Age of Dudgeon
A proposed balm for your angst
We are about to enter the long season of horse race politics. A priori presumption, anything can happen before November, other favorite clichés here. The screaming of talking points will turn all of us into political zombies.
The most probable outcome in my judgment is Obama will win. It may be close, but more likely an easy electoral victory. When you look at the electoral map Obama should be a clear favorite. A clear favorite makes for poor cable ratings, lower voter enthusiasm, and fewer donations (how could any more money be floating around?). No one in the media, no party spokesman, or any political strategist will admit it. It is not in their interest. Every outlet has 4400 hours to fill and sell. Operatives have talking points to spin, pundits have punditry to huff out, no strategist can appear conceited or hopeless, no one can commit the political gaffe of telling the obvious truth. MSNBC has a few less hours to fill with the prison programming to fall back on.
The time will be spent trying to win the news cycle. Each side ready to express horror at the words or actions of the other side, sometimes horror at someone not even on the other side just sort of once waved at the other side. All these hours yet, still no time for analyzing the Ryan Budget, Romney’s Afghanistan plan, discussing corporate welfare, or any other issue with seriousness and honesty. We are captives in the Age of Dudgeon. (Dudgeon a word used by Jason Linkins in his Huffington Post column on Sunday, credit where it is due.) As with all politics, from the earliest civilizations to ours, false faces contest in a carnival of outrage. We do not care what Hilary Rosen said, who she is, or why she said it. The Romney campaign could act offended. The news cycle became the unfair sling cast at Ann Romney, who never balanced a job and a family, no matter what she worked at during the day.
Is there a solution to our Age of Dudgeon? Possibly shooting the TV. I don’t own a gun; which the NRA types in comment flames always say is a sign of cowardice. (Odd I live and travel without a gun, so they think I am a coward.) If I destroyed the TV, I couldn’t finish the Game of Thrones series or watch the Packers when football returns. So I have no solution, but I do have a remedy. We could steal Congress back from the clutches of the wealthy.
Concentration of daily efforts could bring about positive change. We face the most dysfunctional government since the 1850’s. The political alliances and factions are in flux. People want a vehicle to affect change. All this nonsense about third parties, the skids are greased to make the two party system an enduring one. Better to reform an existent party than start a new one. Our culture is at the point in time where the needed social tools are available. It is really a matter of assembling the pieces in an effective way. The national Democratic Party could easily do this, but they are addicts of big money and value too highly the advice from well-paid consultants. The various progressive social networks could come together and do this for they do have common interests and a common enemy. Their current model seems to be based on the land of Westeros and the War of the Five Kings. (George RR Martin, Game of Thrones/A Song of Fire and Ice)
Obama winning still leaves our dysfunctional government, dysfunctional. Congress has impeded change, created a weak recovery, invented the notion of American impoverishment, and the accompanying theme of American decline. Many of the same collection of inept members will be reelected. Some of the 2010 band, modeled on the Insane Clown Posse of Tea, will return, as well. No one has yet coalesced the components into a real path to influence voters. Votes are the coin of the realm. Money has its role because it has produced votes. Yet information, connection, and organization offer more potential than money. The political movements for change whether: Occupy, Move On, Kossacks, CREDO, Get the Money Out, (how many more should I type), could unite in common cause. We must organize ourselves by Congressional district. A social interface that real people could join to make a real and measurable difference at the polls in their district. In blue districts an undeniable power, in swing districts a deciding factor, and in red districts a potential threat. It could change the way of our politics, a time when majority support for policy after policy can be ignored in Congress.
The Democratic Party could do this, giving people incentive by making the district networks, the policy developing arm of the party. When Blue Dogs drop a public option out of Obamacare; it would make a difference if that member knew 10,000, 20,000, 50,000? or more real voters in their primaries opposed this. Information and response in real time a new way of politics. Anyone with connection to the national Democratic Party should suggest this vision. Isn’t a hundred years of being known as no organized party, the Democrats, enough?
Assuming the Democratic Party won’t do this how about the collective wisdom of the groups for change doing this independent of the party? Design an interface or simply choose one. After it is in place invite all members of each existing community to join the Congressional district network where they live. It will breathe life into the system. It will allow people to find connection and unity of purpose even in red districts. Some district networks will have the numbers to gain critical mass and be able to affect policy, immediately. Other districts will have the opportunity to work on outreach to get there before November. While some districts will take a little longer, the forlorn progressives in the sun burnt districts will have a path to make a difference. Influence to their Representative a path only available to mega-donors, now.
It is an Age of Dudgeon, but we do not have to be powerless observers. We could affect this election and dominate for a decade. Please, share this idea with your network or your party contacts; try to get a meeting of minds by Memorial Day. A meeting of bodies is not required in today’s inter-connected age. Memorial Day was instituted to remember those who died to save our Union. The Union is imperiled again, more than at any time since 1860. No need to grab a musket (the oppressive fascist Obama has taken them all away), but the cry of Union needs to ring again, from one digital device to another, from sea to shining sea, Hawaii included. Unless Obama was born there, then it is an exotic and foreign land, not a state.
Dudg-eon (a feeling of offense or deep resentment)