Tuesday, November 2, 2010

hope remains

some of the victors are howling already. it's been a slow, at times painful trudge through the murk of electoral politics this season, and as usual the question is, can liberals face one another tomorrow feeling, as most of us do, like we have a chunk of flesh ripped from our sides?

it's been a mixed bag of results. the house has been lost to democrats and the most powerful woman in american political history is hitting the showers. christine o'donnell was beaten like a red-headed stepchild. rand paul was not. andy cuomo was elected; michelle bachman probably was too. russ feingold was defeated. my friend liz was defeated. so many liberals, defeated; so many self-described tea partiers, victorious.

in the long run of course it means nothing. but like john maynard keynes pointed out, in the long run we're all dead, and that's just as depressing. it's a time I want to crawl into bed and not pop out until the country has caught up with its better angels, which is to say never. but that's not going to effect any sort of change and it's certainly not going to make my life any better. years ago, when john kerry was defeated by george w. bush, I prided myself that, had he won, I wouldn't have said, "well, that's that," and left the heavy lifting for others to do. I remind myself that that's even more the case now. we can feel badly--we fought a hard battle against a sometimes dishonorable foe and won in some places, lost in others, some of the losses more galling because the winners were unwilling to play by accepted rules--and that and $1.50 will get you bad coffee.

if there is a bright spot to much of this it's the realization that tomorrow the cold water of reality will hit many of the tea partiers who've been elected as they will discover that their theories about both fiscal responsibility and low taxes are lovely theories and nothing more. it will be a fine thing to watch john boehner's face as he tries to convince the rest of the house to cut spending without actually cutting anything, or watching eric cantor as he finds that the government really does have a revenue problem, especially after so many years of tax cuts for the wealthiest 5%.

but while those bright spots feel good they aren't worthy of what's best about us, which is the ability to get back outside in the sunshine and continue. we will drag our bloody stumps along behind us because that's what people do, and despite what our enemies say, we are very much human. but the fact remains, bloody stump and all, we need to do. at the risk of sounding a stereotype, I will quote chairman mao: "in times of difficulty we must not lose sight of our achievements, must see the bright future and must pluck up our courage."

in the midst of despair, hope remains. what must we do? keep an eye to our achievements, which are many, watch the horizon for our next opportunity, and stand in the wind. decades ago, my favorite tv show was dr. who, specifically the ones starring peter davison. I was reminded this morning of the farewell line given by one of his companions. "brave heart, tegan."

brave hearts, all.

No comments:

Post a Comment