Monday, January 09, 2006

Standing on eggshells

My favorite Sunday pastime is to watch the political talk shows--"This Week" and "Chris Matthews" and whatever else I can catch. I often find myself yelling at the screen, but it's like a sport for me. On "This Week" Cokie Roberts, in talking about the Jack Abramoff scandal said that she felt that politicians had forgotten what they're in Congress for. Is it, she asked, to solidify their personal power? Or is it to serve their constituents? The roundtable generally agreed that there were many in Congress for whom serving was merely a power grab. When serving is a power grab, too often people are afraid to speak out. If they speak out against this or that, they might lose their power. While the thirst for power has led Republicans to sleep with corporate interests and others that go directly against what is good for their constituents, the thirst for power has led Democrats to be afraid to speak out on behalf of their constituents. We, the constituents are the ultimate losers in this scenario.

Many Democrats, afraid of pissing off middle America and hoping to maintain or gain power, take positions that are often such watered down versions of the Democratic platform as to be barely recognizable. Hilary Clinton is a good example. Pro-war and not really outspoken on pro-choice, she hardly looks like a Democrat anymore. Compare almost any Democrat to Howard Dean, who laid into Wolf Blitzer over the weekend (video; full transcript via Pharyngula). We need more Democrats like that. More Democrats to call the Bush administration on their watering down of our rights. If the Democrats continue to worry about their power instead of us, we'll all be without any power. Our phones will be tapped. Our internet communications monitored. Searched without warrant. Put in prison without charges or hope of a trial. Kafka and Orwell come to mind. It could happen. We have 3 more years with this president. If our representatives don't stand up for us, we should remove them from power instead of making excuses about how they have to appeal to the middle. Blah. Blah. Look where appealing to the middle got us. Ask yourself. Is this where you want your country to be right now? Start making some phone calls, writing some letters. Start with the Alito hearings. Demand hearings (or better yet, impeachment) for the wiretapping scandal. Demand that the prisoners in Guantanamo get a trial. Demand an answer on the torture question. It's our country. We have a right to know.