They’re all the same

For your own good, please take a moment to read EA Hanks’ “Dear The Left: A Breakup Letter.” Or skim it.  I don’t care, really.
I have so many things I could say about this provocative and well-written letter.  “I told you so” comes to mind.  I’ve been saying it for years now, folks: these politicians are all the same.  Every last one of them.  And I’m not just blowing Beck-esque smoke here, either — the proof is in the pudding.  Has anything of real meaning to progressive America gotten done in the last, oh, 40 years?  Anything?  Somebody help me.
I have my theories about why many of us have hung on so long, wishin’ and a hopin’ that change will finally come to Washington.  Maybe I’ll share those at a later time.

For now, here’s the short of it: We cannot trust our government to bring about peace and justice.  We just can’t.  And the thing is, I don’t know how to recognize that reality with my feeling that some issues need to be legislated on: human trafficking, aid for Haiti, civil rights, slavery, etc. But the sad truth is that we simply don’t have the political will nor the common sense to truly address many of these crucial issues in our world.  (We can’t even mobilize the right medical supplies and aid for a country in desperate need not 500 miles off our coast!)

Don’t expect me to go running off to join a tea party or anything.  (those people don’t get it either)  I’m just going to set out all the more vigilantly to love my neighbors and build community and make small changes in my community, and invite others along for the ride.  I’m convinced that as our system stands today, that’s all we can do.

[end rant]

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kevin Williams on January 22, 2010 at 1:30 am

    I had this same rant yesterday.


  2. Posted by miller on January 24, 2010 at 1:07 am

    here’s the deal… your “all we can do” is incomplete. we can also make the decision that we will collectively refuse to play by the rules. my dream is for everyone who doesn’t currently vote or who votes the “lesser of two evils” to use the write in. if we could stir enough imagination for this to actually happen, i believe we could take our government back. the shock waves of approximately half the voting age people in the US writing in the person they feel best able to run the country, from local elections to presidential elections would seriously shake things up. we really need to start i write in campaign. i don’t know what would happen, but i really believe it would send the kind of message that could not be ignored by the powers that be.

    and it doesn’t really take any research or extra effort… it’s not about a candidate, it’s about a message. take a little of that righteous indignation to the polls and express it in an act of non-violent rebellion. i did it in the last presidentials and i can sleep knowing i voted for the right guy.

    lets build a movement!


  3. Posted by Rob on January 27, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Preach it, Brother Steven. Amen.


  4. Posted by Paul on April 8, 2010 at 2:39 am

    So this is usually how it happens, right? I am woefully neglectful of reading your blog, then come back, get intrigued by the posts and comment several months after the posts were written. That’s my m.o. 🙂

    So a lot has happened since your — and this guy’s — rant, including passage and signing of one of The Left’s signature issues, universal health care. E.A. Hanks hasn’t written anything for that blog since that letter, which I didn’t find thought provoking so much as confused and rambling.

    He’s very angry at The Left, but he doesn’t ever describe who actually comprises The Left — probably because he doesn’t actually know. He’s mad at The Left for losing the Massachusetts Senate seat, but The Left didn’t do that, Martha Coakley did that by running an incredibly inept campaign. His rage seems to be more against the Democratic Party, but they aren’t really The Left, are they? If E.A. Hanks thought they were, then he has no business writing political thoughts in public, such would be the depths of his naivete.

    The fact is the Democratic Party has a problem: it’s called having to govern, and that’s very difficult when the party is as ideologically diverse as it is. True, the party sometimes makes it more difficult than it needs to, but let’s look at the facts: the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives passed a Left-supported health care reform bill, passed cap and trade, passed comprehensive finance reform and passed an expansive stimulus package hailed by liberal economists. Why are only health care and the stimulus signed into law (in much weakened forms)? Is it because of The Left (whatever that means)? Is it because of the Democratic Party (against whom I’ve seen most of The Left rail when discussing this problem)? Or is it the fact that the Senate for the first time in its history is operating under a supermajority requirement for every vote it takes, something the framers of the Constitution specifically cautioned against?

    And yes, Democrats had a supermajority — should still have it if not for Coakley’s incompetence — and this is frustrating for many on The Left (oh wait, we’re supposed to be criticizing The Left. I’m so confused!), but let’s face it, the Democratic caucus is not a homogenous group, not with moderate to conservative senators like Nelson, Lieberman, Specter, Lincoln, etc. And the supermajority only existed for a small period of time, when Al Franken was finally seated and when Specter switched to when Brown was seated.

    Of course, I have the benefit of critiquing this column two months after it was written, and as I said, there was a pretty significant victory for The Left in the meantime (though even some of The Left opposed the bill for being too conservative while The Right called it socialism, but that’s a little off the path here).

    I guess I don’t get the point. Brown’s victory led to a lot of navel-gazing and a lot of chest-beating among the respective members of the left-leaning caucus, this letter being a perfect example. But in the end, they got their act together and passed the greatest social reforms this country has seen since the Johnson administration (LBJ edition, not the Andrew edition).

    Of course, you’re right. Only one government will ever perfectly legislate peace and justice on this earth (and there’s all sorts of disagreement whether it will even be on this earth or not when it does come). But we’ve got to do what we can, and whining about how terrible it is that activists, when confronted with the act of governing, must compromise in order to accomplish their legislative goals… well, I don’t know what to say to people like that. Either you know that’s the system we have and try to work within that or change it for the better (as you do, Steve), or you act like you had nooo idea it was like that and write long, rambling, “break-up letters” that don’t really make all that much sense.


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