Fear, Frustration and Joining Together

We are in a new era. For eight years we have been able to Blame Bush. We have been able to assign all of our fears and all that is wrong to him.

But now….we are alone. We have no one to blame. Unless you want to blame Obama for being imperfect in trying to respond to the world he has been left.

We were united by opposition to Bush….what unites us now?

We have no clear single scapegoat now…..and we are facing a TRULY scary future without one. Financial collapse and Climate Change are here and they are real and they are incredibly scary. That fear makes us angry and makes us cranky and without a scapegoat….we have to face both the future…and our fear…head on.

Try as we might, there is little that we can do as individuals to change this.

Yet the fear that it engenders and the reality it portends won’t go away.

That leaves us three choices. We can give in to the fear and either lash out at others, or hide away… or we can band together to work with and support each other. Though it may not seem so on the surface, this is indeed a very hard choice. Perhaps the hardest thing there is. Fear of the unknown is one of the most powerful forces we know. It is in fact responsible for the entire Conservative Movement…who are SO afraid of change and the future…that they seek to stop it.

We can give in to the fear and either lash out at others, or hide away… or we can band together to work with and support each other. Hiding won’t keep you safe from the future. And lashing out only serves to drive us apart. Often to drive away from us the very people we need, like, or love. Because they are the easiest and closest targets when we lash out.

Can we really, in these times, afford to indulge our destructive impulses towards bickering, finding fault and blaming others for our fears and frustrations? Or can we find a way to overcome and overlook the relatively small transgressions of like minded others in order to find a way to come together?

Ok sure, that makes sense in and on its own merits. Except for when we get REALLY pissed!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then we ask (unconsciously, where most if not all of our reactions are born) Join together how? With whom? Where? And we unconsciously, as we are programmed  by evolution and society to do…look for a leader. A classic scenario then unfolds. People are afraid, they look for someone to tell them that everything will be alright. They put their faith in this leader, deposit all of their fears and hopes on that leader….and they feel better.

Until that leader does something…or says something….or DOESN”T say something….that they don’t like.

Then they proceed to tear that leader down, Then their OTHER programming, the programming of rebelling against authority kicks in (which tends to be high amongst thinking creative people who can read history and see the perfidy and betrayal of leader after leader) and they destroy that leader. It happens again and again. Cycles of programming, impulse/reaction and fear bring people together into groups and civilizations…and then destroy them. And then we wonder, as we are tearing the latest celebrity or political or group leader to shreds….why their are no leaders anymore.

In order to face the incredibly serious challenges we are up against, we have to change these cycles. We have to learn to control our impulses and respond not react. We have to be responsible for our own hopes and fears and not assign them to some leader. We have to stop lashing out at the smallest of disagreements and letting our fear and frustration blow them up into “The Most Important Thing In The World.”

Even while the world is burning around us.

How the fuck are we ever going to get anywhere if we allow ourselves to do that?

Over and over and over.

Now, to take the macro down to the micro….us. Docudharma.

These are NOT conventional times. You are not conventional people. And as much as people seem to want me to be, I am not a conventional “leader.” Even if I wanted to be…..that model does not work. And I will not do something that does not work. (Even though I am tempted by the power involved…..which is a damn good reason for me NOT to be one)

I am an equal.

Sometimes I lead, sometimes I don’t….sometimes I can’t. I am not perfect, I don’t have all the answers and I have no more idea of WTF we should do than you do, most of the time. I am smart, yes, but so are you. I am somewhat charismatic, but so are you. I can be a leader, but so can you.

The one thing I do know is that the old way does not work. And so we cannot do things the old way. Which means that we need a new way.

A way that we invent together.

A way to join together, without the traps of the past ensnaring us.

Every moment of everyday, with every breath we take.

That is scary, and hard, and a LOT of work.

But what else do you have to do?

What else will transform…and save… the world?

Joining together, cooperating, is the only way we will make it. It is a LONG way from the world, the country and the blogs we are in now to there. As we walk into the future, we need to grow and change with each step, become the change we NEED to see with each step. We need to get over the obstacles in that road and stop falling into the potholes we find along the way and play in the mud.

The time to start walking is….as always… now.


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  1. We will fall apart.


  2. And I want to apologize to the whole community for my own descent into frustration in your “meta” essay the other day (I don’t want to link to it, but perhaps that’s just my embarrassment).

    I’ve given my feelings alot of thought and came to this same conclusion. I appreciate and respect everyone here and am thrilled to be a part of something so unique.  

  3. We’re walking down the Progressive Road.  President Obama isn’t on that road with us, but he’s within shouting distance. Much of the time, he’s going in generally the same direction.

    When he wanders too far away, we have to yell at him.  We have a moral responsibility to do that.

    We should always strive for unity, but unity just for the sake of unity isn’t going to get us where we need to go.  I think the President is realizing that, and I hope he tosses “bipartisanship” into a dumpster.

    Unifying progressives is hard work, it’s like herding cats.  I think the President is discovering that herding fat cats is even harder.  He needs to quit listening to their hissing and start kicking fat cat asses.

    Great essay, Buhdy.      

  4. … it was clear we wanted this blog to be different than Daily Kos in the sense of being able to speak of more than just electoral politics, more than just having big intellectual debates rather than dialogue.   We wanted to be more inclusive of subject matter itself.  And I think in many ways we’ve succeeded.  Folks have left, but few have been banned.  There is no snarky “fuck you” mentality in moderation of the site.

    On the other hand, we’ve also shied away far too much from real confrontation when we disagree.  I don’t mean confrontation as in fighting wildly or flamewars, we’ve had that.  But we all have our pride and too often I’ve seen that translate into deferring real disagreement in favor of sparing people’s feelings.

    I think it’s that balance that we need to work on — to trust each other enough to disagree without the perception that we’re putting each other down personally – but that if that is the case, we can also deal with putting each other down personally, that anger, and have real dialogue.

    That kind of honesty is hard to find and I make no claim I am a paragon of it.  But too nice is just as bad as too mean, imo.

  5. And I think it is a key, at least for me.

    I don’t recall who wrote the diary, about Ms. Hughes, the woman who asked Obama for help, she was homeless, and he kissed her and everyone was talking about that.

    I realized then that if I saw someone in need I would not question them about their political views, I’d just try to help as best I could.

    I remember luckydog’s famous diary, They are Not Coming … A Katrina Diary.

    He speaks of how folks of all political stripes risked their lives to help:

    Regular ol’ civilians brought their little flat-bottomed aluminum fishing boats into New Orleans because “We gotta get them folks outta there.” Alotta those regular ol’ civilians were named Bubba, alotta them were the folks that some few people here call “rural Southern fucktards”. The Coast Guard went to work. The Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries went to work. And the “rural Southern fucktards” went to work, too.

    I remember the same thing happening in NYC after 9/11.  Once the politics were out of the way, folks just plain helped each other.

    To get down to that human root, to me that is the biggest challenge.  The PTB want us to forget that and thus divide us.

  6. We must all hang together, else we shall surely hang apart.

    But like so much in life the ideals are easy to define, hard to live. I have a real and nasty temper, and a cultural background that would rather take a grudge to all our graves than let it go (you all know what Irish Alzheimer’s is right? Where you forget everything but the grudge?).

    It is compassion that gets us through, for our opponents, for our allies and for ourselves. We will need a lot of it, but we can make a massive change, if we don’t ever quit. Buhdy is right, we will have a lot of hard work, but what did you ever get that was really of value to you that you did not have to work hard for?  

    • jessical on February 16, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    …your sig line aside, has never quite worked for me :} Perhaps for obvious reasons, it being a far more exact process than deep myth.  But what you say about looking to a leader, and tearing them down…

    …I have a funny, funny feeling that things have changed a little.  I could (very easily) be wrong.  But one aspect of everyone being f’d at the moment, to varying degress, is an American awareness (and beyond) that this is a serious, serious mess, and neither adulation or “you asshole” are going to fix it (though there is a fine case to be made for both, actually — but who cares?  We’re in the soup.)  Indeed, most people seem to be aware that…nothing…may fix it.  The story arc may have changed in ways we don’t know yet, and won’t discover until we are living in it…at least, that’s my sense of the moment.  A fallow time, or the light patter of rain as the first tendril of the storm comes in.

  7. Let’s stop making excuses for Obama and the Dems.

    Easier said than done, of course.

    But, so far, Obama’s treading a path called Bush-lite.  He may change.  But pretty much every step has been in that direction, at least as far as war, torture and the economy go.  Let’s hope things change, but I don’t think they will unless they’re forced by circumstances to change (be it by a worsening economy and/or civil unrest).

    Don’t get me started on Bubba.

    Until the Dems (as a party, I know there are good individual Dems) drop the support for the duoparty, and for neoliberalism, they get as much blame as the Repugs.  I don’t think they will, but I’m willing to be surprised.

  8. Perhaps the reason we struggle with is is that we have never really talked about our differences here. We assumed because we agreed on so many things that we didn’t have them, so it was shocking when it came up.

    Sorry if I am stating the completely obvious… I have a talent for that.

    We do have differences in economic background, location, experience, gender,color, even in expectations about what we want as participants at DD. And it all plays in.  

  9. ever so interesting meta essays.This one was great. It played into issues that while specific to DD are emerging everywhere. The right wing is becoming more and more obvious. The blogs a strong hold of opposition are now left facing not a revolution but more political compromise solutions to the coup from hell.

    Buhdy is right we are the change, but we are only a tiny bit of the change and the change apparently is not going to be dramatic in the sense I wish for, a reverse coup. The strength of this blog has never been rooted in electoral politics. When I had the fever I came here for sanity about the limitations and frustrations of counting on the top down solutions. We as humans may crave leaders but there is a larger politics at play one which speaks to the same issues we talk about here.

    I think that this is a good time for DD. The community takes on issues that transcend the DC politics and even Obama says this is where the power is. So lets not worry about the shades of our differences and concentrate on moving our spirits, minds, and bodies out into the blue that comes next, the unknown solutions that will unfold. We have unknown  conspirators out there, lurking reading and hoping we are like the pols, human imperfect, but a reflection of those who care.          

  10. Three stories I saw on the internet today showed me how we still have a long way to go to get some stability and normalcy back to this country:

    The economy’s hitting some areas and some families with a big whallop, leaving little energy or resources for fighting–yet if we don’t fight, things won’t get any better.  Almost half of our elected officials are actively working against our recovery, and the other half really don’t have a clue that what they are doing will work.  

    Meanwhile, some areas are slowly continuing to implode– Deadend in Detroit:

    “…G.M., Ford and Chrysler have eliminated a total of 120,000 manufacturing jobs in the last three years. And now the cuts are drastically thinning the ranks of white-collar professionals…cutting white-collar jobs in their hometown at an unprecedented pace – more than 15,000 in the last year, with more to come…MI’s…unemployment rate was 10.6 percent in December and continues to climb. Job fairs routinely create mob scenes…”

    The market for the skills of auto engineers or designers in the prime of their careers has evaporated, with no hope in sight…Moving to another city is hardly an option when there are so few buyers for the suburban homes that would have to be sold first…the foreclosure rate increased 102 percent from the same month a year earlier in Oakland County, Mich., home to a huge number of G.M. and Chrysler employees…”

    These scenarios likely to be repeated throughout the country in time, if the Stimulus fails.

    The overstretched troops and their families await news of more deployments to a war zone while the enemy plans their own strategy.

    And, DHS Spies on Maryland Peace Activists: It’s worse than we thought.

    The Boehners, McConnells & GOP’er obstructionists will keep up their fight against the best interests of most Americans until: a. they’re forced to understand that it’s political suicide, or b. They’re voted out of office. The Administration will continue their quest for mythical bipartisanship and appeasement of the mythical moderates until they’re made to understand that the people that worked the hardest to get them elected aren’t at all content with being marginalized and pushed to the sidelines.  

    Those messages won’t get through unless we’re willing to unite and work tirelessly to get them to “listen up”.

  11. I smell smoke…….

    I hope every one has a fire extinguisher…….

    this is one of the most interesting things I have experienced in the latter part of my useless life…..

    it is a small antidote to cynicism…….

    I love you folks……

    and I love this place……

  12. But there are very REAL people to blame for our continued problems. As I said in many a DKos diary before this and one or two here, the problem was not going away with Bush. It’s not even confined to our borders, our shores or our laws and Constitution anymore. But it began here and must end here.

    The heart and soul of the problem is simply this:

    Rove is not in jail.

    He was subpoenaed by Congress twice, he ignored and defied those subpoenas, and he is not in jail.

    Let’s set aside the reasons CONGRESS wants to grill Rove – the attorney firings, the harassment of the former governor of Alabama – and consider this:

    CIA agent Valerie Plame’s career was shattered and her life put at risk by lawbreakers going all the way up to Rove and Cheney. This was done because she and her husband refused to falsify intelligence that would justify an invasion of Iraq. They were punished for doing the right thing, the war was begun anyway, and over a million people are dead for that lie.

    We were promised change we could believe in. We were told to hope.

    Cheney is living down the street from the CIA, and Rove is not in jail.


    • Temmoku on February 18, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    blame Bush? After all Reagan started it and Bush just sealed the deal on it…

    It will be “interesting times”!

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