Civil Disobedience – What if the Democrats Had Compromised Less?


It’s time to admit that the ship of any sparse hope of party unity has sailed long ago.

There no such thing as “typical” in Washington anymore. The crossroads at which we find ourselves is one of many options, many grim and fatalistic prospects. Capitol Hill is a grab-bag, a random potpourri of eclectic figures, off-color parties, members of those parties who don’t necessarily fit any particular mold.

The right has moved right-er, the left has moved left-er, and the center–well, the center’s slowly evaporated into the already polluted air. Polarizing figure after polarizing figure has made the front page. For every thousand people who follow a radical Republican, a thousand more follow a deranged Democrat.

Harmony’s ship has sailed.

And so the question becomes: what are the practical implications of the emergence of such an atypical political climate? (Warning: I’m about to commend the Democrats. This may sound unusual, as they haven’t done anything right in quite some time. If this is not something that you can handle, please stop reading here.)

Today, in the wake of President Obama’s compromise with Republicans (that got the middle class out of the doghouse and extended unemployment insurance at the expense of allowing the top two percent of income earners off the hook), Democrats in Congress, understated as they may have been, displayed a distinct type of civil disobedience.

The Republicans held the middle class hostage. Why? Because they could. The White House put an apologetic stamp of approval on the Republican tax plan. Why? Because they had to. But today–knowing full well that in just a few short weeks, the tables will take a very sharp turn–Democrats stood on principle.

America, on this crazy journey over the past two years–during which steady duplicity has replaced morality and a dark blanket of fear has shrouded any remaining hope–we’ve lost our sanity. Like water from a sponge, politics has been drained of its conscience. But today the Democrats finally grew a pair and stuck to their principles. If they had committed themselves to their values–started protecting the middle class at a lesser expense–would we be in this position today?

Smudged Legacy


A legacy is like a chalkboard; you write and write, you smudge and smudge, you dot the i’s and cross the t’s until you’re out of room. You’re left with a couple of options. Either you can leave the message–the lesson–up on the board and grant interpretation to the prerogative of the viewer Or you can erase it and start over.

And there goes your legacy.

Nancy Pelosi is choosing the latter. I wouldn’t agree that she’s been “the most effective Speaker in a generation” as many are claiming. I would assert, however, that she’s been one of the most principled. In a gridlocked Congresses, she’s often avoided compromise and negotiation. She’s taken on the challenges that are important to Democrats, fought for the fundamental missions of liberals, and has answered the toughest questions with a progressive answer.

Perhaps her deeply rooted self-confidence was a factor in the demise of her Democratic majority. Retrospectively, maybe she should have been less “out there” and pushed a less partisan agenda. But she wasn’t and she didn’t, and in her position as Speaker, she didn’t need to be less partisan. She had nothing to lose.

Well, she lost it.

Instead of walking away from the chalkboard and leaving her legacy to the analytical eye of history, she’s picked up the eraser. And assuming that she succeeds in becoming the next Minority Leader, she’ll erase that pristine legacy of principle. She’ll have everything to lose. She’ll have to transform herself from the bleeding-heart liberal she has always been into a centrist-leaning blue dog. That’s not who she is–that’s not what the chalkboard should say.

To maintain her legacy and honorably end a career of righteous conviction, Nancy Pelosi should drop the eraser and choose not to run for Minority Leader. After a career of steadfast loyalty to the left-wing, the next two years would become a smudge on her legacy.

A Supplement to My Last Post


Obviously, I don’t believe that all Republicans want to destroy nature and I don’t believe that all Republicans are xenophobes. I don’t believe that all Republicans are the downfall of our country, nor do I believe that all Republicans are roadblocks to the fulfillment of the American Dream. All that I wrote in my last post is black and white and really only represents a fundamental framework of my opinion.

It would be naïve (and certainly an affirmation of Jon Stewart’s recent critique of the media) to make all these very broad statements without explaining them. So this is a simple and contemplative explanation and supplement to my last post:

People are people and politics is politics. But from the time I was learning my beginners’ addition problems in the first grade until the moment I watched firsthand as Barack Obama took office on a chilly, yet sunny day during my freshman year of high school, I saw and experienced the failed policies of the last administration. The poor economic decisions, the insensitive social treatment, and the governmental nightmare that ensued.

The last administration is not, thankfully, running for office tomorrow. But people who represent its policies, upheld them, and support the foundational ideologies of George W. Bush and his cronies are running. I am not going to allow them to win without expressing and publicizing–perhaps through a desperate medium–the extremities to which they may be willing to travel.

To assume that all Republicans represent and believe all the things I wrote is unfair. But to understand what the party is capable of is important. Do a mental cost-benefit analysis. If the costs of voting for Christine O’Donnell, Meg Whitman, Sharon Angle–people who believe in and practice the aforementioned policies–out weighs the benefits of voting for Barbara Boxer, John Kitzhaber, Harry Reid–people who believe in and practice dissimilar policies to the Republicans’, who pushed for comprehensive healthcare reform and will continue to push for policies that will aid and abed the process of becoming a citizen, repeal counterintuitive military social regulations, and further hold banks and corporations financially accountable for the mess that they have helped to create on Wall Street, which has, by all means, trickled down onto Main Street.

Regardless of whom is is for, please vote. But, in perhaps a less emphatic tone than in my previous post, I recommend spending your valuable vote on someone who will appeal to your interest and the interests of those less fortunate than you.

The ball’s in your court.

Election Guide


If you think that more minorities belong in jail, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you’ve seen your share of nature and have come to terms with letting the rest of it go, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you think that no one else should benefit from your success, that you and your money are better off in the a secluded bubble of wealth, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you believe those who are different should be sent away, ostracized, or persecuted, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you know which religion is best, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you think that not all Americans have the right to health insurance, if you think that only those who can afford it should have it, and that you are not somewhat responsible for the well being of your neighbor, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you believe that the government doesn’t serve any critical function, or if you feel the deep desire to give up your compensation when you retire, if you have the concrete knowledge that you’ll never lose your job and you’ll never be in need of financial assistance–why bother having welfare?–vote Republican tomorrow.

If poor people are none of your concern and poverty–you’re sure–is a back burner issue, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you believe that there is a right way and a wrong way to love, that the distinctions are clear, that the government should dictate to Americans who they can and can’t love, and  that feelings should be in the hands of Congress, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you believe that corporations shouldn’t be held accountable for deeply destructive environmental policies and financial irresponsibility that has proven detrimental to millions, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you’re under the impression that the subprime mortgage crisis couldn’t have been  prevented by regulation and oversight, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you don’t believe in the American Dream and instead believe that those seeking it should be sent away en masse, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you know that we need more wars, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you believe that Texas oil billionaires need more money, that large companies should be able to fund major political campaigns, vote Republican tomorrow.

If you’re sure that old white men should make decisions about what does or doesn’t happen to bodies of young women, vote Republican tomorrow.

But if you’re interested in a future antithetical to the one just described, you may want to reconsider your vote. I cast my vote for the Democratic Party in 2010.