“They All Disappoint”

The best show on television today is “The Wire.” In subsequent entries, I’ll explain why I think so. Its new season, Season 5, starts in January and The Wire will be one of the things I write about. Season 4 focused on politics a good deal.

At the finale to Season 4, the new mayor of Baltimore, where the show is set, is faced with the dilemma of doing “the right thing” and doing what he perceives is the right thing politically (the plot point involves “eating shit” so the Baltimore schools get money it needs vs. what’s right for his shot at being Governor. You know what he does.

Afterwards, his close aide, who fought the campaign with him, discusses this with the chief of staff of the former mayor, saying “can’t believe he left the money on the table.” The former COS responds “they all disappoint.” And indeed, they do. They’ve all disappointed, even Lincoln, FDR and Bobby Kennedy.

As citizens and activists, our allegiances have to be to the issues we believe in. I am a partisan Democrat it is true. But the reason I am is because I know who we can pressure to do the right thing some of the times. Republicans aren’t them. But that does not mean we accept the failings of our Democrats. There is nothing more important that we can do, as citizens, activists or bloggers than fight to pressure DEMOCRATS to do the right thing on OUR issues.

And this is true in every context I think. Be it pressing the Speaker or the Senate majority leader, or the new hope running for President. There is nothing more important we can do. Nothing. It’s more important BY FAR than “fighting” for your favorite pol because your favorite pol will ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, disappoint you.

In the middle of primary fights, citizens, activists and bloggers like to think their guy or woman is different. They are going to change the way politics works. They are going to not disappoint. In short, they are not going to be pols. That is, in a word, idiotic.

Yes, they are all pols. And they do what they do. Do not fight for pols. Fight for the issues you care about. That often means fighting for a pol of course. But remember, you are fighting for the issues. Not the pols.

More on this theme in a week or so. I’m traveling.  

44 comments

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    • Armando on December 10, 2007 at 6:56 am
      Author

    But no time and saw some things around that made me wonder what folks are thinking.

    Peace, seasons greetings, etc.

  1. right now I’m busy being disappointed, but I expect I’ll find a better hobby tomorrow.

  2. I don’t want to fight for the pols; I just don’t want to feel like I have to fight them.

    Still fishing for someone who speaks for my issues.

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    • oculus on December 10, 2007 at 6:59 am

    Assume you are off searching for a different pol to [weakly] support in the primary.

  3. …about being a Democrat. I’m a radical ddemocrat) who remains a Democrat because that’s my only viable electoral choice.

    But, while I agree that it is important to get the Democrats, as in the Democratic Party, to fight for our issues, I have to disagree (nitpicker that I am) that There is nothing more important that we can do, as citizens, activists or bloggers than fight to pressure DEMOCRATS to do the right thing on OUR issues.

    The DP can only do part of what needs being done. Our pressure must be directed elsewhere as well – from outside electoral politics.

  4. Issues speak louder then words. I’ll check out the wire, all episodes are on my cable, I ‘ve always been curious.    

    • pico on December 10, 2007 at 8:04 am
    • robodd on December 10, 2007 at 8:33 am

    not the point.

    The point is complicity.  The point is not taking responsibility.  The point is not telling the truth.  The point is not admitting they made a mistake and hence being able to make a new start and turn the ship around.  

  5. …on television ever.  Seriously.

  6. I’m a HUGE fan of “The Wire,” but I don’t have HBO. I’ve been catching it on dvd. The fourth season should be delivered today. But I think its finally time to break down and order HBO.

    • documel on December 10, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    I got into the Wire last year–have since seen that old issues “on demand.”  As a former teacher in the slums of NYC, let me state this show is very, very realistic.  For example, the woman playing the assistant principal is so recognizable that I thought I really worked for her once.

    But the beauty of last season was the disgusting future exposed for the youth from such neighborhoods.  Some teachers work their asses off, have success, and then see it has no legs; the street is so much stronger than the school.  The good kids have very little chance to escape their parent’s fate.

    Every politician and school board member must be forced to sit through this series.  So should every voter.  To the evangelicals of this world, isn’t this the issue you should be interested in?  Does God allow you to ignore this?  Are the innocents to be punished for the sins of their fathers?

    I don’t know the answer to the cycle of failure in the schools, but I have some definite ideas.  First off, it’s gonna cost big bucks–tax money the pastors of this country should be advocating from the pulpit.  Second it’s gonna require intergration not just of the schools, but of housing.  Another thing required will be the cops not pushing drug dealers away from “good” neighborhoods into the ghetto.  Ever wonder why rich kids have to wander off the gated community grounds to get their score–politicians tell the cops where that trade is least offensive–the bastards?

    Lastly, kids shouldn’t be bombarded with gangsta shit on the tube.  Don’t glorify that which destroys the children.  Basketball players should stop wearing diamond earings–they look like pimps–or is it v.v?  Kids looking for role models can’t find them in their homes oft times, and the media pollutes the efforts of hard working teachers and preachers.

    I forgot, I must have killed many of my students by recommending the armed forces as a way out of the drug culture.  There  wasn’t an Iraq then.  Makes me cry at night.

  7. …just permanent interests.

  8. like him or loathe him he can almost always be counted upon to make you take your medecine like a man or a woman. I particularly appreciate his understanding that it is our duty as activists, citizens or bloggers to pressue our elected leaders to do the right thing on OUR issues. The fact that unfortuantely those issues seem to be all over the map and it would prove totally impossible to change all of them and please everyone, it is still an important credo to follow.

    One of the reasons, I think anyway, the blogosphere so often disappoints is because people mistake a buffet for the table d’hote.  They want a afixed agenda with a limited amount of familiar choices, instead they get a groaning table laden with unecessary and unfamiliar dishes.  They partake of too much and then complain when they get a bellyache and blame the givers of the feast instead of their own greed.

    Less is more, go Armando.

  9. what ‘OUR’ (because i am not at sure who WE are or WHAT is important to US) issues means in terms of being a big tent Democratic Party, the progressive wing of the Democratic party and the Centrist wing of the Democratic party because both wings seem to be flapping to different thermals, threatening to fly off altogether and leave the body lurching along like a bloated blimp barely staying aloft.

    I have been doodling around the internet today trying to get a handle on what being PROGRESSIVE really means, and did not realise before that in fact the Progressive Party grew out of a split in the Republican Party at the end of Theodore Roosevelt’s second term, leading to another 4 year Republican term under William Howard Taft, which then led to election of Democrat Woodrow Wilson who ran against Roosevelt who ran on the Progressive Party ticket.

    This all leads me to understand how miniscule is my overall understanding and factual knowledge of American early 20th century political history.

    If someone changes party affiliation, for example, and has already served as president for two terms in one party, can they then switch party affiliation and run again for another couple of terms? does any one know?  and does anyone have any suggestions regarding the history of ‘Progressive Party politics’ in America in both parties that have dominated, at least to my knowledge in post WW2 political history.  

    • kj on December 11, 2007 at 12:06 am

    Read this essay earlier today, and since I agreed, didn’t know what to add. Still don’t know what to add to the bounty of common sense here and in the comments, so will highlight a sentence of Armando’s that struck me as a basic and true touchstone:

    As citizens and activists, our allegiances have to be to the issues we believe in.

    Here here! Torchbearers change, details morph, but our core issues remain.

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