How can we demand courage from our leaders when we have so little?

Cross posted at KOS

How can we demand courage from our leader when we have so little?

How can we continue to support candidates who do not support us NOW?

How can we uphold the Constitution when we allow others to abrogate our most important responsibility, our vote?

How can we beg for change when we cannot face change?

How can we save the planet when we cannot save ourselves?

Follow me below the fold and I will give you my take on why who and what we are can be another recipe for a continuing disaster.

How can we demand courage from our leaders when we have so little?

We want leaders who are unafraid to take courageous stands and when they do we find reasons to not support them. Being right isn’t enough, being wrong doesn’t seem to matter. But being wrong is important and it has to do with courage.

We have candidates with a great deal of support who have been just plain wrong on a number of very important issues. They didn’t take courageous stands when it counted. Some have yet to address these votes in any meaningful way, some learned from their first error and some have openly appologised for their mistakes. While those admissions are a good thing, as one of the candiates pointed out we need a president who is right the first time. That IS the thing, you know. Presidents don’t get do overs and Congress doesn’t either, all these mistakes have serious consequences. The War in Iraq is a bell that can’t be unrung. No amount of I’m sorry and mia culpas will breath live into the dead, make the maimed whole or find a home for the millions disposessed. Can we, or even should we trust someone capable of such momumnetal lapses in judgement and lack of courage to lead us effectively? My answer is obviously no.

How can we continue to support candidates who do not support us NOW? When Chris Dodd fought the FISA bill the other candidates were not there to support him, they were still campaigning in Iowa. Dodd has gained some support but what is really telling is the three candidates who should have been there to vote or assist his fillabuster and weren’t, haven’t lost support. If they want to lead in january 2009 they need to lead NOW. They need to tend to their day jobs and stop putting campaigning and winning ahead of the well being of the country and its citizens. We DO have the right to expect, even demand this of candidates, because there comes a time in any campaign when fighting each other just isn’t as important as taking those few opportunities to fight the problems we face NOW.

How can we uphold the Constitution when we allow others to abrogate our most important responsibility, our vote?

Weeks before the Iowa Caucus, without a single vote being cast the winners and losers were preordained by pollsters, the GOP and the MSM, and we went right along on the fast track to hell. Some certainly thought it is easier to support a winner, but we can’t possibly WIN when we sell out our vote for the agenda of others. Already there have been discussions about what will happen to the candidate who don’t do well in Iowa, who will their supporters endorse. IOWA for god’s sake is a CAUCUS, it isn’t even representative of the citizens of Iowa, many of whom will not be able to participate, historically less than 10% of voters and we are willing to take this as some kind of make or break MANDATE?

So why fight when you have no chance of winning? Splitting the primaries, a Convention without a clear winner isn’t a bad thing. It gives us one more chance to press our issues. It also gives the courageous candidates an opportunity to withhold their support without meaningful changes to the platform. These are interesting times and why not an interesting Convention? Maybe people will actually watch and become involved in the process again.

How can we beg for change when we cannot face change?

Truthfully, aren’t most of our candidates at best just same old, same old lite? Where are the bold ideas. Where is the Democratic party of FDR, the can do, will do, all of us get to participate progressive agenda that made the Democratic party the party of the people? How can we support baby steps? How can we support a health care plan that includes insurance companies who contributed to the health care crisis we are in, or a plan that ignores the complications of insuring the most vulnerable among us? How can we support a continuation of the aggressive foreign policy that has made us a rogue nation or not ending the Iraq war in the first 100 days? Or less than 100% support of labor unions and worker rights? How can we support the lack of bold solutions to the climate crisis, wrong headed immigration reform, the continuation of the unitary president and no move to hold the present administration accountable? How can we support? But we do. We aren’t pressing hard enough for the real innovative changes necessary to turn this country around, not now and not even sometime in the future. This shouldn’t be scary, or even unattainable, we have after all a perfect example of what a solution oriented man of vision can accomplish in FDR.

How can we save the planet when we cannot save ourselves?

It is all back to the beginning, it takes courage. There is nothing facing us today that isn’t going to take courage to fix. It isn’t even about the will to make the changes, because without courage there is no will. This is the time and the chance we have, I don’t think it is hyperbole to say if we let this opportunity pass there may not be another. We complain about our leaders selling out, we can’t afford to do the same. We can’t afford to make this easy for ourselves or the candidates, or set the bar too low. Ask those questions until you get the right answer, look their solutions and judgement. Be critical, be smart, be courageous.

As an activist friend of mine says so elequently “Now is the time, we are the means”. She uses it to inspire demonstrations, but we can all be activists in the voting booth.


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  1. The courage to face down a felony charge for reading the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record.

    Unike “I could go to jail’ from the Dem leaders who were briefed on torture and illegal spying, and failed to do squat. And thanks to the precedent Gravel set, they did not, indeed, face a possibility of imprisonment.

  2. as realism is out of kilter. All candidates and political figures who speak the truth are nut jobs or extreme or fringe.  I spent the day at a meeting where I was told that I was being socially unpleasant and depressing when the talk turned political and I spoke my mind about the ‘campaign’. This was in a group of liberals, self defined, who insisted we were on the same page LOL.

    The truth is too painful and would require most to let go of the fictions they entertain and actually face the truth. The Fu’s ranged from, it’s always been this way, I recycle (my fav.), we should be grateful me have houses and cheap shit, the Islamo fascists are worse, be joyful, the vote is rigged, ad nauseum. how does one confront this denial and lock step?

    My vote goes to he who as Armando says will represent the issues most closly aliened to mine, but how to talk to the real Dems. the ones out there who don’t know any reality but the current worst of evils? How can we win when the mind set is so conditioned to the politics of the best of evils instead of the empowerment of the people.        

    • banger on December 21, 2007 at 03:09

    Politicians reflect the culture and the power-relations within it. I think the American system, however tainted, does that pretty well–they are power-brokers not “leaders”. Leaders have to emerge within our own ranks. But leadership has to be based on some share narrative with those that want to be led. The problem is that most of us are dominated by our private lives and our private narratives–thus the public sphere is impovrished. TV and consumerism means that we seek transcendence not in spiritual values but in escapism and hedonism–even if we claim to be “spiritual”. Only when we value something above our own lives can we find virtues like courage. Only when we share a collective value, a collective narrative that values and honors virtue can leaders emerge to articulate and focus us on achieving goals and establishing a convivial society.

    Question is how do we achieve a collective set of values that transcend our personal interest? Here I don’t mean in theory but in a way that puts our lives on the line–and not foolishly. If I’m going to join a movement I expect to be taken care of if I’m hurt and supported when I’m down–in turn, I will do the same. From that comes community and political power. No other way is possible. Because we lack that we are headed towards a kind of authoritarian or neo-feudal political arrangement.

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