OK

What gate did we think we were crashing, exactly? A gate to a garden party? A cotillion, perhaps? An ivory tower nestled in the green, green fields of Oxford?

For the past couple of years, this site has been about nothing but taking control of a weak, ineffective and inbred party, making it strong with new leadership and new vision, and taking our country back from a rabid majority gang of power-hungry, self-serving, religious-pandering, imperialistic, militaristic, corrupt cronies. That, at least, was why I was here.

What? Were all the diaries entitled "Worst. President. Ever." just little jokes we made in cyberspace, as of much importance as flippant little theater reviews? Did we not realize years ago that this administration fully intended to gut the Constitution, create a unitary executive and render not just the Geneva Conventions but our Bill of Rights quaint?

We were all just - ha ha ha - kidding? Did we - we who pride ourselves on being so media savvy - buy  into the spin that we were "alarmist" and "extremist" with all our dire warnings and that deep down, we never really believed it would come to this?

I sure as hell wasn't kidding. And I didn't think the rest of you were, either. This torture bill ... I'd call it a line in the sand but for the fact that there have been so many lines in the sand in the past six years there's no sand left. We're down to bedrock now, folks, and it ain't pretty. But then, I'd always assumed we never expected it to be. Frankly, I always thought it would come to this. This and far, far worse.

But that's why I thought we were here, to rebuild and retake control of a political party, not abandon it. After all, who's got the power? Ask Howard Dean. We've got the power.

This is democracy, people. Seize it. Take control. Grab hold of the Democratic Party and shake it until it the weak fall out and only the strong are left. Get fighters and warriors for justice and true statesmen and women in office. Isn't that why we are here? Isn't it?

This republic is bigger than this despairing moment. This democracy, as many generations have witnessed, is worth sacrificing for, is worth dying for. It's hard to see it at this dark and humiliating point in our national history, when our Congress has tossed away some of our most fundamental rights, but we are lucky -- yes, I said lucky -- to have been born at a critical time in history, lucky to be participants in the great, unfolding pageant of this nation. Even at this very dark time, we are blessed. Whether we believe in a divinity or not, we have either been chosen - or the times chose us - to be the bearers of the standard for this country's ideals.

Just a small reminder here: We are actors, not audience, in our civic life, unlike previous generations.

My grandmother couldn't even vote, for pete's sake, until she was 42 years old because her mind was considered too itty bitty and frilly to comprehend the great issues of her day. Some of our grandparents and great-grandparents were other people's property, the equivalent of cattle. Some of our grandparents had their land seized and were imprisoned because of their ancestry a mere six decades ago.

But not - as of yet - us.

WE are the spine we are looking for. WE are the heart, the soul, the courage of this country. WE are the Democratic Party, not Mary Landrieu or Ben Nelson or Frank Lautenberg or Jay Rockefeller. Those representatives serve at our will. They are our servants, not our masters. And WE are Americans who are, to put it mildly, about three galaxies beyond outrage, as well we should be.

So when we've fully cycled through the necessary step of dueling "Calm the Fuck Down!" and "I Will NOT Calm the Fuck Down!" diaries, when we've flushed the fresh shock of yesterday's legislation out of our systems, when the betrayal and grief and outrage give way to the urge for fierce and united action ... it will be time to find a candidate who stands for what we believe in and GIVE. Give money, give time, give expertise. Hit the streets, hard. Wailing, if you must, but goddamn it, hit them. Go to another district. Hell, go to another state if you have to and put in the time. And if this set of netroots candidates wins and it turns out they don't come through for us, kick them the hell out in the next election. We'll do it over and over and over again until we get it right, if that's what it takes.

That's what democracy looks like: messy and unpredictable and sometimes slow and often heartbreaking and LOUD ... but man, it's a beautiful construct and we are lucky to have it. It is OURS. This country is OURS. We will not lie down and we will not go quietly.

Get over to the Act Blue netroots candidates page and read some bios. Volunteer time. Give some bucks. Grieve with dedication, grieve with focus, grieve with fierce resolve. It's time to kick some ass for democracy.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 07:50 AM PDT.

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