I Look For The Light Through The Pouring Rain

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

We, most of us anyway, come here everyday writing essays commenting and discussing ideas I think with a singular but lofty goal in mind.

To try to effect some positive change on the world we find ourselves in. Mostly on the political landscape of America and it’s effects on the larger world, to try to find some way that the lives of people can be bettered. To try to reclaim the perceived original visions that created America.

To try, each in our own way but with help from each other, to find and give birth to a so far elusive meme, a ripple, that will be so irresistibly powerful that it will spread across our world like a tsunami wiping clean all opposition in its path, take down the most powerful fascist elements ever to gain power in America, and bring about a simple idea for the foundation of society – the valuing of people over money and power.

Yesterday NLinStPaul wrote about Power and in comments I reiterated an idea that came to me about a year ago after it became obvious that the Democrats, with six or so months behind them of a Congressional majority, through passage of the Iraq supplemental funding bill last spring, made it bluntly clear that they were going to do nothing but be enablers of the Bush/Cheney regime and that all of the campaign rhetoric that led to their winning that majority in November 2006 was nothing more than empty sloganeering and deception to garner votes.

I commented in her essay that I think that people already have the power to achieve what we come here to to do, but that we forget that we have that power.

I think that if enough people turned democrats away at the door during the campaigning leading to November and said “come back when you guys have done what you were elected to do last time” and you’ll have my vote… they would do it, because they would be afraid of not winning in november.

It would be the people turning the tables and fearmongering the democrats to make them do what the people want them to do.

It would also scare the hell out of the corporations who are now shifting the bulk of their donations to democrats, because they think that people will vote for democrats out of fear of republicans.

Leverage = power. Dangle the carrot. It’s not that complicated, is it?

If the Democratic leadership were quaking in terror of not winning in November, if they really believed they might lose their Congressional majority and not win the presidency, they might actually start thinking: “Hey wait a minute, these people really want us to defund and end the Iraq occupation, repeal the MCA, and charge Bush and Cheney with war crimes. Fuck – we can win in November! All we have to do is do what we were hired in 2006 to do.”

NL responded this morning by asking me, I think, for some expansion on  the idea. She said…

I’d like to talk to you about this a bit more… cause I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I really respect your opinion, but I’m having difficulty with the idea that my vote is leverage at this point.

I contacted Senator Klobuchar when she voted to extend FISA because I thought that was a critical moment. She had just been elected in the 2006 sweep and I believed in her.

At the time, I thought the best way to get us out of Iraq was to impeach Bush/Cheney. My practical side worried that if congress pulled the plug on funding, these idiots would do something REALLY stupid (ok, I guess that’s an understatement), so I wanted them out of office and someone in who might have a chance of getting us out of the war.

When the whole FISA thing came up, I agreed with John Dean. They had just announced to the world that they had committed an impeachable offense. And dared us to do anything about it. I know they had committed all kinds of other crimes, but this one they didn’t even try to obfuscate.

When, instead of starting impeachment hearings, congress voted to extend FISA (and my newly elected senator vote FOR the extension), I knew all was lost because with those votes, they were now complicit in the crime.

I was outraged. And so I wrote to Klobuchar about it and told her I couldn’t vote for someone who supported breaking the law. And as I said above, I got a f’ing form letter back basically justifying her vote and telling me to “trust her, she knows better.” My vote doesn’t matter to her.

So I told my friends about what she had done. They all supported her in her election. NONE of them knew about her vote. And when I told them, they just shrugged it off.

Klobuchar isn’t running this November. But in 2010, unless I see a big turnaround from her, I won’t be voting for her.

This November my choices are:

Al Franken running for the first time. He talks about getting out of Iraq, but I’m not so sure I buy it – anyway no record to hold him accountable for.

Rep: Betty McCollum running unopposed. She’s real tight with Pelosi though, so I have serious problems with her. I can threaten not to vote for her. But she’s in no matter what I do.

So you see, I don’t feel like I have much leverage with my vote this time around. Any thoughts?  

And as usual NL’s response triggered some attempts in my own mind at clarifying what I was trying to get across.

In my own mind I see the problem as being really two problems, or if you prefer as one problem but with two aspects to it.

#1 How to force the democrats to do what they were hired to do in 2006.

#2 How to live, reasonably happily with ourselves, in spite of the moral and ethical collapse of the U.S. government.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers anymore than you or anyone else, but I think that the idea is much simpler that it might appear.

First, on the level of numbers, if we can somehow convince enough people to threaten the democrats with such a drastic loss of support between now and November unless they do what needs to be done that it will be blindingly obvious that the only way they can retain their Congressional majority and win the presidency is by doing those things, then we will have prevailed. 1) would be achieved. We will have turned the tables on Democrats who are fearmongering with the confidence that people will give them their votes simply because they are more afraid of Republicans than of Democrats, who so far, are confident that they will win in November without having had to do anything that people want them to do, and without paying any political price for it. Basic logical deduction I think makes that obvious to everyone. It’s a simple numbers calculation.

But there is a big but to that, and I think it is the one that causes some anxiety.

What if, individually, we do this, we refuse to vote for ANY democratic candidate unless and until the Democratic controlled congress delivers on what they were elected to do in 2006………. and not enough other people do the same to make it an effective threat? This possibility I think is what engenders a feeling of powerlessness. The Democrats will win, and nothing will have changed.

Will we then have tried in vain, since not enough others did the same to force the change?

No. I don’t think so.

I’ve seen quite a few comments and essays lately with people telling stories of friends or relatives who voted for Bush once, or twice, or who voted Republican all their lives, who now say that this year they will not vote for any Republican.

At the very least, and here is where we come I think to the nut of the problem, I will not, after November, be defending myself for having supported people I knew were going to screw me. I think I can do at least as well as the people who are turning on the Republicans.

In other words, I can achieve #2 all by myself.

I need your help to achieve #1.

I’ll be happy either way.

Day after day I’m more confused

But I look for the light through the pouring rain

You know that’s a game that I hate to lose

Now I’m feeling the strain

Aint it a shame?


Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul

I wanna get lost in your rock and roll

And drift away

Give me the beat boys and free my soul

I wanna get lost in your rock and roll

And drift away

Beginning to think that I’m wasting time

I don’t understand the things I do

The world outside looks so unkind

I’m counting on you

To carry me through


And when my mind is free, you know melody can move me

And when I’m feeling blue, the guitar’s coming through to soothe me

Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me

I want you to know I believe in your song

Your rhythm and rhyme and harmony

You’ve helped me along

You’re making me strong


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    • Edger on April 14, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    But I’d be happier with #2, so… I Look For The Light Through The Pouring Rain.

    And Listen To The Music! – it always has clues in it 😉

  1. The addition of #2 helps alot.

    What you made me realize is that a critical part of feeling my power is in not having to depend on anyone else for it. Does that make any sense?

    If the only way I have power is if other people join me, I feel powerless. In the case of electoral politics, that’s been made abundantly clear to me.

    I don’t mean I’ll quit trying to talk and convince people, but I can’t let my power rest on whether or not they join me.

    So I’m very comfortable with the idea of turning the tables on  the Dems and demanding they shape up or loose my vote. And I guess, in the long run, I learn the same lesson I’ve had to learn over and over and over again…surrender the outcome and move on.

    Thanks for taking the time. I really appreciate it!! And feel free to knock me upside the head if I’m still not getting it.  

    • RiaD on April 15, 2008 at 2:26 am

    i think we need to also hit them with the money/donations thing….

    for months i’ve been telling the silly democrats when they call for donations- “mwaaa-ha-ha-ha-ha! donation? from me?? Ha-ha-ha-ha! When you do what you were elected to do…stop this incessant war, stop Bush & his runaway spending, stop no-bid contracts, etc, etc then i’ll think about a small donation and voting for you again! until that point in time you’ll get nothing from me. thanks for calling!”

    i truly believe if we all did this, if every liberal blogger in the USofA did this….we’d capture their attention….they’d be quaking in their boots!

    just my opnion…

  2. to collective action.  (No, it ain’t easy.)

    I was outraged. And so I wrote to Klobuchar about it and told her I couldn’t vote for someone who supported breaking the law. And as I said above, I got a f’ing form letter back basically justifying her vote and telling me to “trust her, she knows better.” My vote doesn’t matter to her.

    Lots of people were hurt and/or died between 1880 and 1930.  But they showed up, they protested, they fought.

    Why aren’t we?  (Present company excepted: I mean on a national scale.)  

    Emma Goldman led the way. I’m no anarchist, but we should learn from the collective actions of the past, built on them (but try to avoid their errors).

  3. who put a doobie bros. album cover on a Dobie Grey song!

  4. ah but #1……….

    my friend I do not get the sense that they are concerned yet……

    it feels like they feel bush fatigue is sufficient…….

  5. Anarchy is wrong.  But collective action is right:

  6. I just saw this essay by jimstaro about how:

    “…the dockworkers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have decided to stop work for eight hours in all U.S. West Coast ports on May 1, International Workers’ Day, to call for an end to the war…”  

    “…Angered after supporting Democrats who received a mandate to end the war but who now continue to fund it, longshoremen decided to exercise their political power on the docks….”

    To me, this is a courageous example of how to achieve #1-not by itself, but multiplied by many more people, many more “exercising their political power”.  

    Yes, we can keep trying to influence the politicians and we can fail, but we lose power only if we fail to keep trying.

    Meanwhile, IMHO, Edger, #2 is very important (though not always very easy) and, thankfully, we do have the power to keep #2 as a priority-because it will help us get through the times when #1 doesn’t seem to be going as well or as quickly as we want.

    • creeper on April 15, 2008 at 4:46 am

    that all I want to do is drift away.

    I have the same problem with Tom Harkin, who has actually been in Washington long enough to know better.  I call and I write and all I ever get are the standard form letters.  Charles Grassley is even worse but then I expect to be shafted by a Republican.  Our newly-minted representative, Bruce Braley, seems to be aware of why he won the race (on a slogan of “Taking US to Congress”) but even he voted for that stupid resolution to condemn MoveOn for the “Betrayus” thing.

    We need to put the screws to these sellouts and keep doing it until a./ they change or b./we throw their asses out.  It’s getting to the point where you can’t tell the Democrats from the Republicans.  Let’s keep replacing the Democrats until the difference is clear.

    • Edger on April 15, 2008 at 11:51 am

    If you’re hoping to retain a seat in Congress or win the Presidency this November, you need to get it through your thick head that the problems you need to fix first if you want any campaign contributions or votes this November – not after, but first – are a little bigger than yourself and your desire to win. You need to get it through your thick head that “We Can’t Make It Here” is going to be your real campaign slogan.

    You thought it was all about you? You’re right… it is.

    You’re not going to make it anywhere unless you start working now at doing the job you were hired in 2006 to do.

    You don’t have much time left before we pull the plug on you. I’d get busy if I were you, or the Republicans will be back in power.

    But that won’t be a whole lot different than what you’re offering, now will it?

    You really can’t make it here anymore. The road you’re on goes straight downhill… for you and for everyone else.

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