This is my first diary, so I'll make it short and flammable. With the recent uproar over the FISA pre-vote rhetoric, I have tried to put the reactions here and elsewhere in the progressive community into some context, in order to try to understand it. It seems to me that the arc of the election season has some resemblance to to the major league baseball season as viewed by a Red Sox fan, pre-2004. I'll explain below the fold.....
The Boston Red Sox, post-1918, pre-2004 (hereafter p'04) were known for having promising seasons, igniting early hope and excitement that this might be "our year". Through a series of dissappointments, Red Sox fans came to expect that no matter the early success, the season would inevitably end in failure. This, of course, came to be known as the "Curse of the Bambino", named for the supposed curse on the franchise after selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920.
This pathetic yet overarching feeling of cursed ennui became part of the Red Sox (p'04) fan culture. Mid-season whining about how their team would never have a chance this season when the Sox were near the top of the standings became commonplace among p'04 Sox fans. Although this seemed like waek, lame-ass whimpering to the rest of the baseball world, it created a sense of community among the (supposedly) cursed lot of baseball fans (p'04) in Boston. The accursed many came together to not enjoy their Red Sox and commiserate about their lot in life.
Then 2004 happened. The 2004 regular season was a season like any other. Sure the Sox were doing well but they always blow it in the end, remember? But then they didn't. The won and broke the "curse" of the Bambino. Happy days.
So what does this have to do with anything? So far this election season we have had many reasons to hope for victories both at the top of the ticket as well as many, many races down-ticket. Currently, poblano gives Obama a 76.3% chance of victory in November. The chances of a landslide are not all that remote. Obviously we have an awful lot of work left to do and nothing is certain, but we can make it happen this time, if we want to.
But our recent electoral history has been very disappointing. We had our hopes up in 2000, and we won the popular vote but had the election stolen from us. In 2004, how could anyone vote for W again, right? Wrong. So the doubt fostered by our perennial losing creeps back in. "Something is going to mess this up for us, I just know it."
BOOM, Obama capitulates on FISA. Whether he changed his mind or did this for political expediency, he messed up. And as the p'04 Sox fans that we are, this is our perfect opportunity to wallow in our cesspool of perennial despair. It will save us the trouble of having our hopes up and losing (because that's what we do) if we can light our hair on fire now, as single issue purity whiners.
I mean, sure, it's true that Obama was always a centrist. He spoke of working with Rethugs and the fact that good ideas aren't limited to a single party. He was never in favor of impeaching those people who so richly deserve it. His health care plan was not mandatory, so some would inevitably game the system. Forget about the fact that those last two points are much more important than holding AT&T accountable for doing the bidding of the neocons. It doesn't matter. We can be disgusted, single-issue voters, drop our support now and stop working for this Democrat. We will be less disappointed when he loses, because we are disappointed with him as a candidate right now. Self-fulfilling prophesy? Sure. But at least we are in control.
Never mind that if Obama were president the secret spying would never have been authorized in the first place. If he won't stand up on this one issue, I won't help him defeat the guy that will continue the further descent of our country into the depths of depravity. And losing makes us come together as a community, right? At least we'll have that.
After the Sox victories of 2004 and, most recently 2007, the "cursed" Sox p'04 community has gone the way of the Incas. Now Sox fans have to re-acclimate and form new communities. Whether they are able to adapt and survive in their new and strange world remains to be seen.