near terminal frustration with their impotence against corporate wealth and  greed, the jobless, the millions still without health care, the recent graduates staggering under a load of student debt and the flesh-pecking of decadent lenders, the once middle-class workers whose homes have been plunged into foreclosure by the very bankers who ruined the economy, betrayed by both political parties and weeping with no one to hear, cynics now who once believed in something called The American Dream, bled dry and impoverished by endless war that endangers them rather than making them safer, aggrieved and angry with no one to tell their stories to,  homeless, helpless. . .

Perhaps these millions of little people will decide not to take it any more, to join the doorbell-ringers for Russ, to squeeze nickels and dimes out of already thin budgets for food and medicine and essentials, add them to the pennies  in the treasury of the new party of the left, and stage one last desperate populist movement to save American democracy.


I tried the other day, in vain, to remember where I first saw the Zen-like slogan whose perspicacious ambivalence I have treasured for more than half a century.  "There is no solution," it said.  "Seek it lovingly."

Now I remember.  It was on a bumper sticker.  In Wisconsin.

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