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Perhaps it is because I am worn out with too many AP students - 109 in 3 sections, 38,33,38, and I view my responsibility towards them as inspiring them to care about our politics and government so that they will participate and make a difference.

Perhaps it is because I like and admire people like Raul Grijalva, who came out in support of Obama because he believed in a candidate who was promising something different.

Perhaps it is because we have elections in Virginia this year - Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and all 100 seats in the House of Delegates, that I know and like all three Dems running statewide, and know that what happens in Washington in the next month or so will have a huge impact upon the future of the government in the Commonwealth in which I have lived for 27 years.

All of this is preface.  For what I have to say, you will have to go below the fold.

If what we are going to get is the 21st century version of triangulation, then I wonder why I even bother to do the things I have - writing, speaking, phone calls, teaching.

If the lesson learned from the health care debacle of the Clinton era when Rahm Emanuel was last in the White House is that a weak bill that addresses none of the key issues is better than nothing, then I wonder if Emanuel has forgotten that Clinton's problems did not begin with health care, but when he cut off the legs of Bruce Babbitt at Interior on grazing fees and the words went around the Hill that the new president could be rolled if people stood up to him.

I thought we were electing someone to lead.  We were told that change comes from the bottom up.  We were challenged to make our voices heard.  In a sense we were presented with a 21st century version of FDR's famous statement, "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."  We have made our voices clear on so many issues before this - on DADT, on torture and accountability, on Iraq and Afghanistan - and on health care that if we could not have true single payer then at least we had to have a meaningful public option.  We have written, we have organized, we have called, we have lobbied on behalf of the issues we were told during the campaign were important.

One by one they have been bargained away.  

We worked hard to get to 60 Senate votes -  with the final victory of Al Franken and the switch of Arlen Specter, in theory we have that magic number, but our Senate leadership has been afraid to hold Republican feet to the fire - to call their bluffs on filibusters, to make them demonstrate their recalcitrance to the American people.  

I said this was a personal statement.  I speak for no one except myself.

I am watching and listening.  I will continue to watch and listen, through the statement to the joint session of Congress next week.

If there is no public option, I will no longer support this administration.  

What is there left to support?

On education policy, about which I care deeply, I am afraid that I have to agree with Diane Ravitch that Arne Duncan has turned out to be Margaret Spellings in drag - the policies coming from the Dept. of Education have the real potential to destroy what is left of American public education.

On torture and accountability - if we are not going to prosecute those who acted within the improper legal guidance they were given, why are we not prosecuting those who gave the clearly inappropriate and illegal commands in the first place?  And by the way, if following orders was an unacceptable defense for we prosecuted in Nuremberg and other tribunals after WWII, how can we allow it to stand for wrongdoing by our own officials, petty or high?  

Why is John Brennan in charge of interrogation policy, when he was an official in the CIA during the time of the abuses and did nothing to stop them?  If morale of CIA personnel is important, what about those who tried to do the right thing in an agency being politically manipulated in the last administration, what does that say to them?

Why is Ben Bernacke's reappointment being announced before there is a complete examination of the actions of the Fed in the buildup to the crisis, and whether or not there was favoritism in how bailout funds were given to financial institutions?

The items I could add to this list are too many.  I am sure others can add their own.

We had an opportunity to truly change our politics, our government, our society.

Every time I turn on the tv and hear the next trial balloon on policy, representing yet another abandonment of what I thought we were being promised, I look at the young people who were energized but who now see their hopes being dashed and begin to see signs of real dissolution.  Already in Virginia we have seen major fall off in Democratic enthusiasm, and I do not think it is just election weariness - it is also because some who labored hard are wondering what they gained in return.  

Yes, we got a decent Supreme Court Appointment.  That was not negotiable.

But many other appointments still linger.  And far too many Bush officials still continue in office -  US Attorneys, anyone?

Health care became personal for me this summer went I went to the RAM event in Wise.  30 days from now I will be in a similar event a mere 60 miles away from their, in Grundy.  Next year I will again be in Wise.  I come to believe that my volunteering to assist the dentists in triage is a far more meaningful activity than anything I can do in politics.

I have been a political creature my entire adult life, and most of my adolescence.  I am close to being ready to walk away from it.

I find that I can barely manage to watch Keith and Rachel, as I find myself outraged and disappointed and anger.

And if I am feeling like this, what then will be the impact on the broader American populace who thought they were voting for real change if what we get is the mind set that a bad bill - with no public option, no meaningful control on insurance company profits, and possibly not even a real ban on rescission and applying preexisting conditions as a means of denying coverage - is more important than having the honest fight for meaningful health care reform, then the current Democratic control in Washington will be very shortlived, and justifiably so.

I have continued to teach government during a period when much of what we believed about America was justifiably called into question by the actions of the previous administration, and the failure of the Democratic leadership to fully confront the wrongdoing that was evident.  At one point I disagreed strongly with Nancy Pelosi, making a statement that I and some others chose to use as a sig -  If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy.   Someone made up some bumper stickers -  white letters on a stark black background.  When they didn't sell, he sent me what he had left. I put one on my car.  My wife thinks it looks strange.  I don't.  The principle still applies, even during a Democratic administration which however disappointing it may be has not come close to the impeachable offenses of its predecessor.  My having it on my car was a sign that I still believed the American system of government could function.

In teaching I have tried to inspire students to participate because by participating they could make a difference.

Right now my ability to believe that our actions can make a difference is hanging by a very thin thread.  If the President does not come out forcefully on behalf of meaningful health reform in his remarks to Congress next week, that thread will snap.  If he will not listen to the many progressives in the House who have drawn a line on the public option, then why should he listen to us?  And then how many of them will be willing to truly stand up, and being willing to block a bill without a public option?  Perhaps that might be the only thing that could reattach that strand, that could motivate me to support those like Raul Grijalva who are actually showing some courage on this important issue.

This is a personal statement.  It is also something I wish I never had to consider.  I thought it was bad enough when the Senate went along with the Military Commissions Act, when our Democratic leader in the House refused to assert accountability for the wrongdoing of the last administration.

This is potential far more devastating, because our hopes were raised.  Perhaps we expect too much?  If that is the response, then my rejoinder is, why the hell did we work so hard to make a difference, if we are now to be told they we expected too much?

I am frustrated, angry, disappointed.  I suspect I am far from alone.  My heart aches for those like nyceve and slinkerwink who have been working their hearts out on the issue of healthcare and may now see their hopes dashed.  I wonder about those who did hundreds of door knocks and thousands of phone calls, who gave more money than they could afford, and now have to wonder, "what for?"

Oh yes, there are certainly things better than an administration of McCain and Palin.  But that is a pretty low bar to jump over, and I think we have a right to expect - no, to DEMAND - far more.

So now I can only wait until Wednesday night.  I wish I had the time to lobby, but I must fulfill my responsibility to my students.  I will send the obligatory emails to those electeds I know, supporting those like Grijalva who are standing up for what is right, challenging those who might be wavering.  But I am not their constituent, only an acquaintance.  I will offer my voice, but the doubts I have about the effectiveness of my voice are increasing even as I write these words.

Often I send out a link to my diary so that acquaintances will know what I have posted.  I will not do that with this posting.  I will tweet the title, but that is all.  I suspect it will disappear rather quickly.  After all, the title is not informative, and who really cares what one aging teacher thinks about issues like this.

I felt I had to write it, even as my thoughts are too disorganized, perhaps because what I am contemplating are two things I thought I would never consider - leaving politics and leaving teaching of government.  Whatever I do I want it to be meaningful, to have some chance of making a difference.  It is also why I write.

And at this moment I feel exhausted and disappointed and as if what I am doing is of little purpose.

Peace

Originally posted to teacherken on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:17 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  What you're doing is not of little purpose. (15+ / 0-)

      But I agree with you that if Obama can't support real health care reform (and the public option is the last bastion of real HCR, in my view) there's nothing to support in the Obama administration.  What the hell are they keeping their powder dry for,if not this?

      In answer to your sig.:  Yes, if we hold them in our hearts and keep fighting. (I asked myself that question in FL in 2000 and 2004.  The Republic is still alive when our electeds won't stand up for it--it just went back to the place it originally came from:  the hearts and minds of the people.)

      To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:25:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Me, too. All that money, all that time, I was (10+ / 0-)

      driving to a (red)state where gambling and prostitution were legal, and I spent money I didn't have for this?

      I may come back and add to your tags, later, but right now, just tipped and rec'd.

      "You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but we found a way to piss everybody off!" -Bipartisanship 2009

      by Jacques on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:28:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'll be right there with you, Ken (28+ / 0-)

      If we lose the public option at Barack Obama's hands, I'll start writing to support Howard Dean mounting a primary challenge to Obama in 2012.  Clearly trusting Obama to do the right thing hasn't worked out so well, so mounting a threat to his presidency by splitting the party might be the only way to influence him.

      It's time to identify and support the Real Democrats, and call out those who don't deserve the term, even if they nominally head the party.

      It is up to us now. RIP, Teddy.

      by Dallasdoc on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:30:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  hanging on by the same thread... (5+ / 0-)

      thanks, as always, for writing so clearly what is knocking around unorganized in the collective conscious.

    •  Not tipped, not rec'd (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sherijr, Nashville fan

      No disrespect intended but I feel that your personal issues color your prognosis.

      "And at this moment I feel exhausted and disappointed"

      It is a well known fact of neurology that being emotionally and physically stressed effects our mood. You sound depressed, your depression then allows you to take a negative view of the future.

      I think your are wrong. We will get healthcare reform with the public option. Time and time again people on this and many other Dem sites have felt exactly as you do now. We do not know the future. How often do I have to pound that into everyone's thick skulls?

      We do not know the future.
      We do not know the future.
      We do not know the future.

      Have faith.

      If you want a vision of the future, imagine two brillo pads fighting over a hot dog -- forever.

      by MnplsLiberal on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:07:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  did I ask for either tips or recommendations? (5+ / 0-)

        Did I attempt to speak for anyone else?

        I expressed what I was feeling.  I explained why.  I said I suspected I was not alone.

        Peace.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:15:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  again, no disrecpect was intended (0+ / 0-)

          Because I DO respect you, which is why I am being bluntly honest.

          I honestly believe that you state of emotional exhaustion is coloring your outlook. I've seen it before. I think that is what's going on here. Having personally witnessed a great deal of hand wringing here and many other places I have come to respect how powerfully our emotions can affect our thinking. And again, I'm just being straight up and honest, I think you're mistaken.

          I'd bet on it.

          If you want a vision of the future, imagine two brillo pads fighting over a hot dog -- forever.

          by MnplsLiberal on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:22:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My state is not emotional exhaustion (5+ / 0-)

            I am physically worn down.  

            My outlook is something that was already developing well before I became physically worn down.  It started with my experience at Wise, and reflection that resulted.

            I have watched, I have commented . . .

            learning what Grijalva was saying about the public option today - which I knew well before I turned on Keith - led me to do some serious questioning.

            I am quite well aware of how emotions color our thinking.  But might I remind you that it was emotions that for many led to the level of commitment they made to the last campaign?

            And I think I offer plenty of rationale reasons in the diary for how I feel- rather than my emotions coloring my thinking, it is my thinking and my reflections that are coloring my emotions.

            do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

            by teacherken on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:28:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  "We'll have pie in the sky by and by!" (0+ / 0-)

        ...or is that more accurately, "Bye and bye!" as in, we're out of here?

        "The spirit is to win in the heart of the enemy." -- Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

        by Cyberoid on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:45:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  it is now past my bedtime (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      addisnana

      and I have to deal with an issue of cat conflict, and I will have to get up early tomorrow to finish grading papers.

      I will read any additional comments then.

      Good night.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:16:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ken...I can only say (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sharoney

        that I am an eternal optimistic cynic about things, wavering between true faith in man and an understanding that man is far from perfect and proves it every day.

        I find my flagging positive views about Obama becoming less so.  The man who is in the White House now is not the man I campaigned for, and I think Washington is changing him.  

        I think he is facing nearly unprecedented problems, and I know he didn't run as a progressive activist.  When he said we are not red states or blue states, he meant that.  

        But there are certain core issues and ideas Democrats should fight for, and when we are this close to a true shot at real health care reform...well, this is the issue that may break my spirit.

        I sense real frustration in your writing, and that's disappointing and saddening.  Because no one stays focused on the positive like you, while at the same time remaining level and true.

        if this shakes you, then consider me shaken, as well.  

        Before I, too, sign off, let me say what the optimistic cynic in me would say: maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but someday soon this too shall pass.

        Change takes time. it's a marathon, not a sprint.

        by LarsThorwald on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:57:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  sinuses woke me up (0+ / 0-)

        had not taken evening pills

        now that I am up and this is no longer visible, will check the comments before returning again to bed

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 09:30:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  we need to get rid of the procedural filibuster (7+ / 0-)

    thanks for posting. we do feel like this.

    we have to get serious.  trumka is a good sign, so is fire dog lake and act blue, so is weiner and schumer.

    Medicare for All: the cleanest slogan and the best way forward.

    by furiouschads on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:24:26 PM PDT

    •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChocolateChris

      It's a valuable tool for the minority, meaning that it's a valuable check on the minority.  We just need to get the Democrats some balls so they don't cower at the mere threat of a filibuster.

      •  No, the procedural filibuster isn't. (6+ / 0-)

        The procedural filibuster is the threat version, without the speeches.

        The actual filibuster is a valuable tool, the procedural version is not.

        Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:39:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How does that work? (0+ / 0-)

          Does a procedural filibuster have any real effect on how the Senate operates?

          •  Yes. (7+ / 0-)

            In the procedural version, you merely have to state the intent to filibuster, and if you're not forced to a real one, you still get to block a vote until a cloture vote passes, but you don't have to do the speeches.

            In the honest to gods version, you get to see them set up cots and read telephone books and whatnot.  I believe there's something about each senator only being allowed two filibuster sessions per 'day', and a working 'day' can last weeks, so stamina is actually a consideration as they tag team off each other.

            Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

            by Ezekial 23 20 on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:43:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Heh...and the NYC phone book (0+ / 0-)

              is actually more factual than most of what comes out of GOP mouths...somebody might learn something, lol.

              GOP: Turning the U.S. into a banana republic since 1980

              by Youffraita on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:00:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Let them (4+ / 0-)

                fucking filibuster this thing.  Call them on their threat and make them follow through.  Who has the most to lose with this political maneuver?  The people who filibuster health care reform...not the folks who wait it out.

                It's come down to a game of chicken....who's going to swerve first.  I say stare the mother fuckers down and make them filibuster.  We win either way.  

                •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  teacherken, Ezekial 23 20

                  To me the worst thing wouldn't be losing the public option. The worst thing would be losing it without making anyone vote on it. Make them go home and explain why they voted against this. Make the cowardly senators who won't state their positions (I'm looking at you Wyden) go on record. I want to see Lieberman and Bayh and Conrad and the rest of the gang Have to actually vote with Republicans and then go home to their states and explain it. I'm guessing if it actually came to a vote a few of them would get weak in the knees. But we all know Harry Reid will never make the club vote on anything that might make them uncomfortable.

                  •  procedural fil is painless, thus the problem (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ezekial 23 20

                    they don't have to stand there and read the phone book. they don't even have to be identified.

                    the real filibuster was rare (7 per term) vs the cockroachiness of the procedural (138). see here for more info.

                    the procedural filibuster is the enemy of getting things done.  we want reform, now and always. we are progressives, we expect change and evolution. it is our enemy.

                    it is the enemy of a working progressive House, because they will pass good stuff that will die in the Senate, thus exposing themselves to criticism without benefiting from the results of passage.

                    killing it with a 51/49 vote would be a good tribute to Sen. Kennedy.

                    Medicare for All: the cleanest slogan and the best way forward.

                    by furiouschads on Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 05:15:29 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  agreed - people have 2 b willing 2 pay a price (9+ / 0-)

          in the civil rights movement, we often deliberately broke the law.  We were prepared to go to jail on behalf of our beliefs.  Here I want to make a distinction from some "pro-life" people who not only break the law but use violence to try to advance their point of view or suppress the points of view with which they disagree.

          Part of the effectiveness of the civil rights movement, like Gandhi's efforts in India, was the over the top response of opponents compared to our lack of violence.  That helped to persuade many who were not sure what to think.

          At a time when the American people want our government to address their needs, seeing a group of Republicans trying to bring government to a halt because they lack the votes to defeat legislation might be a very expensive proposition for them.  And I suspect that in a real filibuster they would not be able to hold all their members.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:44:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Retired HS teacher here. Thanks for sharing. (13+ / 0-)

    Share some of the same sentiments. Those classes are too big, but hey, who cares, we have wars to fight, mall shopping to do, etc.

    Here's to a brighter day for you and for all.  May all have perfect health, wealth, love and creative self expression. divine order

  •  I am a progressive and politically active (16+ / 0-)

    because of a few great teachers that I had growing up. They probably don't realize how much of an impact they had on me. Keep up the good fight, your students need you and we need more teachers like you to shape young minds.

    "The truth shall set you free, but first it'll piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

    by Cleopatra on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:32:47 PM PDT

  •  Ken, what happened to Yes We Can! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, bronte17, greengemini, addisnana

    I agree with you and am saddened that you are discouraged.  
    I think Obama failed in how he tried to sell healthcare and as a physician, I believe he did not truly understand health care enough to sell it. Neither does Sebelius and Rahm Emmanuel is a pure political creature.
    Obama's health insurance  plan should have been sold as health insurance, not health care.
    Americare - choice of doctor and hospital, no insurance company or government coming between you and your doctor, coompetition between private and public insurance companies.
    It should have been sold as Health Insurance Reform, not Health Care Reform and it should have been limited to questions of insurance - those questions are

    1. Who pays the health care bill - a private insurance company or a public Medicare like entity

    2)Banning recission
    3)Banning the use of pre-existing conditions.
    It should not have even been called health care - these are all Insurance reforms, not health care reforms.
    He should have done that first and then if he wanted to deal with issues of health care, independent of insurance such as the use of EMRs, reforming the fee for service system, encouraging primary care physicians - that should have been another bill about Health Care, NOT health insurance.

    Finally the analogy that should have been used would have been to the choice people have between private and public schools.  No one calls for the abolition of all public schools. No, we have a public option in education.

    Finally Ken, please don't leave the fight.
    This time our side may win.

  •  Don't give up (7+ / 0-)

    Whatever you do, don't give up.  Then the people you were fighting against for so long have just won over you.  I wrote a similar (although admittedly less personal and eloquent) diary about this for a few other websites (here it is on docudharma).  

    I concluded differently than you - I said that I felt overwhelmed, but the solution is not to give up, but to get involved in places where you know you can have victories.  Start taking small, local action - I'm helping to start a community food garden at my school this year, for instance.  Maybe focus more on local politics, or even just abandon electoral politics but stay active on issues that matter to you.

    I interviewed Cindy Sheehan a few months ago and she said something very wise.  The theme of the talk she gave beforehand was taking local action because the federal government is owned by corporations, and she said, "Work where you’re gonna make a difference.  Work where you can celebrate victory!"

  •  Your comments are always valuable (9+ / 0-)

    I share many of your sentiments. I continue to fight and do all that I can, sending Faxes to many politicians, etc. I like the kid Oakland post today. . Of course I worry about triangulation. I respond to requests for money from Obama, OFA etc by saying "I worked like hell for Obama in the primaries and the fall election. I gave hundreds of hours and hundreds of dollars. I won't change horses in midstream, but neither will I give a penny more until I see results in healthcare, which requires real regulation of insurance companies, real regulation of the big banks and something to reduce our insane military budget and over-reach".

    Keep up your good work. I wouldn’t admire you if you were a robot.

    •  I recommended KO's diary (8+ / 0-)

      and hope it has a salutary effect.  But I also know Grijalva is on record saying the administration is calling health care advocacy groups saying they are dropping support for the public option.

      I probably did not even have time to write this diary.  I watched and listened to Keith while doing paperwork that did not require my full attention.  I am not online that much now because of my burdens at the start of a school year.  What I have read recently has increasingly had a discouraging impact.

      Were I not so busy, I would be writing and calling and lobbying like all get out.  I cannot.  And I feel that even if I could I am starting to believe that it will not make a difference.

      NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE -  that has an enervating impact, does it not, to even consider that possibility?

      I know I make a difference when I do the paperwork for the dentists in triage -  it enables them to process that many more patients.

      Perhaps I am reaching the point where I need to see some result in order to motivate myself to keep going.

      One bright spot - last night a student who graduated in 2002 whom I had taught as a freshman and as a junior contacted me to tell me he is now about to begin a career as a social studies teacher.  I am starting to see my progeny in classrooms - social studies, english, math.  

      But I am tired, and perhaps I discourage too easily when I am tired?

      I am waiting until next week.  But I could not hold my tongue until then.

      Peace.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:53:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A personal statement, maybe, (16+ / 0-)

    but one that reflects what millions of people are feeling right now.

    The election of Barack Obama went a long way to restoring my faith in the American people and the system - a faith that for many decades ago had been nearly non-existent.

    With all the promise of a new day that existed less than a year ago, it is heart-wrenching to find myself once again starting to distrust our government.  I surely hope that he can turn it around....

    I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

    by Wayward Wind on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:37:12 PM PDT

  •  I'm with you. (5+ / 0-)

    I have watched the Obama administration and Congress get rolled on one issue after another. They keep making concessions to Repugs and don't get any support in return. If they cave on health care reform, I have no reason to think they won't cave on everything else.

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - A. Einstein

    by FWIW on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:38:02 PM PDT

  •  You are not alone (6+ / 0-)

    And I regularly read your blog entry.  I hope you never change!

    No one should be a politician if they've never lived paycheck to paycheck.

    by Savvy813 on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:38:02 PM PDT

  •  Ken, sometimes we have to do things knowing (9+ / 0-)

    ... we might not get the outcome we wanted.

    There is the most absolutely beautiful near full moon coming up right now thru the lavender smoke to the east.  Beauty in ashes, be in the moment. Take a break. You did the right thing, I'm pretty sure if not for you and Mike Stark the state of VA would have a senator as bad as.... my congressperson.

    You know what's wrong? We're both older than the President. They're stumbling about, wondering how they do this.  Let's be patient with the grasshopper and see if he catches on that the constant RahmAnnon comments in the MSM are causing him to drop like a stone in the polls.

    I am sure the progressive caucus is going to give him an earful from us about all the teabaggers.

    Go look at the pics in mindoca's diary. We're not alone.
    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

    by AmericanRiverCanyon on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:38:32 PM PDT

  •  I never bought into the Obama worship (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, Youffraita, addisnana

    that many people here did. I was a Hillary supporter but enthusiastically voted for Obama. I am not an "activist base" Democrat, but I felt really strongly about the public option. That was very important to me; and like you, I feel betrayed.

    But I didn't buy into "Obamamania" to the extent that others did. A lot of people did buy into the "Rock Star" or "JFK" personification of Obamaa. I didn't. I didn't see him as some great charismatic visionary.

    So my disappointment doesn't stem from that. It doesn't stem from any expectation that I had for Obama to be antoher JFK, LBJ, or FDR. It's anger over how he has allowed the right to outmaneuver him on healthcare.

    I really hope that what I am about to right isn't true, but I really wonder if Obama ever meant to do much in the way of reform. I have a feeling that those meetings that he had early on with Big Pharma and the Insurance Industries were about reassuring them that he wasn't going to change much. I bet that he thought that forcing an MA-style plan on everyone would be enough to satisfy the masses, including his base. I could be wrong, but I doubt that he ever really wanted the public option and was then shocked when his own base expressed outrage.

    I hate to say this, but I think that Hillary Clinton would have handled this much better. At the very least she would have disabused herself of the whole idea of "bipartisanship" at the outset. Yet Obama is still trying to get Olympa Snowe on board, even though she has no incentive to support him. She is so popular in ME that she has that seat until she dies or retires. Why would she give an inch to Obama, especially if it means that she might have a Club for Growth primary challenger in 2012?

    But I will support Obama in 2012. I won't cut off support because whomever the Republicans nominate in 2012 would make this administration look like FDR. I'm not going to cut my nose to spite my face.

  •  Blast me, kossacks... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rossl

    but O was always too right-wing for my taste...and he's proving it now.

    I WISH we had a Democratic president who could controi a majority in the House & Senate...

    Someone who knew in advance that bipartisanship would never fly as long as the GOP moves in lock-step.

    Like Ken, I will await the good news that I'm wrong...while expecting the bad news that O is simply incapable of delivering on any of his promises b/c he still thinks the GOP will listen to reason.

    GOP: Turning the U.S. into a banana republic since 1980

    by Youffraita on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:43:02 PM PDT

    •  And he's dumb to believe that (6+ / 0-)

      I can't believe that he learned nothing from Clinton's first two years in office. I still can't believe that he learned nothing from the debate over the Stimulus bill. The GOP is not interested in "bipartisan" negotiations.

      I still don't know why he is still trying to get Olympia Snowe on board. She has no incentive to vote for any pro-Democratic bill. Her seat is safe because she is very popular in ME. And if she does vote for the Obama plan she puts herself in jeopardy because it increases the likelihood that a Club for Growth Challenger primary challenger will run against her in 2012.

  •  Throwing it all away (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, Youffraita, greengemini, banjolele

    Coming out of the election in November, riding a tide of history, I've watched the President and his people take that forward momentum and do everything they can to disperse it. Embracing torture, wiretapping; refusing to look back at the high crimes and misdemeanors of the previous administration.

    Seeking bipartisanship by conceding everything to those who have been thoroughly rejected by a majority of the country while trashing those who worked hardest to make the election a success.

    If they think the right wing is angry and must be appeased, what will the abandoned and betrayed progressives do?

    How much do you have to fuck up the country before the press respects you and the Beltway crowd seeks to accommodate you? How many babies must we disembowel with our bare hands on Sunday talking head shows to prove we are legitimate? Are we going to be forced to destroy the party to save it - and how is it we are getting stuck with that choice?

    Fire Rahm; replace him with Howard Dean.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:46:57 PM PDT

  •  I still have hope for Health Care reform (6+ / 0-)

    But I am with you regarding the current Secretary of Education and his ideas regarding public schools and incentive pay tied to state test scores. Arne Duncan was a terrible choice and Obama doesn't know what he is talking about when it comes to public education vs charter schools.

    Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

    by BMarshall on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:48:07 PM PDT

    •  Yes, I feel the same way. (6+ / 0-)

      I don't want to give up on health care reform, but I fear that without a public option, it will be all over.

      I'm disappointed with the way this has shaped up, but I still have hope. I'm also disappointed in the employment situation in this country, and can only hope that if the health care situation is addressed it will have some effect on jobs too.

      But I don't like Arne Duncan's education philosophies AT ALL, and I see no way that his ideas are going to improve the mess we have now.

      We can't standardize test our way out of this education mess. I used to write and edit those tests, and felt horrible about it most of the time because they were so shoddily done. They are nothing to base our entire country's education policy on. George Bush already proved that.

      We need a whole new education system. We don't need a 19th century agrarian-based kind of schooling. But you won't find many people -- including today's teachers -- who will agree to abandon the current system for a new one.

      And with all the idiotic parents out there thinking that a presidential address is some kind of indoctrination into liberal propaganda, I'm beginning to think much of our population is completely hopeless and unreachable. They will have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into a 21st century kind of education.

      "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

      by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:58:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I understand your frustration. I feel the same.. (0+ / 0-)

    frustration myself. I do admire the POTUS for many reasons.  Yet, I'm beginning to understand that he is a "centrist" rather than a progressive, IMHO, for the most part.  

    As I posted in another comment, a Slate article reported that he stated he is a "New Democrat":

    ...he brought members of the House New Democrat Coalition Coalition to the White House and told them, "I am a New Democrat." According to Politico, Obama went on to describe himself as a fiscally responsible, pro-growth Democrat who supports free and fair trade and opposes protectionism.

    New Democrats, as defined in Wikipedia are:

    "...New Democrats were more open to deregulation than the previous Democratic leadership had been...The new democrats and allies on the DLC were responsible for the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement...

    An important part of New Democrat ideas is focused on improving the economy..."

    Further, in listing the Origins of the "New Dems", this is mentioned:

    After the severe electoral losses to Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, a group of prominent Democrats began to believe their party was out of touch and in need of a radical shift in economic policy and ideas of governance.[3][4] The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was founded in 1985 by Al From and a group of like-minded politicians and strategists.[5] They advocated a political "Third Way" as an antidote to the electoral successes of Reaganism.

    IMHO, that would go a long way to explaining the importance of "bipartisanship" and continually compromising, as well as a continued marginalization of the "left" wing of the Dem Party--to those identifying themselves as New Democrats.  

    I hope I'm wrong, and that the Progressive agenda will get more respect and more influence in the Administration, but I haven't seen much to support that hope to date.  

    All in all, though--I promised myself before the election, that if or when I got discouraged with the new Administration I'd remember what a horrific mess that McCain/Palin would have made of things--there wouldn't even be a Health Care Reform Bill in any form under that duo.  

    •  Obama was never going to be an "activist (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini, addisnana

      base" Democrat. I don't know where many of you had this expectation that he was going to tack to the far left. Obama never ran as a far left Democrat. The Centrism doesn't bother me as much as the impotence and the inability to stand up for his ideas. What bothers me is how Obama has let the GOP run roughshod all over him.

  •  What I always want to know... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, greengemini, seeta08

    ...is when?

    Progressives/liberals/leftists embrace this teleology, this idea that history marches on inevitably forward.  

    It doesn't, and it never has.  It has always been the culmination of a power struggle, and taking away power from those who have it, and giving it to those who do not.  

    Obama needs a protest movement.  A relentless, unyielding one.  He needs fierce Democratic opposition in the House and Senate.  He needs liberals who repudiate him as they repudiated Johnson.  

    But he won't get it.  

    What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

    by Alec82 on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:56:43 PM PDT

  •  Thanks (I guess) for your perspective (6+ / 0-)

    I spend a lot of my time in a similar boat. My mission -- the one I spend all my extra time on -- is focused on the converging emergencies that I've been watching the last two years (resource depletion, climate chaos, species collapse, etc.)...

    I support(ed) Obama because I believe it is deeply important to have a smart, savvy, intellectually capable President. With the sorts of challenges (three- to twelve-year time horizon challenges), it seems obvious to me that leadership is required.

    Unfortunately, I spend my days watching the culture ignoring what is palpably clear: that we are ruinously, suicidally ensuring that our environment will rebel against what we have built.

    Culture is the driver here. Habits, formed over eight (or eighty) years, drive more than rational thought.

    I've read your stuff over the last couple of years (I think), and often have found inspiration, humanity, selflessness, sanity, and comfort in what you've written.

    I'm very, very saddened to read this diary, but I also understand it. Having spent two years documenting the evidence of societal seppoku -- or perhaps more accurately, societal accidental suicide -- I am empathetic.

    We are in need of leadership, not accomodation. We are a culture (not just the US, but worldwide) in need of a clarity of direction. We need to be told what world we are striving for -- and how to achieve it.

    I'm currently confronting, on a personal level, whether there's any point in striving to wake up the populace. To decide otherwise is to conclude that humans as a culture are too stupid to be allowed to survive.

    But that's what I'm confronting, day after day. Some days it's harder than others -- and I can only imagine how hard it is to be a teacher, in that confrontation.

    Humoring the horror of environmental collapse: ApocaDocs.com

    by mwmwm on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:56:43 PM PDT

  •  this diary reminds me of Joe Bageant's essay (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    basquebob, greengemini

    Poor, White, and Pissed

    it is very difficult to persuade those who NEED to VOTE,  to REGISTER to vote,  because they feel nothing changes for them -- "it doesn't matter.  no one cares."

    •  I don't buy into the "hidden liberal majoirity (0+ / 0-)

      theory" that, if only the Democrats tacked to the far left, all these unregistered voters would come out and support liberals. I've never seen any evidence that those nonvoters have any progressive leanings or even a basic interest in politics.

  •  I shared similar sentiments on the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sherijr, addisnana

    Morning Feature diary this morning, and was gently reminded that this is a different fight.

    The fight to get the best candidate elected was fought and won.

    The fight to get the best health care, the best torture policy, the best education system, the best burrito east of Lexington Ave, etc... are all new and ongoing battles.

    I was told to not confuse the victory in the last battle with the strategy and tactics of the one currently being fought.

    I've been thinking about that suggestion all day.

    I may have made the mistake of thinking I crossed the finish line, when in fact, it was only the first hurdle in the 1,600 meter event.

    It had been so long since we crossed any hurdle, it just felt like the finish line.

    Peace,
    -elropsych

    Rogues are preferable to imbeciles because they sometimes take a rest. - Alexandre Dumas

    by elropsych on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:59:35 PM PDT

    •  I might accept that, except for this (4+ / 0-)

      we were told we were going to have a different kind of politics.  I don't see it.

      I don't see the transparency we were promised.

      I don't see the commitment to working with us.

      I am not seeing leadership.  Polls say anywhere from 58-78% of the American people support having a public options, and if Grijalva is right, the administration is walking away from that to get the vote of Olympia Snowe.

      That is not leadership.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:09:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I got a petition from the Progressive Change (4+ / 0-)

    Campaign Committee.  It asks that people sign to show their support for a public option to insist to President Obama that this is an essential aspect of reform.  I signed the petition, with words very much like your diary, only blunter (not vulgar or anything, just blunt). I ended with "You are losing my support."

    Medicare For All.

    by Chi on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:00:00 PM PDT

    •  Please reconsider leaving politics and teaching (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini, addisnana

      government.  Your voice is needed.  This is our country.  We have to figure out how to change it.  If our previous efforts prove ineffective, we must brainstorm and figure out a new way to change it.  I understand where you are coming from, and your weariness in view of past contributions.  Please stay involved and be a part of whatever needs to happen to remedy this.    

      Medicare For All.

      by Chi on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:04:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry to hear this from you, Ken (4+ / 0-)

    beacuse at this moment I feel exhausted and disappointed with my fellow progressives and their consistent, constant negativity and defeatism.

    We have never in the history of the United States of America lived in a more progressive country. We have never in the history of the United States of America been closer to achieving our goal of healthcare as a human right.

    We've got momentum. We've got the wind at our back. We've archived so much in this country.

    I did not get into politics at the age of 15 because it's the "cool" thing to do or beacuse I don't have other interesting and fun things to do.

    I got into politics beacuse this stuff matters and we are living at a historic moment in human history. I got involved beacuse I don't believe I can't get involved and beacuse I thought I could make some difference however little that was.

    I am not giving up just beacuse of the constant stream of negativity on this site, I am not giving up beacuse the world and democratic governance cannot afford to have it's citizens give up. You have made a great difference in this world and in politics. I hope you don't give up, I hope you know you've made a difference.

    Want healthcare? Join Netroots for Healthcare: Twitter & E-mail

    by Populista on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:01:14 PM PDT

    •  consider what I would do a refocus (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Populista, greengemini, addisnana, rossl

      volunteering at Wise was real.

      So would be volunteering in a soup kitchen.

      Tutoring on my own time in an inner city school.

      At least there I could feel like my efforts were of some purpose.

      I did not say I would leave teaching.  I said I would leave teaching government.  I am certified to teach all of social studies.  I could easily switch to American or World History, if not in my current school, perhaps in a high needs school.  I have taught both before.

      I am delighted to see your energy and involvement.  I would in no way seek to discourage you or anyone else.  Please note -  I said this was a personal statement, about me, about how I feel.

      But I am having trouble seeing how in good conscience I could be continuing to advocate for other young people to participate if what I see is their hopes getting dashed.  

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:13:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What you do is real, Ken (0+ / 0-)

        nothing is more important to our democracy than the teaching of government. I'm sorry if you feel burned out or just can't do it any more. But giving up on teaching government is giving up on democratic government and the founding ideals of our country. Every student who has taken a class from you has been blessed to have such a good teacher.

        I hope you don't make that choice. It would be a shame.

        Want healthcare? Join Netroots for Healthcare: Twitter & E-mail

        by Populista on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:51:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If I cannot do it properly will not do it (0+ / 0-)

          I have said that if I could not teach it honestly -  I said that back in the context of some of the depredations of the previous administration.  My department chair knew I was serious.

          I can still make a difference teaching history, teaching how to think about history, without confronting quite the same problems I do when teaching government.

          Maybe I am just too old and crochety.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 09:33:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Teacherken, I'm new here, (7+ / 0-)

    but I've been reading your stuff. You sound like you need a break. We all knew that 30 years of malfeasance wasn't going to be erased in 6 months. It's a generational thing, our kids will probably still be fighting for single-payer. BO was the best we could have done and he'll turn out to be a competent CEO. Take a break, go hiking, have a BBQ; don't even think about this shit for a few days.
    Don't give up on the process, democracy is an act of faith.

  •  These days (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VA Breeze, LarsThorwald, greengemini

    when I'm ready to give up...I think of Teddy.

  •  Its been one let down after another (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, banjolele, addisnana

    since inauguration.

    I feel the same way you do about everything. I've been thinking about writing this exact diary, but haven't taken the time to do so yet.

    I invested 2 years in the Obama campaign, from the day he announced to the November election, and believed we had finally elected someone who would stand for Democratic causes. I also supported the party, thinking with large enough margins in both houses, nothing could stop us from implementing our top policies.

    Now, as I sit here typing this, the Administration is figuring out the best way to declare victory over a failed health reform; the clean energy and climate change legislation that was watered down almost beyond usefulness in the House is practically dead in the Senate; and instead of an enlightened foreign policy, we're still in Iraq, the Administration is escalating the war in Afghanistan, and we're doubling down on the failed war on drugs by increasing our presence in Colombia and militarizing Mexico.

    I hope the Obama Administration and Democratic Party turn things around enough that I feel comfortable re-hanging my "Yes We Did" poster (that lasted a mere 6 months), but I'm not optimistic.

    "Never separate the life you live from the words you speak" -Paul Wellstone

    by WellstoneDem on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:20:07 PM PDT

  •  Ken is hard not to feel down sometimes. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VA Breeze, greengemini, publicv, addisnana

    I had a fever all week, had blood drawn for tests this morning, dragged my ass this afternoon to downtown Raleigh for the rally on the last stop of the "National Bus Tour Stop", stood and cheered for 2 hours, and got home to hear the same news. It's hard not to feel down sometimes.

  •  After watching Keith O tonight (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, banjolele, seeta08

    I was thinking of all the time and energy we all give to elect people who will represent us-Here we are with 60 Senators, big House majority and a Dem President and I feel like we are starting to be fed the same @#$$%%^& we have been getting for the last eight years.

    All the nights, weekends, $$$-I could use some of that money I sent to Obama about now....

    and I feel like my heart is breaking as I did think I was working for real change-not so much for me as for my kids- and I am running low on hope and energy.
    I mean-we finally got a Dem congressman in my district-after years of mean GOP reps-and I helped fight each election-and went through the many losses.

    I agree-maybe my energy could be used better elsewhere.

    There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it. ~Author Unknown

    by VA Breeze on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:36:19 PM PDT

  •  Between the campaign and the inauguration (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Mama, greengemini

    the nature and scope of the problems changed by orders of magnitude. I think campaign Obama would have been okay addressing the problems pre-economic meltdown. The crash of "too big to fail" and the Wall Street Casino Culture meant, to me, that Obama could not address the problems with the same sort of people that had created them. His economic team is exactly the kind of people who created this problem, especially Larry Summers. And still no regulation for the financial industry.

    Hope and change were fine bumper stickers. I am worried and disappointed that the problems have changed but the problem solvers have not. I think the health care problems have been made much worse by the financial crises and the rising unemployment.

    The problems now require radical rethinking and some very real leadership. A good speech on Wednesday will only be a start. We need his intelligence and rhetorical skills, but we need some righteous anger, some passion and some clear committment. We need more from the Senate than we've been getting.

    PS I sigh and write my postcards and emails every morning. I send postcards of wolves.. and play with the metaphors for wolves. I can't stand the thought that "they" could dare to forget about "we the people", so I keep writing.

  •  Teacherken, hold onto the hope of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini

    this president is all I can say.  I feel all of what you feel. From the gov't re appointments to the financial system, to the HC townhalls, to the confusion of all that everything has become.  I feel that I have just had enough.  There is a diary with pictures of NYC pro HC rally and it was uplifting to my spirit.  This has been more difficult for you, I am sure, because of the subject you teach to those coming up.  Re thinking what you believe versus what you are witnessing, while teaching the next generation.  But for me, I have become a spectator and I am going to wait and see what we get, rather than being blown with the wind.  It doesn't look good, but I know it doesn't have to be this way.

    'All I really want to say, is they don't really care about us' MJ

    by publicv on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:56:53 PM PDT

  •  The firing of Van Jones (0+ / 0-)

    How appropriately timed:  Rahm fires another volley at the Left, this time taking out probably the most charismatic, popular, and outspoken leader -- perhaps the only real leader -- in the Obama White House. Van was a unique combination of African-American aspirations, concern for the Earth, principled politics, and intellectual honesty, the likes of which no longer inhabits Pennsylvania Avenue in his absence.

    With this single act of desperation (or was it cowardice in the face of the right-wing ranters who called for Van's head after he called them out), the White House has alienated...

    • African-Americans
    • The environmentalists and green advocates
    • Progressives
    • Formerly poor people whom Van helped to get green jobs, 500,000 of them
    • Democrats who despise the current crap Republicans
    • Half the staff inside the White House
    • Decent Americans who will read Van's story and gasp

    That's the so-called base walking out the door.

    Of course, more callow Democrats will tremble, especially those in Congress.  They will cavil before the might of the Rahmian Super-Taser that blasted Van and that could blast them, too.  

    Then they will vote as the President commands -- except perhaps for the proud progressives led by Raul Grijalva (my Representative, I'm proud to say) and Anthony Weiner -- and essentially close the door on this chapter of Hope and Change, returning us to the more traditional "There'll be pie in the sky, by and by."  Or is that, "bye and bye," as in, we're out of here?

    teacherken has so hit the nail on the head.  The new boss is same as the old boss, maybe not as brusque and easy to dislike, but with policies and methods that are too much alike.  If the Democrats can't find it in their hearts to  represent us, it may be time to found a party that will.  The Whigs found out what we're saying.  The Democrats can, too.  Just because the Right wants this doesn't make it wrong.  Most importantly, we can have the discourse and change we were promised.

    Van's ability to get things done (like generate a half-million green jobs for the formerly unemployable)

    "The spirit is to win in the heart of the enemy." -- Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

    by Cyberoid on Sun Sep 06, 2009 at 06:43:48 AM PDT

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