This diary was evoked by a New York Times article entitled The New Year’s Cocktail: Regret With a Dash of Bitters
Perhaps this has the most meaning for us older folks, those whose life is mostly behind us, and the new year is another time for taking stock of what we have done, and failed to do. But, those in their prime, or even on the threshold of full adulthood, are looking at the same issue, even if from the other side of the the path of life.
But this is a political blog, so what is all of this psychological introspection stuff? Tip O'Neill's truism "All Politics is Local" is usually thought of as applying to the precinct level, but it is more local than that, politics comes right from the center of our hearts, our minds, our souls.
And those of us who write on this site, who read the diaries and comment, who get incensed at times at the obstinate stupidity of others, and delighted when we find a kindred intelligent soul are being driven by more than what party will be in office, or what candidate will win the nomination. We are motivated by our own hurts, fears, and yes, regrets.
This diary is not about politics. No discussion of the strengths or weaknesses of the Democratic contenders. This is a diary for sharing, for giving something to those who find the passing of a year bringing thoughts that are difficult, maybe even painful.
"What we all could have done had we made a different decision at a pivotal time in our lives" For me, and I suspect for most of us on Dailykos, the one candidate who is missing from the slate with the wisdom, strength of character, and personal courage to change this country is......you know who. It is the reader, and in my case, the writer of these words.
But somewhere along the line we didn't make the choices. What was it, run for the the Student Council in Jr. High School. Or maybe finish college, or go to law school, or go into politics after getting that law degree. Or we raised a family too soon, too late, or not at all. Or we became too rich and decadent; or never made enough to think about more than survival. But somehow, each in our own way, we are on the sidelines. We never got into the position to be heard, to change the country, to perfect our society.
Most of us on Dailykos, according to surveys over the years, do not have much faith in an afterlife, where all of the shortcomings of this existence will be replaced by eternal bliss. And while we know what we don't like, Republicans and weak kneed Democrats, we don't even have the satisfaction of believing in a secular ideological utopia that will bring a revolution that will change the world.
While the article cited discusses regret in general, it is more painful for me, and perhaps for many on this site, as I look at who has risen to the top of the list of candidates for our party, not to mention the other party. Oh, how I wish I could find one of them to revere, to admire, to have confidence in.
So, there is no pleasure, no escape in doing Dailykos for me any more. Not this season, not as we look at real people, one of whom will have such power to influence our country, our world. George W. Bush made it all so easy. He was the common enemy that united us all.
Soon, he will be gone. We will have to look elsewhere for a focus for anger. Is it the rich, those who control corporations. Is it wall street investment bankers-uhh, like Rubin and Corzone. Hmm, I think they are leaders of our party.
No. That delightful class warfare is of another era, when our spiritual ancestors marched in the street under the strains of "The Internationale"
Arise, the wretched of the earth,
Arise, prisoners of hunger,
Reason thunders in its crater,
It is the eruption of the end!
Let's make a blank slate of the past,
Crowds, slaves, arise, arise!
The world is going to change from its base,
We are nothing, let's be everything!
|: This is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
Will be mankind! :|
We are all capitalists now. Whether it is a few grand in a 401K or much much more socked away in Hedge Funds. There is no revolutionary fervor to focus our hope, our rage.
And the war in Iraq is missing a key element that had been a part of previous wars. No American is at risk except those who want to play the game. It is an adventure activity of those who enjoy the risk. The ultimate triple diamond ski run, speeding down the winding road at a hundred miles an hour, being part of the meanest toughest gang the world has ever seen.
Catch the latest TV ad for recruiting for the Army. It boils down to "how else are you going to drive a 2000 horse power vehicle with rocket launchers and the latest in communication gear." And it is all payed for by the American people. And after you play the game, if you live, you are called heroes, with the word "brave" forever annexed to your name. That is until you are forgotten, and get to live under a bridge asking the passing drivers for some spare change for a meal.
Regret. Personal regret. Dailykos helps to make it go away, because we can hope that we are changing things. We can hope that if we get our Party, especially if we get just the right person in office, we will make it all better. There is no need for regret if it all turns out right. And it certainly will, if only my guy/gal is nominated and wins the election.
Do we hope, or do we pretend. Or we playing politics like the soldiers in Iraq are playing war. I don't know. I'm sometimes inspired by this group to do more, to actually go to the city council, to speak up, to make some changes. Is it enough? Is it anything?
There is much to think about on this first day of the new year. I thank all of those who have read my diaries over the last year, and especially those who have shared their comments.