"Hello, my name is Robert Dobbs, and I'm a SLOW LEARNER!"
"HI ROBERT," answers the crowd at that mythical twelve-step group, the Slow Learners of Political Savvy, or SLOPS.
We SLOPS have a serious problem: we want the country to turn around and become an equitable, democratic nation again. But we don't want to contribute money.
I have never in nearly 40 years as a registered voter given a dime to any political candidate. My reasoning has been that they'll take my money, but the big-money contributors -- from Wall Street, Big Energy, the Military Industrial Complex -- will still call the tune. So, why bother?
And you know what? My reasoning may still be correct. The big boys and big girls will still call the tune too much of the time, even if we elect a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and reelect a Democratic president.
But there may be a chance for reform. And there may be new Supreme Court justices who resist rolling back 70 years of civil rights reform. And our social institutions -- social security, medical help for the poor, our government research and regulatory agencies from the FAA to the NOAA -- will continue to function. And Obama's modest but welcome health care reforms will remain intact.
Mind you, I think we're on the wrong course and will stay there. But when we crash to earth economically and socially, our institutions will still be intact. And we can build from them toward a new and better world.
What is the alternative? Simply, oligarchy. Rule by money and power without limits or restraint. The demolition of all federal institutions that redistribute the taxes of the wealthy to the poorest among us. The revival of a Dickensian era where it is the best of times for the very few, and the worst of times for the very many. And in the end, oppression, disorder, and collapse. And we will begin to build again -- but from bare ground where barely one brick stands upon another.
But what can I do? I live in a very liberal area. I could hit the streets -- but it's preaching to the converted. I could join a national phone bank. But I hate doing such things, with a passion. I'm a private person.
So it's money. Only money can I give. It's time for SLOPS like me to hit bottom, look around and realize that we have no choice but to change our ways or surrender the country to agony. And so I made my first contribution ever -- to Obama. Call it the price of a cheap laptop. I'll buy him another cheap laptop in a couple of months, if I can, though it'll hurt. And I also bought a nice inkjet printer for Tom Barrett -- well, he can use the money the way he wants to.
The point is, this isn't just another election. This is a concerted effort by hyper-conservative tycoons and political operatives to alter the political face of America for good by changing the rules so that reform becomes impossible. It's time to get off the stick. If you're a wimp like me, give money -- enough to hurt. If all you can afford to give is five dollars, at least you gave your all. If you're a people person, volunteer with local or national organizations, whichever made sense.
I'm hoping for the best, but fearing the worst. And the very worst thing that I can imagine is a GOP sweep in November -- with me having done absolutely nothing to work against it.
Don't do nothing. Do something, anything. If a slow learner like me can begin to come around, what can you do?