Obama is an easy target. And that's the problem. Folks aren't thinking through why they're bashing him, to what end. They're just bashing him because he's there to represent all the compromise and the failure we don't like about the last few years. He does not, though, represent the sum totality of the problem. He doesn't even represent a key problem whose removal would get us what we want.
We are the problem. Or rather, we have been the problem, over the last few decades.
Oh, am I saying this to defend Obama? No, Obama's caved to his share of pressure. But much of that pressure comes from the fact that over thirty years, we've helped shape a Congress that doesn't work for our interests, or for our politics, but instead merely moderates the other side's politics and pursuit of interests. We have a Congress that is essentially a braking system for Republicans, rather than an Acceleration System for Democrats.
We helped shaped it that way, when it seems the politics of the rest of the country demanded it. We shaped it by who we voted for, and who we did not, by the fact that many of us simply dropped out of the political process, and even now find it hard to muster the enthusiasm to be motivated to be part of our party.
In short, we've gotten used to being losers. Whether we're folks who find it necessary to apologize for politicians who disappoint, or folks who decide there's nothing worth supporting, and drop out of things, we've gotten used to getting the short end of the stick, and the mentality shows.
For me the decision is plain. I've decided not to depend upon current conditions for encouragement. I've decided that what I want for America's future is what will motivate me to do what has to be done. No mediocre politician, no bitter compromises, no election defeat will convince me to give up on that future.
It's time to stop fighting the rearguard action we've been fighting for the last few decades. Those battles are lost, and past, and the consequences of those defeats will continue. But if we fail to muster the motivation to fight back, it won't stop, it will only get worse.
So much of what people say is soaked in cynicism and pessimism, and not without reason. But what will the cynicism and pessimism gain us? Will it solve a damn thing, or will it act as a salve on our conscience for deciding not to fight anymore, or simply become impotent critics, sitting on the sidelines, only rising to our feet for the sure things?
When it comes down to it, we have to make the decision to fight, to resist, to bring to mind that single object of our efforts, which is bringing this country back to sane policy and responsible governance. Power will put up a fight, no matter what we do, and if we take resistance and setbacks from these people to heart, we'll never do any better.
If we decide, if the people we reach out to decide to push back, to insist on what they want, they cannot win. They win at the sufferance of the people.
We can't motivate people on the politicians we have alone. Those are the products of years of defeats and setbacks, of party policies that had us, as I said earlier, as a brake on the Republicans. No, we have to get people looking past the politicians to our ideals, and taking those to heart. That is what we have to sell. If we sell that, then the public will naturally select for those who do better for us, those who pass progressive policy.
It's not a question of passively waiting for it, either. No, we must organize, organize the politics, organize to bring forth the candidates who won't be the product of a legacy of defeat, but instead of a new spirit of success.
I've spent half my life a Democrat, and nearly all of it watching the Republicans deconstruct the protections and rights of our people. I have seen the cynicism and pessimism grow, but have never seen that malcontent help a soul. In fact, it's just resigned our nation to things getting worse, weakening our resistance to the elitist Republican leadership's efforts to undo the culture that supported better government.
It's time to insist on better. It's time to stop learning helplessness, and start learning how to get our way and wrest power from the Republicans. it's time to stop waiting for the public to come to its senses, and time to start actively persuading and campaigning to do so. It's time to stop waiting for somebody to come along and rescue us from mediocrity in our party, and start being our own salvation, our own redemption.
After all, we let the party become what it became. Having the power to let our party decline, we have the power to revive it, to end the self-destructive behavior of a party of people who expect to lose.