HAPPY FOURTH ANNIVERSARY TO ME
I just realized that I wrote my first post for this blog on April 18, 2004. Four years and 3,309 posts later, I am no better satisfied with the direction of this country than I was then. I am not much more confident that we will elect a Democrat to the White House this year than I was when John Kerry was challenging W. Our choices will likely be between Barack Obama and John McCain. What a relief after eight years of the Shrub! Two more arrogant, entitled men who think their "judgment" is a superior substitute to hard work, research, slogging through policy issues, and "feeling the pain" of the masses.
These past four years, I've been laboring under the delusion that Democrats were united more than ever in recent memory, in our primary pursuits: to win a majority in Congress and to take the White House; to advance a progressive agenda that includes a rational and diplomatic foreign policy; universal healthcare; fair taxation; an enlightened and forward-thinking energy policy; a reclaiming of our civil rights; re-establishing the United States as a country that does not torture, a bulwark of democracy and a supporter of democratic values throughout the world; strengthening the tools and agencies of government by eradicating the partisanship that has so weakened them; supporting scientific and medical research and combatting the climate crisis; and putting qualified judges on the bench that will balance the rightward swing of the judiciary; abolishing the electoral college in favor of the popular vote and revising ballot processes to ensure that the people's will is carried out in elections. Besides all that, I've expected our next Democratic president to rebuild our broken military, get us out of Iraq in the quickest manner while preserving the safety of our troops, and to freaking REBUILDING NEW ORLEANS.
That's a boatload of stuff for any one president to accomplish, or even to set in motion. There's only one candidate I have the slightest notion could tackle it all, competently and effectively. That's Hillary Clinton. I can't even imagine (and believe me, I've tried) a Barack Obama walking into the Oval Office on Day One with an aide reciting in his ear the limited litany of issues I've just mentioned. Every time I try, I see two scenarios only: (1) the deer-in-the-headlights look on Obama's face, then its relaxation when he realizes that if W could get through it, he could; (2) a gesture of his hands brushing off the detritus on his shoulder as he responds, "There are people for that, right?"
With Hillary, I can so clearly see her saying, "I know all that, I've got a policy and implementation plan all ready for each of them. Ask Ann to give you the schedule."
Back to the fourth anniversary. Here I've imagined for the past four years that this was going to be the Great Awakening, that the disasters of the Bush years would have proven so conclusively how risky it is to install an untried, inexperienced, gut-truster in the most powerful position in the world, that Democrats, with their wealth of worthy candidates, would offer an irresistible alternative: a grownup. Not so much.
But just as awful for my idealistic expectations, I've been witness this past year to an ugliness among the left blogosphere, a rampant sexism that I thought was a thing of the past, among the media and the blogs, a glee at the prospect of finally, FINALLY getting rid of the Clintons and all those pesky inferior mainstream Democrats, that has sickened and depressed me. What's happened to the progressive community? Have they been infiltrated by neo-Republicans? Has KOS really just been lying in wait for all these years since he ostensibly converted from ReThuglican to Dem, just to extract some kind of sick vengeance against our Party, or is he just lusting for influence?
Okay, that was a bit of hyperbole (I think, I hope). But my point is, it's not a happy anniversary for me. I'm disappointed in Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, the so-called "progressive" blogosphere, in so many folks with whom I thought I'd found a home over the past four years. I don't despise them. I don't even understand why they despise me and all the other Hillary supporters. I certainly don't understand how they could despise Hillary Clinton herself. I've put a lot of time and energy into those 3,309 posts (make this one 3,310), hoping to touch base with other like-minded people, maybe provide a little information and perspective to some, add to the civil political discourse in a small way, but mostly to feel connected to a community that offered, I thought, hope that after the eight long years of Bush/Cheney/Rove we could win one again. Now that the on-line left has adopted the same principles, rhetoric and tactics they so decried in their Republican opponents, I feel the four years were in some respects a waste of time, based on an illusion.