October 30th, 2008

Pixel Stained

"Semper vigilans"

Complacency is the biggest thing Democrats have to face. It’s an even bigger risk for those of us who are progressive. Yes, I identify myself as a liberal these days. As I’ve said before I didn’t do that 20 years ago. Twenty years ago the political spectrum was more balanced than it is today, and I was a slightly right of center sort of guy. These days, I’m what passes for a screaming Leftist in American politics.

Think about that. Me, a guy who likes to play with guns, supports the Army (warts and all), has spent the past 16 years in a uniform, I’m a screaming liberal? Why? Because I think the 4th and 5th amendments are important. Because I think the 1st amendment isn’t used often enough. Because I think the 9th amendment not only means what it says (The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. and the next time someone tells you there’s no right to privacy in the Constitution, point that out to them... the Constitution isn’t prescriptive, but proscriptive) but was placed before the 10th (The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.) on purpose, and that the last word on that subject is, again, those rights not prohibited (like unreasonable search) are reserved, finally to us the people.

What makes me a screaming leftist? That I think the Gov’t isn’t the source of power. That I think the Gov’t has NO rights, but that its authority is on loan from We, the People.

I think the Preamble means a lot, and that promoting the general welfare, establishing justice and securing the blessings of liberty are what the gov’t is for. The most important job of the President isn’t “keeping America safe” at home, it’s seeing to it we don’t fragment into a couple of hundred petty countries vying with one another for those things we bound ourselves together to obtain.

When I was in my 20s, I took it for granted things would get better. Homosexuals would get the same rights straights enjoyed. Women would get equal pay for equal work, and rise to the level of their incompetence, just like men. Blacks would have less and less discrimination to face (and how sad that the place where both of those seem to be best handled is in the Armed Forces... one of the things a benevolent dictator can make happen, but it’s no way to run a country).

I was complacent. I failed to realise the efforts those who want control will go to curtail the growth of individual liberty. I had bought into the national myths. But we weren’t founded on just the idea of “freedom”, no. We had a large steak of greed and intolerance in there too. The Declaration of Independence was a set of complaints, along with a list of demands. The complaints were legitimate, but the demands were meant to be refused.

Why do I say that? Because the last thing the people complaining about the taxes wanted was to be represented in parliament. They would have been voted down; and with that the grievances they had been really complaining about (the taxes) would have to be swallowed. That, or become simple rebels.

We forget that at our peril.

We have the chance to reverse some of that. Tuesday marks a pivotal battle in that struggle. I keep trying to find descriptive phrase to describe Obama. He’s not “black”, though the nation sees him as such. He’s, “biracial”. He grew up with white folks, in Hawaii. He worked to help the folks at the bottom get a rung, or two, up the ladder. He went to Harvard, and studied the bones of the nation; which he then went on to teach.

He is “elite” in the best sense of that word. He sums up the dream I was fed in 2nd grade, when they told me, “anyone can grow up to be president.” It’s not true, Money gets in the way. It can be overcome, but that’s the trick, to overcome.

So... looking at the numbers, “our guy” is gonna win on Tuesday. Bully for us.

But those same people who spent the last 20 years (that I noticed) fighting to reverse the increase of liberty; who busted unions, rolled back privacy, nibbled at search (and swallowed seizure whole... just look at RICO, and tremble when you contemplate the PATRIOT Act) and installed a man who says the laws he signs apply to everyone but him, are still there.

They may try to slink into the shadows a bit, but they aren’t going to leave. All the things we’ve spent the past eight years doing... the phone calls, the e-mails, the faxes, the blogging, can’t stop. Between now and Tuesday we have to make sure the places like Arizona (which appears to be in play) get focus. We have to make sure the places like Calif. don’t lose attentions (there are initiatives, like 4, and 7 and 8, which flat out need to fail. Honestly, I think I am voting down every thing except Prop 1).

Come Wednesday.... Ok, Weds. they can stop. We’ll have earned the right to a day of celebration (that is, unless the election seems to have been stolen... then it’s kitty bar the door, and a full court press), but Thursday, back to the grindstone. The stables are filthy and the folks who fouled them aren’t going to easily be persuaded to clean them.

They work for us, and at our pleasure. Since I’m more than a trifle displeased, they need to be reminded, and nagged, harried, pressed, until things are better. When they do well (as Feinstein did opposing Prop. 8) they need some praise. Hell, they need praise for the least little trifle. The being hounded is demoralising. Getting a cookie is thrilling, and we want them to be thrilled.

The pundit class will fight it. They are already telling Obama he has to reach across the aisle. Well we’ve been told what the other side thinks of that. They think date raped and gelded is the role of a Democratic Minority, and a stonewalling opposition is the role of a Republican one.

Basta That can’t be allowed to stand. The first order of business is to break the filibuster. Not by using Trent Lott’s “nuclear option,” no. We start calling and e-mailing our senators to insist that those who want to filibuster, actually be forced to do it. We blog about it.

They want to kill something, make ‘em do it public. It can be semi-symbolic. Make ‘em hold the floor for 24 hours. Then table the bill (so it can be brought back). Then we bring out the next one they hate, and make them do it again. If they want to obstruct, make ‘em. Then, when 2010 comes around they can’t say the Dems couldn’t get anything done.

And for every message you send to a senator... copy it to the White House. Just maybe the Office of the President can put some spine back into the people we elected to represent us.

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More photo writing

I did a piece on a subject I've tackled before, how pictures tell stories.

Story Arc

A picture, we say, is worth a thousand words. Which is fine, as far as it goes, but is that enough to tell a story? Sometimes it is. The kid, smile so big it takes over her face as she looks at the trophy, all tousled and pink with the effort of the competition just concluded; her parents in the background.

Comments are closed here, in the hope they will be made there. I'll talk with my web-manager and see what can be done with the registration issue.