You've registered voters. You campaigned for Kerry. You've argued with friends and relatives till you're blue in the face. Maybe you went to marches and signed petitions. Perhaps you've even joined your local Democratic Party or DFA, but now we're into the second term of this wretched administration, and it's inconceivable to you that there's still another three years to go and you aren't sure you can bear it.
You turn on the television and watch American Pravda--the bloviating, fellating, government propaganda outlets that Americans rely upon for their news. The Fourth Estate has failed us as surely as every other branch of government has, and it's like watching a re-enactment of the last days of the Roman Republic, except that it's not from some musty history tome, it's happening in our own time. You're sure the day is not far away when Bush will appoint a horse to the Senate, and after a brief procedural debate, we'll have an equine committee chairman.
Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. ~Frederick Douglass
You don't believe in tipping points anymore. Some days, you think nothing will bring these law-breaking theocrats to their knees. Not the civil war in Iraq. Not the unnecessary loss of life and human suffering during hurricane Katrina. Neither the indictments, nor even the fact that the majority of Americans think they're incompetent morons seems to register with these people. The only thing that matters to them is power, and they have all of it.
You log into the Dailykos, and it seems like one story after another of corruption, scandal, and democracy in its death throes. And one day, you realize you can't even watch the DailyShow without getting upset. Watching it makes you so angry that you're too overwhelmed to care.
You're not sure what else you have in you.
You're tired. You've had enough. You're done. What you really want to do is return to a time when you felt the government was basically headed in the right direction, and that you paid people to run it for you so you didn't have to pay attention.
You miss your old daily life which included spending lots of time making money, loving your family, and working towards the American Dream . . . you know, pursuing the happiness that that the Constitution wants us to pursue.
You want to go back to enjoying your yard, playing with your dog, listening to your music, buying your stuff . . . without the guilt. And you can, but there's a price to be paid.
Eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty ~Andrew Jackson
We're standing at a crossroads in history.
No one has to tell you that we're living in 'interesting times'. What we do at this juncture matters deeply. You know that America is faced with several choices now about what kind of country it wants to be--that we're faced with choices about what kind of citizens we want to be.
And you're faced, personally with some choices about what kind of person you want to be. You have to ask yourself what the kind of person you are does when your ideals, your hopes, your vision for your country and for the world are imperiled. That's the question you'll be asking yourself if this country keeps going down the road it's going--and we all know we're on the wrong track.
We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed. ~Thomas Jefferson
Maybe you always thought you'd be a brave revolutionary like our Founding Fathers were, but when faced with the reality of circumstances less dire than theirs, you find yourself bewildered at their perseverance against seemingly insurmountable odds. Maybe you've started to realize you don't have it in you to give up your house, your family--to risk your life and your freedom for your ideals. That maybe you're not as righteous as you once hoped or thought you'd be when actual tyranny looked you in the face. And maybe that's made you feel depressed.
Get over it.
Get over it, because every movement in history was made up of people who gave everything and people who gave something. You can be either one, and hold your head up proud. The only thing movements have never been made up of is people who gave nothing; don't be one of them.
We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee. ~Marian Wright Edelman
I've been right there with you. I've worked with you, cried with you, fought with you, railed with you. I've been burned out. I've taken breaks. And that's ok. What I've learned is that this is a long-term struggle. I have to pace myself, and you do too.
This country did not fall into the hands of a corrupt right wing conspiracy overnight. It will not be delivered from tyranny overnight either. Our opponents have spent decades of concerted action, letter writing, donating, organizing, and planning. We will need to do the same.
If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it You just do it one step at a time. ~Marian Wright Edelman
We grew up thinking of our nation as a parent, and we the product of its idealism. But now the tables are turned. We're the parent now, and the country our child. We're responsible for raising it with the right values. For teaching it the error of its ways, with discipline and love. That's part of being a citizen, I guess, and liberty is pretty exhausting, but consider the alternative.
Make a habit of good citizenship.
Don't burn yourself out by taking on too much too soon. Just make a commitment and keep it. One, regularly taken action. Perhaps you can commit to writing a letter to the editor a week. Perhaps you'll make a habit of going to Democratic meetings once a month. Perhaps you'll make a routine of contacting your senators once a month on some issue of importance. The important thing is to do it regularly, and to consider it a duty. Slow and steady wins the race. Perseverance is power.
If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill
Five weeks ago, I started the Fiddler's Challenge--a challenge to myself, readers and posters on this website to try to transform it into a more effective political tool. Many of you took the challenge, but it was Malacandra who, by my very subjective judging process, is the winner of the Banana Bread prize. Malacandra did some amazing work, but that isn't the real story to come out of this challenge.
By starting this challenge, I meant to set an example of what I could do with a five week commitment, and I'm really thrilled at the results. So many of you went out and took a little bit of action.
You weren't silent.
Some of you used my posts to amplify your own causes, and to get something done. Some of you started action centers and action diaries of your own. Respected posters like Meteor Blades and georgia10 started including a 'What you can do about it' section at the end of their posts. I don't know if they did it on their own, or because I kept nagging them, but I hope we'll see more of that. And I hope Markos will give some real thought to how to make the Dailykos a more effective force of concrete political change.
I also hope that someone else will take up the next five week challenge--prod people to make a difference. If we all rotate leadership on this kind of thing, none of us has to be overburdened or burn out.
You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation. ~Marian Wright Edelman
In parting, I want to thank you for tying to make a difference.
It's going to be a long road for us, so pick yourselves up, dust yourselves off, and give significance to your anger, to your outrage, to your hopes and dreams. Make sure that what you're doing here on the Dailykos means something, changes something, honors you and the person you want to be. Perhaps you can join an organization like The Rapid Response Network. Hopefully I've given you a little help, a little kick in the pants, and maybe some words to live by.
The most solid comfort one can fall back upon is the thought that the business of one's life is to help in some small way to reduce the sum of ignorance, degradation and misery on the face of this beautiful earth. ~George Eliot