23 January 2010

my inner afghan war

you know how reality feels so much different than anticipation of that reality? i was pretty sure the job offer was coming. a few weeks back, i got an email that i had been deemed "qualified" for a position on a team helping to design and implement the afghan justice system. they were simply waiting for confirmation of their defense department contract.

and then the offer came. two days ago, when it popped into in my inbox, i started shaking, sweating, and my head was spinning so furiously i didn't know what to feel or think, and i had to remind myself to. just. keep. breathing.

i mean, it is afghanistan. it's a scary and dangerous place. it's one thing to want to go there, and another to be invited (with a $200,000 offering to boot). it's one thing to want to build a nation. and another to walk amongst the ruins and gunfire of a country at war. it's one thing to want. another to have.

and ya know what? if i didn't have this great new wonder in my life - paris guy, and hopes about where it might could go, i don't know if i would have turned down the job (that they only gave me 48 hours to make a decision of this magnitude was also a big factor). but i did turn it down. and it didn't take anywhere near 48 hours.

all's it took was a couple of phone calls with a couple of really important people in my life, thinking about the direction my life would likely take to and through afghanistan, and realizing that i'm simply not ready. not now. and hearing paris guy tell me he didn't want to go was opium-laden icing on my happy cake.

but it doesn't mean i just stopped wanting to build a nation. it's just that now isn't the time for me. i have other things to do now, more things to learn. and though it'll take me a bit of time and effort to simmer down the over-indulgence of hotdoggery my ego is presently reveling in, the humility in me does recognize that having been granted this opportunity is a pretty telling indication that i will soon see bigger and better doors opening into even more auspicious meadows.


20 January 2010

annie coakley and bullshit sitting

one year ago today, i stood on the packed ground of a frozen mall, a few hundred yards away from the promise of a new leader who spoke of hope, of empowerment, of an america ours to fix. 'twas the worst day i ever loved, mostly because, after walking a thousand miles, up hill both ways, in subzero weather, all by myself, i felt a patriotic pride i'd never before known, and a sense of responsibility for the tomorrow that was about to unfold.

whilst listening to potus 44 take his oath of office, i knew i was no longer a sleeping bystander, but an inspired agent of change, ready to march to a new tune of hope, and ready to build a new generation of leaders.

for the past year, i have supported my president. i have worked very hard to become a leader in progressive national security policy, become more enaged in local and state government, and build a network of leaders. at the same time, i've watched my party disintegrate into finger-pointing factions, so mired in misplaced disappointment, that we have let our real opposition change the reality of the face of the problems in america. and most importantly, how to solve them.

one year ago today, when president obama took his office, we were in the throes of the worst economic crisis since the great depression, following the greatest redistribution of wealth from middle america to the megalomaniacs in big offices on wall street, all by and for economic deregulation policies that took hold during the reagan years, and compounded during the years of the three presidents that followed. obama stepped into a shitstorm that took 28 years to build, and yet the story being told today is that it's his fault those woes stand uncorrected. in the 365 days he's held the reigns. funny how that works.

funny because our loud, reasoned, educated voices are yelling at each other instead of the teabaggers.

a week ago, i was asked if i was going up to Mass whilst gallivanting about the district of columbia, to lend a helping hand to coakley-losing-lately (let's give a shout out to paris guy for having better political instincts than me), to which i responded (and i might be paraphrasing here):

"uh, no. there's no way ted kennedy's seat is falling to the repugs. that would equal more irony than i could even get my arms around. that's just the media spewing controversy to get all of us to pay attention to a non-story."

huh. i s'pose de nile ain't just a river in egypt after all.

and last night, while raw from that loss, and in the midst of an emotional break-down resulting from travel overload, not enough sleep, and a weekend of brain overstimulation, i was ready to throw in the towel, quit my party, and eternal sunshine of the spotless mind my giving a shit about any of this! (i mean, sometimes i really do want to cash in everything i've got and go sell t-shirts on the beach in costa rica).

but today, lucidity prevails. i'm slightly more rational (key word, slightly), because i'm going to give dems a chance to rise from these ashes, pull our heads out of our collective asses, and start working on writing and telling (er, yelling from the highest mountain) the real story here.

the real story here being that liberal policy and big government is the answer to our problems. that conservative policies took money from the poor to build up the rich, ignored our crumbling infrastructure, allowed 9/11 to happen before sending our troops to die in an aghastly unprovoked war, showed not one iota of concern for our rising national debt, and let america's reputation sour around the world, all of which has made us less safe, domestically and abroad.

reagan's biggest and most lasting positive acheivement was that he was able to breathe life into a generation of heartened conservatives who believed and still cling to the fallacy that, "government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem."

and if democrats want to hang on to our majority, and make policies that make more sense for more americans, we have to change that story. we have to tell the true story that americans can and should believe: that government is the solution for fighting the evils of an unregulated and greedy private sector. that the conservative policies of the last three decades have acted as leeches, bleeding the heart, soul, and economic prosperity out of the average joe's, the pitbulls in lipstick, and even us latte drinking liberals, for the sake of a few more bucks in the coffers of its too-big-to-fail banks.

the end.

18 January 2010

the great divide

i am once again in my home away from home, in my other home city, and following a weekend of wondrous national security overload at a truman conference extraordinaire, i here sit contemplating the political scene this one year past the inauguration of a lifetime.

and i have to say, being a tried, true, and dedicated democrat, the one thing i've found i can consistently expect from our party, and liberals generally, is disappointment. we are so good at shooting ourselves in the foot, letting run rampant our self-righteous diatribes of disappointment in a status quo we can't even stop falling over ourselves bitching about to do anything to correct, that we lead ourselves right down a losing lane.

and then we have the audacity to blame it all on a president we lent blood, sweat, tears, and our hearts to see elected, only to abandon him in his hour of greatest need (see falling poll numbers, a healthcare debate gone awry, climate change legislation climbing deeper into a sinkhole).


because our liberal elitism, our over-educated masses of deep thinkers, is too deeply embedded in pragmatism and intellectual prowess to recognize that the great divide our rifts cause do nothing to bring our party together. in fact, it does everything to keep us divided enough that we don't even stop to notice that the republican crazies are telling the only story anyone can hear, and the only story the masses are starting to believe. i mean, when i support the president, i'm accused by liberals of "drinking the kool-aid", or "clapping for tinkerbell".

the thing that republicans do well (and in no small part i credit the absence of intellectual acumen in its rank and file) is stick together, and stand up for one another. when reagan was president, his poll numbers fell like a house of cards his first year. yet instead of sitting back to see conservatives pointing fingers at one another, the republican party came together, to stand stronger together, and brought enough emotional patriotism into the narrative, that they were able to get those poll numbers back up, and win in a landslide come re-election time.

we are letting these teabagger dummies rant on about socialism and obama's far left agenda (lest we forget that our president is also the same hawk who upped the anty in a war in afghanistan), that healthcare will bankrupt us, when it's actually doing nothing about healthcare will bankrupt us. that big government intrustion is what caused the economic crises, and will continue to plague our unemployment numbers whilst we're delving deeper and deeper into an irrevocable abyss of debt, as if the bush administration had nothing to do with the economic crumble.

we are letting them tell the story, we are letting them write the narrative (in words so small they can all understand), because we are too busy bagging on our president, attacking one another because healthcare doesn't go far enough, because obama hasn't closed guantanamo, because he doubled down in afghanistan after promising us peace, love, and togetherness (not sure where _anyone_ heard such nonsense in his campaign stumping). because we think too much to stand down and be supportive, because we are so selfishly engaged in wanting more attention for ourselves, and being right, that we can't stop making liberal noise loud and long enough to be on the side of america.

the worst part about it is that the republican party itself is under the barrage of a great dividing firestorm, with no real leaders, and voices like glen beck, sarah palin, and rush limbaugh speaking the loudest. and instead of taking advantage of this opportunity to help them nail the final coffin in their dwindling party, we're helping them move even farther to the right, and pick up steam along the way.

and what's the end result of all this nonsense? we are going to lose our majority in congress this fall, and then we'll really know what it's like to be behind a president who can't get anything done, because the party of no will hold all the cards. and we'll have no one to blame but ourselves, because when push came to shove, we didn't have the ability to do the hard work, get behind the people trying to help our agenda, and tell a better story than "i'm better than you".

and you know what, we'll deserve it.