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Please begin with an informative title:

Last Tuesday, AlyoshaKaramazov posted a challenge:
I call on all Kossacks to submit at least one diary in the next few weeks, speaking about what the Democratic Party has meant, and means, to them.
My promise in my comment to the diary was to make it so.  As I said in my comment, too often, I find myself reacting to the GOP outrage du jour, without looking at the other side: Why is the issue important to me?  What (or who) shaped my viewpoint, and why?  

To my surprise, I didn't have to come up with something particularly original - I actually wrote what follows in May, 2004 - nearly a lifetime ago.  It's hard for me to believe that almost a decade has passed since I wrote the screed below the Fleur du Kos - but follow me if you want to get inside my head.  As I read this myself, it's a bit creepy how relevant it still is...


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Working on a [now defunct] blog like ASZ has the unintended consequence of keeping my attention focused on depressing current events. Sometimes the psyche just needs a holiday from all the bullshit, and this past Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day (weatherwise) in the Northeast U.S. So, it seemed like a good time for a day trip to New York City to get my mind off of things for a bit.

Despite being somewhat agitated by the long wait inbound at the Holland Tunnel (is there any good way in and out of the city on a weekend?), I actually found a place to park at 11th St. S. and Avenue of the Americas, right on the border of the Greenwich Village and West Village neighborhoods. There are several shops in the area that my wife is quite fond of, ergo the reason that the Village was our first destination. Myself, I’m partial to Washington Square, and it was a great day to just hang out with the crowd in the square.

I confess a love affair with Greenwich Village. The ambiance of the neighborhood is hard to describe to someone who’s never been there. Walking to Washington Square, you pass through residential areas that are truly tremendous. The Village is not the type of place that’s packed with the tourist busses. The multitude of small shops, vintage clothing flea markets, and street sales on a (early) summertime weekend makes you forget all about the WalMarts of the world. And if you can’t find a great place to eat, you’re simply not looking.

After a rather late (4PM) lunch, we headed uptown for a few hours, and then cleared Manhattan by 8PM. All in all, it was a completely relaxing 10 or so hours except for fighting the traffic. So, as my traveling companion dozed on the drive home, I started thinking about my day. I don’t know if this was a good mental move, particularly since there was one instance that brought me back to Blogistan reality.

I came away from my day with the desire to grab George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul “Jerry” Bremer, and Dan Senor by the lapels and drag them into Washington Square on a warm Saturday afternoon. “Guys,” I would tell them, “this is what real life’s about. I know living in the dungeons must be bleak. You need to get out more. Whatever you’re doing, whoever you’re doing it to, is not so important. This is what’s important. George, sit down awhile. Hey, Don, check out the street performers over there! And Jerry, isn’t watching those dogs in play yard better than the doggy videos from Abu Ghraib? Dan, loosen up, take off the shirt and get some sun on your pasty white ass. When you’re ready, guys, let’s roll over to Jekyll and Hyde’s for a Margarita!”

Ok, so my fantasy scenario would be an untidy representation of my true agenda (cue the dark music). That’s alright. I figure these guys have more than a nodding acquaintance with false agendas. When we left the square, I’d take them for a walk down Christopher St., cut over on Ave. of the Americas, then make a left down 11th St. When we got to 7th Ave., we’d make another left. And then stop.

If there were ever an ersatz memorial that all of my government buddies needed to see, it would be the one at 7th Ave. S. and Greenwich St. I have to tell you that until yesterday, I didn’t know it existed myself. It’s a simple chain link fence around a parking lot. This simple chain link fence has literally thousands of 3″X3″ ceramic tiles hanging on it – you know, the kind of tiles on the wall in every American bathroom. The tiles wired to this fence are hand painted, and have a single theme – New Yorkers (specifically kids) paying tribute to the events of September 11, 2001.

In my little mental passion play, about a dozen armed New Yorkers firefighters would step out, and force the guys I’m escorting to read every single message on every single tile. My own unexpected viewing the tiles was an emotional experience for me. I figure Bush, Rumsfeld, Bremer, and Senor’s should be, too.

“Why have you forgotten?” would be my simple question to each (in my best Jacob Marley voice, of course). If I could rattle some chains for effect, that would be cool, too.

…After which, we’d finally head down the street for those Margaritas. I think Dan Senor would be a hoot with a few drinks in him.

[There's only one image remaining from that blog post nearly 10 years ago.  It's in the intro to this piece, though the original posting was rather image-heavy:
To all the canines who gave their noses and hearts to sooth the wounds of a nation...
What I hope is that this old blogpost truly communicates what I'm about, and why I'm a social Democrat.  We don't forget.  We commit to a better tomorrow, no matter how shitty this particular day might be.  Because that's what we do.]

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