In the the Thirties, America was hungry. Soup lines stretched for blocks, families were forced onto the street, and an unimaginable desperation hung over everyone who wasn't already super-rich. During those times, the common line, "Brother, can you spare a dime?" echoed from the humbled egos on Wall Street, across the Dust Bowl and out to the Pacific. The real pity is that it took a global war to bail us out from that depression.
Nearly seventy years later, we're just as hungry. We've plenty of food on the table, fresh clothes in the dresser, automobiles the size of some towns in Ohio, and the appearance that everything's just fine. But it isn't. The American Dream is being starved to the bone, and we all feel it every day no matter what we drive, eat, wear, or show off. This emaciated state is the ongoing result of one thing: the complete absence of true leadership from the only party who really has a chance of taking over the U.S. presidency.
Sure, you voted for John Kerry because the alternative was fucking terrible. But, seriously, how many of you were mov ed by Kerry or felt in your hearts that he was the best man for his time? The guy was about as thrilling as cold porridge after a trek across the Sahara. His legacy now rests with a former corporate litigator who has about as much soul as a Britney Spears duet with James Brown. On the way to Oz, Hillary will find out that her getting a soul will be about as easy as giving Al Gore affability and humor. Worse still, the same lame elements in the Democratic Party who snuffed Howard Dean's aspirations are now playing the "damage containment" game rather than taking the lead on a bold new vision that will bring this country out of these dark and damning times and into a time of comfort and promise that will end this fucking war, quell the motivations of terrorists, balance commerce and environmental interests. That's a tall order, to be sure. But we shouldn't settle for anything less.
Our standards for leadership have become so dangerously watered down that we'll accept anything that isn't Bush/Cheney/Reed-backed and eagerly beg for seconds. Time Magazine recently ran a great puff piece about Nancy Pelosi and her alleged leadership skills. Personally, I have grown to loathe the insincere little hag since listening to her by-the-numbers whine about the NSA monitoring our phone calls and emails. The daffy bitch had the gall to feign indignation despite the fact that she had been briefed on the situation months before and done nothing about it then. I'll give her credit for sinking Bush's devastating overhaul of Social Security and draining a substantial amount of his "political capital" at that point. However, this was but one battle in a war that absolutely must be won by those with true backbone, humanity, and the ability to admit mistakes of the past in pursuit of the future that is currently eluding us all. She claims that people know not to "mess with [her]," but ruling by inducing fear of retribution is hardly the same as ruling by respect for tangible, substantive, accomplishments and achievements. For instance, frustrating the Republican drive to privatize Social Security isn't nearly as impressive as crafting a plan for salvaging the plan from the ravages it will suffer as Baby Boomers pass through it--even if she gained a Terminator's veneer from the former.
Pelosi excommunicated Joe Lieberman as soon as voters abandoned him in the Connecticut primary election last month. Rather than seeing this as the writing on the wall for someone other than a compromised corporate stooge to slip, slide, and waffle their way into the Big Chair, Pelosi immediately began damage control operations to mimimize Lieberman's drag on the party. She can try to stand on her "California Liberal" laurels all she wants, but in the end Pelosi cannot escape what she really is: a mere puppeteer whose offstage machinations are not bringing the kind of populist appeal that the party desperately needs so it doesn't lose to yet another idiotic "Awww-shuckster" whose operatives swindle, steal, or fabricate the "votes" that win the election.
Like it or not, the Democrats need to find their next Bill Clinton, or leftie version of Ronald Reagan, sometime in the coming year or they will blow it at the ballot box yet again. It's as though the Left wants to euthanize itself from having to take actual responsibility for America or the state of our union. Evasion and obstruction will never lead to that responsibility. We need and deserve more in this awful age of national depression when we find ourselves worried about far more than two chickens in every pot, a PS2 on every television, and solider-killing 4WDs in soccer practice parking lots. We are in a time of grave reckoning, where our liberties have been savagely violated, our privacy destroyed, and our national piety pilloried by fecklessness among our pathetic polity. If all we want is to throw our weight behind another loser and balm ourselves with the delusion that we gave it our best shot, then we truly deserve this awful empire to crash and burn with a fire that would make Rome's death seem like a sputtering paper match.
Some of us won't settle. If our ideas are truly better than theirs, now is the time to find out. Our whole nation is based around the "Marketplace of Ideas." Never did the entire country shudder with the the nausea caused by poisonous ideas shoved down our throat while we gasped to catch our breath. It's time to clear the shelves of the same-old, same-old that's killing us all, and get some fresh fruit for rotting vegetables. That kind of goodness only comes from a farmer with a mighty strong back.