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I realized today, when reading this diary that I'm one of those people who is voting democratic but has become so beaten down with all the crazy and the seemingly intractable problems that I'm not doing a damn thing other than that in what is probably the most important election of my lifetime.

In the past I've tried donating.  All it seemed to accomplish is to fill my inbox with pleas for more money, years later, from people in districts far from my own.

I've tried phonebanking and canvassing.  It's hard work, emotionally and the latter, also physically (I live in an area with a lot of hills).  Futhermore I live in an area that is about as "safe" for dems as it gets in this country, so the only place I can have an impact with such activities is elsewhere, where I don't know the people, their problems or their thinking.   Also I work for a living with a demanding job and support a disabled wife.  I don't have a lot of spare time or emotional energy.

Below the fold is the reasons why I feel beat down.  Some good news on any of those fronts would help my emotional energy.   But what I really need is some kind of fresh ideas on how an individual can actually make a difference against all this stuff.

so...my current list causing "outrage fatigue".  It is likely not helping that I'm originally trained as an engineer and in my youth had a foolish idea that facts could actually sway opinion.  I've learned better over the years, but it is a dream that never quite dies.

I'd like to pick even ONE of these things and try to make an actual difference.  Ideas welcome.

Relentless attempts by the right to make the two Democratic presidents in my voting lifetime illegitimate, often with breathtaking hypocritical rhetoric.   This time around the % of population that believes ALL of the conspiracy theories is scary high.

Absolute refusal to have fact based dialog by an increasingly large percentage of America's population on Economy, Evolution, Climate Change, the role of revenue in government, the role of government in society, various forms of medical research, or any candidate's record on any topic, even when all the information is public record.

Trend of increasing influence of money on politics.  Related, the increasing costs of running for office and the amount of time our representatives spend fundraising instead of governing.  If it didn't cost so freaking much, money wouldn't have the power it does.  

Refusal to see woman as actually people by a lot of the population.  The trendlines might be in the right direction, but that has been balanced by my increased awareness of just how bad and pervasive it actually is even in western liberal democracies.  In most of the rest of the world, it's worse.  I feel pretty much the same about racism of any stripe, but it's harder for me to see (I'm a white male, and while I can see the effects of anti-women attitudes on my wife, mother, sister and friends, I don't know many people of races other than my own, aside from Indian co-workers who are almost all Brahman caste and mostly male and all ranging from middle-class to wealthy).   Only the progress in LGBT rights makes me feel better in this area, plus a few green shoots of sex-positive stuff the web is enabling.

Destruction of the public school systems.  I hate that my friends are feeling the need to either homeschool kids, or warp their entire lives around getting into a "good" school district.  I hate that in my state we went from very affordable and high quality state colleges in my lifetime to "majoring in debt" in a way that rivals the worst private schools cost in my own youth.   Raise some freaking taxes and fund the GDDAMN schools already, do it nationwide with universal standards and do it with a funding source that isn't at the whim of yearly levies or state government raiding.

I hate that all the privacy protections of citizens in this country are pretty much gone, and every couple months new legislation is pushed to make it worse.  A few bills are stopped, but they just re-introduce it later.   Related, I can't fly anymore.  I just can't take the security theater.  When I was a kid, I liked flying.  Now it is more of an ordeal than spending several days driving.

I hate that one party in this country cares for nothing except raw power, choosing to obstruct their own solutions to our many problems just to score political points and maybe get the presidency back 4 years earlier.  I hate even more that this country REWARDED that behavior with a wave election in 2010.

A media that refuses to call out lies.   That's even worse than the media that has become 100% propaganda.   I would actually prefer a landscape of nothing but Fox News equivalents for each point of view than these gutless false equivalent "neutral" media we have now.

And finally I'm staring down an election that could enshrine a conservative court for the rest of my life, will roll back medicare and social security, will finish off public education and do its best to make a race to the bottom in working conditions.

I actually have it objectively really good.  Enough money, a nearly 25 year relationship with my wife, decent if not perfect health.    But I'm somebody who would like to be proud to be an American....but really am not right now.  Every single trendline seems to be in the wrong direction and we could take a huge freaking stair step turn for the worse in November.       I've read a lot of history, and the precedents are unnerving.  Read about the Boni in the late Roman Republic, the Nazis in Weimar, the Bolshelvicks in 1918, the French revolution followed by the Napoleonic empire.

They started when people who were supposed to govern could not, usually in large part because one significant minority chose to make the government unworkable.  And people like me stood by and did nothing.

What can I do that won't be futile?   Any ideas, no matter how crazy, welcome.

9:11 PM PT: Thanks for the diary rescue.   It helped with what was shaping up to be a pretty crummy evening.   Maybe somebody will have something helpful to say, to me and those who commented who are feeling the same way.  And it is nice to know that somebody thought this rant was worth sharing with a larger audience.

Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 6:54 AM PT: Thank you for all the responses.   Among other things it's hardened my long term resolve to, as soon as I can afford to "downsize" my job to more sane hours (and a lot less pay likely), volunteer in my community likely in some area of education.

In the short run, I should work out how much money I can spend and target it as effectively as I can.  The suggestions showed me that time is my biggest problem in the short run, the lack of it (and lack of emotional energy to temporarily give up on things like exercise or sleep to make time) killed off most of the things I could do short term.

I'm reading and appreciating all the posts, even if I don't respond to all.

Originally posted to greblos on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 03:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (185+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, phatcat cane, mcd12, Sylv, houyhnhnm, ljm, mskitty, wild hair, SottoVoce, a gilas girl, a2nite, carolanne, Lujane, shanesnana, Purple Priestess, blue91, Thinking Fella, mzinformed, BeninSC, emmasnacker, bnasley, ParkRanger, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, mumtaznepal, gramofsam1, YucatanMan, North Central, worldlotus, breakingranks, Sonders, jakedog42, JKTownsend, ginja, RagingGurrl, Blue Waters Run Deep, noemie maxwell, HappyinNM, prfb, cv lurking gf, Heart of the Rockies, Edward Song, Its a New Day, corazonroto, Ginny in CO, emidesu, nuketeacher, pamelabrown, Catherine R, philipmerrill, Themistoclea, tofumagoo, Ms Tex, MRA NY, RatCitySqueaker, ybruti, leftreborn, Hanging Up My Tusks, Youffraita, yawnimawke, coolbreeze, blueoasis, NonnyO, gloriana, OurMissEwenice, Habitat Vic, dsb, spooks51, Brunette, Paulie200, citisven, OLinda, magicsister, Brian B, shypuffadder, coppercelt, PinHole, rosette, Williston Barrett, DRo, GreenMountainBoy02, Statusquomustgo, hungrycoyote, revbludge, bluesheep, AnnieJo, SneakySnu, TXdem, banjolele, Emerson, Clues, VetGrl, Diana in NoVa, bigjacbigjacbigjac, sunny skies, Hunter Huxley, gulfgal98, sinclairtx, Thursday Next, ChemBob, Inameli, triplepoint, Blue in VA, Showman, HCKAD, alnep, CoExistNow, ruscle, Apost8, chloris creator, psnyder, FrY10cK, tobendaro, deha, litoralis, politik, GMFORD, ranger995, Marihilda, molecularlevel, ArchTeryx, skralyx, pioneer111, pixxer, Desert Scientist, BlueInARedState, maryabein, figbash, lulusbackintown, Hirodog, fallina7, lineatus, BigOkie, SueM1121, Matt Z, karmsy, sethtriggs, BB10, FourthOfJulyAsburyPark, reginahny, DeathDlr73, LynChi, I love OCD, OleHippieChick, cishart, Damnit Janet, martydd, Getreal1246, MKinTN, Indiana, DixieDishrag, sfcouple, Hill Jill, OhioNatureMom, smartdemmg, rubyr, AlyoshaKaramazov, LSophia, Little Lulu, dmhlt 66, Timaeus, NormAl1792, wagdog, doingbusinessas, Robynhood too, entrelac, SuWho, Luma, Surly Cracker, science nerd, wilderness voice, lissablack, Killer of Sacred Cows, ColoTim, doraphasia, Hastur, turn blue, Rona, buckstop, ladybug53, annan, Pandoras Box, JayRaye, cotterperson, Dauphin, Jantman
  •  Dude, my wife and I feel the same way (89+ / 0-)

    I live in a dark red state and our entire families are foaming at the mouth Republicans. We see the kind of crap going on and the completely irrational behavior around us and have lost hope. I want to believe that America will do the right thing but with all the superpac money and voter rights challenges, I just don't know any more.

    My wife who is not nearly as politically involved as me has openly said she wants to leave the US if Romney wins. She does not want our son growing up in a country with these kind of "conservative" values. Honestly, I don't either.

  •  I feel much the same (30+ / 0-)

    The courts are already pretty much broken, regardless what the SCOTUS does or who is on it.  The odds of getting a case accepted there are lower than winning the lottery. (I'm partially joking, but the odds are very low)  Judges don't make rulings based on the case before them, but on how a case might impact the future.  They know what outcome they want and then go looking for facts to reach that outcome.  The end result is an unjust decision, but one the judge likes and his court of appeals judges like as well.  They they make these cases unpublished (something like 84% of cases are made unpublished) which makes them at best second class cases and at worst, hidden cases that are never meant to see the light of day.  Obama doesn't select liberal judges, so the conservative bench you are afraid of pretty much exists and will last for decades.  I live in Kansas, so I can write in a candidate.  No matter who I vote for in Kansas, Romney will win.  We're absolutely red here.  If you live in a blue state or battleground state, you have to think much harder about what you will do when it comes to voting.

    Shine like the humblest star.

    by ljm on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 04:13:11 PM PDT

    •  It's almost as bad in a blue state for apathy (34+ / 0-)

      My wife is going to vote for the green candidate this year because her vote isn't going to be the difference in California.

      There are a few important elections in California this year.  Some "we might be allowed to raise taxes for the first time since the 70s" initiatives, some key districts that might get our legislature to the 2/3 majority needed to tax, and a few house races.

      None of the key races are in my district.  My only significant vote will be to pad Obama's majority and to elect that tool Feinstein back in to avoid losing the Senate.  Both are pretty likely.

      The court system in the western districts isn't as screwed up as in the heartland and south, but yes, I've experienced what you describe.   Our disability judge didn't believe that CFS or Fibromyalgia was real.   It took a good lawyer, an appeal, a very sarcastic smackdown of that judge by the appeals judge and a request to recuse himself to get my wife officially "disabled" 6 years and mountains of paperwork after she was no longer able to work.

      That judge ignored all the evidence except that from one 15 minute "range of motion" test from one doctor, and his personal employment expert who also didn't believe in those two conditions.

      I don't find it hard at all to believe that other judges go looking for their preferred outcome in whatever evidence or precedents exist.

      •  Jeez. CFS IS real. (10+ / 0-)

        I've had friends who suffered from it.  Two of them have recovered enough to have careers but one was confined to bed for three years as a teenager.

        Bloody hateful judge.  Hope karma deals with him as he deserves.  CFS has an unfortunate name.  If it were named Guillain-Barre syndrome or something like that, its victims would get a more sympathetic hearing from troglodytes.

        "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

        by Diana in NoVa on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 04:35:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You know CFS and fibromyalgia (14+ / 0-)

        most often affect women. It is another way that doctors marginalize women by denying their illness. Remember when all that bothered the gals was hysteria?

        I too am dismayed by the tone and substance of the narrative now. Not just about women but about all the topics mentioned above. I trudge on as precinct chair in a blue county and a red precinct. I have been called names and ordered off people's porches and every time it happens a piece of my soul seems to burn up.

        At least in the face of Obama's disappointments on the economic front, the Republicans have given us some big nasty talking points and I won't find myself having to parse some Keynesian fine point in order to sell Obama. But for me the enthusiasm is gone and my message will be reactionary rather than visionary.

        Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. Marx

        by Marihilda on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 06:26:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Voting in "safe states" (4+ / 0-)

        IS important.  It gave Al Gore the popular vote in 2000, and Gore's winning the popular vote nationwide helped underscore that something was rotten in the state of Florida.  Suppose he had narrowly lost it.  Then the GOP could have claimed, reasonably, "Look, it was close nationwide, but he lost.... same as in Florida. Florida is just mirroring the nation as a whole."

        "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

        by TLS66 on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 09:20:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We're voting (3+ / 0-)

          But my wife is voting for a person close to her values than Obama, especially in the national security state and corporate coddling.   She'll hold her nose and vote for Feinstein if it is at all close.  We like out other representatives and state officials well enough, so the Dems will get our votes down the rest of the ticket.

          I sympathize with her views of Obama, but I feel we have to give the Dems as much of a mandate as we can, should they win.  And I actually approve of a more of what he did than I disapprove, he's the best Prez we've had in my lifetime.  So I'll be running up the score.

          Just wish this country could provide better candidates, and nobody so toxic that the primary vote is against, rather than for.

        •  Good Argument (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson

          I'm still writing in Matt Damon.  He grew up next door to Howard Zinn.  That's good enough training for me;)  Besides, he's scary smart.

          Shine like the humblest star.

          by ljm on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 03:32:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Here in Purple Colorado, we have the onslaught (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ljm, cotterperson

        of advertisements (and lies).  I have yelled at my TV on the occasions I can't just fast-forward the show when a Rmoney lie comes on.  Yes, it's important for the people here to GOTV and to counter the lies, but it's a huge mountain to overcome.

  •  Know The Feeling (9+ / 0-)

    It could be a long two months.

    It's hard to stay focused. Just look at Romney. He's been thrown off his game for at least the last two weeks. He has all that money, too.

    Posthumously Baptized and Retroactively Retired. It’s 1950 If Romney Is Elected.

    by wild hair on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 04:22:54 PM PDT

  •  As a pessimistic idealist, I have a natural bent (66+ / 0-)

    towards comfort served cold.  I get a curious reassurance from reminding myself that the world has ALWAYS been going to hell in a handbasket.   I mean, we have quotes from the ancient Romans bemoaning that very thing.  So when I start to freak out about Talibangelicals and Citizens United and all the rest, I remind myself that my parents had to be freaking out about the Bomb, and Mai Lai, and my grandparents had to be freaking out about Hoovervilles and breadlines.  And so on.

    It's ALWAYS a perilous moment.  

    Do what you can, give what you can, and expose yourself to as little television as  opssible.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 04:33:51 PM PDT

    •  The Romans bemoaned the youth fashions and such (32+ / 0-)

      But they actually were right about their republic going down the tubes.

      Living conditions in the early Empire were probably better than in late Republic for most people who were not upper class Romans.

      Took them several civil wars and some really awful atrocities to get there though.  I don't want to spend the second half of my life watching my country go through anything like that if I can avoid it.

      Your point is solid.  This may be the crisis point for my generation, but we've gotten through some other ones.   For the Boomers, I'd say it was the cold war, which pretty much ended when I was a young adult.  I remember as a teenager thinking all out  nuclear war was moderately likely.

      Somehow that was easier to take.   What drives me crazy about the current situation is it's a self inflicted wound.  It is mostly just really rich people wanting to be even richer and bending every resource since the early 70s on that topic.    They enabled the religious wingnuts and gave them a megaphone and real power, which has caused a lot of the other issues.

      Somehow a bunch of Soviets aiming bombs at us with paranoid leaders who grew up during Stalin didn't seem as bad.  That was the OTHER guys being awful.  It is easier to accept that, rather than it being something we've done to ourselves, which in theory, as a citizen, I should be helping to prevent.

      •  Being in the midst of dumb/evil is worse than (7+ / 0-)

        seeing in another country.

        I've been tying to understand it for so long. Joe Bageant wrote eloquently about it. Joan Walsh's new book is said to explain a little more about why so many of my countrymen/women vote themselves low wages, no healthcare, and an unfair share of the tax burden.

        And these Republicans/"pro-lifers" love them some weapons systems. The most complex and expensive in the world. And they love them some hangin' judges and industrial prison systems. And torture.

        Yeah it's awful. I'm not doing anything about it right now either just like the diarist. I keep looking for a way to get involved and make a difference. I haven't found it yet.

        Reaganomics noun pl: belief that unregulated capitalism can produce unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources and we the people can increase revenue by decreasing revenue.

        by FrY10cK on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 05:48:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's not the rich people wanting to be richer (2+ / 0-)

        that is the problem...they've always been there...it's the middle class forgetting where they came from and identifying with the rich that created the current clusterf@#%.

        And as for the cold war, I think when all is said and done that nuclear weapons turned out not to be the great danger they were originally cracked up to be, for the simple reason that they are not useful as weapons...the destructive force is so great that the threat of retaliation is too awful to risk. So long as they don't fall into the hands of a truly suicidal cult (and fortunately they are complicated enough to make that difficult) nuclear weapons may be the least of our problems.

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 10:36:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "comfort served cold" (5+ / 0-)

      Nice phrase, if chilling.

      The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do.

      by psnyder on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 05:45:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I suffered outrage fatigue after Abu Ghraig (49+ / 0-)

    but, while attending an Iraq war anniversary vigil and finding out that the daughter of a friend of mine had passed, I had to do something.  I had taken the girl to DC with me to march against the first Iraq war when she was only 13, full of interest in politics, full of idealism.  She wanted to go so bad.

    So I had to make the pilgrimage and march in protest against the Abu Ghraib atrocity in her name.

    All the way to DC, I just felt so hard of heart.  I imagined myself walking along the streets of the Capital and sending burning hate beams out of my eyes.

    When we got there, though, all I could think of was what a beautiful city it is and how much I wanted to be proud of it.  By the time the march started, the rain had washed off the words from my sign and I was bawling my eyes out (and I don't cry easily).  There I was -- marching down the street with a blank sign and tears streaming down my face.  It seemed so appropriate.

    I went to look at the White House, remembering how small and tawdry I thought it looked when I was there in 1990, and I saw a magnificent building.  I thought, "Imagine, if there were someone good and wise living in it.

    I came back and threw myself into the Kerry campaign.  I believed in America.

    Well

    I don't regret all the miles I walked and the calls I made.  I think it helped me survive a blow that hit me harder than anything since JFK's assassination.  I still think John Kerry is the best president we never had.

    After that day in November, 2004, and the weeks that followed, however, I had to find one thing I still had the spirit to commit to and that was science education.  And that takes all my time.

    I never was very good at the street work, anyway.  I only did it to feel like I was doing my share.  I can do more spending time and energy (and $) to work where I can make a difference.

    I don't think everybody has to be an activist with a capital A.  You can do good things in your everyday life. You can be a good example to others of what a human being should be.  That's not a small thing.  It's a great big thing.

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 04:50:18 PM PDT

  •  Turn off the TV, listen to classical music & do (32+ / 0-)

    Something with your hands, garden, refinish furniture whatever, but don't be too isolated.

    I feel your pain.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 05:06:13 PM PDT

  •  Secular Winter Blues got you down? (17+ / 0-)

    EVERYTHING in nature is cyclical.  EVERYTHING.  This includes politics.  Throw in some generational dynamics and Viola! We are halfway through the 20-year Secular Winter.

    We've been here before -- every 80 years since the 1500s -- AND SPRING HAS ALWAYS RETURNED.

    Some reading suggestions that might make you feel better:

    Strauss & Howe Generational Cycle Theory

    The Fourth Turning / Strauss & Howe

    The Schlesinger Political Cycle

    (HINT: The pendulum swung in '06 and it ain't swinging back for 40 years)

    •  ok, having read the blurbs and articles (10+ / 0-)

      From these ideas:

      Nomad generations (recessive) are born during an Awakening, a time of social ideals and spiritual agendas, when young adults are passionately attacking the established institutional order. Nomads grow up as under-protected children during this Awakening, come of age as alienated, post-Awakening adults, become pragmatic midlife leaders during a Crisis, and age into resilient post-Crisis elders.[46]
      So I'm supposed to be a pragmatic midlife leader during this crisis.  Sure.  Obama certainly qualifies.  

      I'm just wondering what to do that would be helpful.  If it was WWII I'd be helping with war production.   But we're earlier in the crisis, in the Rooseveltian era postulated.

      I've got a good education, a moderate amount of wealth, some skills both technical and "people".  People like me in the last Great Depression mostly had to say "it wasn't so bad if you had a job".   I don't remember them doing much about it though, beyond voting in Roosevelt and giving him really big majorities.  

      I'd like to do better in the rest of my life.   I should in fact be at the peak of my powers....I know what I'm god at and what I'm not, I have both education and experience but I'm not yet slowed down much by age and in another couple years, presuming I keep my job that long, I'll have no big financial or family obligations beyond to my wife.

      I feel like I'm not doing enough with these capabilities. I'm just going to work everyday and making it a bit easier for other people at my company to do my job, so we can build stuff that in fact the world needs.

      But I've been doing that for over 20 years, and it doesn't seem like enough.  

      I'm open to suggestions and ideas.

    •  If that floats your boat (7+ / 0-)

      The Roman Empire fell and was followed by 500 years of Dark Ages. I don't think you'll find 80-year cycles there.

      The idea you are expressing is a religious one. As such, I'm sure it's a source of hope and comfort to you. But things don't actually always move in cycles, and they don't always get better.

      We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

      by denise b on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 08:22:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's a new song that may lift your spirits (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greblos, LSophia

      Elect Obama Now

      It's a reminder that functional government is of, by and for the people, addresses current issues, in a context of hope and expectation, and community outreach (volunteers) in an atmosphere of respect and tolerance.

  •  I think we have hit a point of no return (23+ / 0-)

    All these Democratic blogs are all about Republican's.  The ads on the sites are plastered with Republican's.  The commercials on every channel are anti Obama.  The "Liberal" media is showing "Ann Coulter" and her ilk constantly.  I don't watch Fox and and don't want to see clips of them.  That legitimizes their propaganda.

    I no longer believe we have a democracy.  Our Country has become a laughing stock joke.  I go on Facebook and all the people are on their bashing Obama.  I live in Rand Paul territory and it will take a nuke to turn this place anything but red.  Sick of all of it.

    If Romney wins, I am turning off the computer, the Tv and calling it quits.  May even get rid of cable, cell phone, all of it.  Turn Off, Tune Out, Unplug.

    I want things done.  Bridges built, jobs, healthcare, my Pension back, and a retirement future to look forward to.  Time to Abort some Extremist Republican Congressmen.  Pro Choice on that!

    Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all - The Internationale by Billy Bragg

    by Paddy999 on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 08:18:40 PM PDT

    •  I agree with all the diarist said, and you, too - (17+ / 0-)

      and I also have lived in this state for about 20 years.  

      I'm sick of the stupidity, and the hate, and the stubborn, idiotic focus on NOT making this country a better place, with all the great wealth we have.  It's beyond absurd.  It's self-inflicted poverty, starvation, bad medical care, no education.  Seriously - we have a society actively FIGHTING those things for it's citizens.

      If Romney wins, I'm leaving.  I"m too old to spend the last 40 years of my life living in hell, when I can live in a society elsewhere that actually values people.

      Sorry, Diarist - no answers for you here.  If this country picks Romney, it deserves the terrible disaster that will befall it.   But they won't be able to blame the maurading gangs and lawlessness on Obama.  But they'll try, I'm sure.

      I believe we help each other in times of need. I want all our children to get an excellent education. Every American deserves health care. I love my country. I am a patriot. I am a voter. I am a Democrat.

      by mumtaznepal on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 08:34:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  amen....you are not alone in your feelings (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mzinformed

      Myself and millions of unemployed are living in this do nothing but point the finger at the other side climate you and the rest of us feel trapped in. All eyes are on those special few whose votes seem to count to those in power and those reporting about it. The rest of us and the problems of our country are again on hold...until then we are stuck with re-runs until the exciting season finale cliff hanger of "Who the super-PAC Bought". One side or the other of the same crooked coin. Don't you love options?

      It seems that no matter how just the cause and how logical the arguments are for doing something about them, it just never happens. We continue to pick terrible leaders, who in turn appoint and hire terrible support. Our system is broken. We know it. We all live it every single day.

      In this same climate...when someone points out specific violations of rights, laws and regulations, with irrefutable evidence, it is ignored by both sides. Treated as conspiracy theory and blown off. Everyone worries about how it will hurt "their guy" or "their team" or "their message". The real problem gets sidelined by the overwhelming wall of considerations that must come first.

      If it affects the unemployed...then forget about it....they don't count with anyone. All sides want their numbers to go down and for them to find the imaginary jobs that have not been created. Their aid continues to run out. I see more people on the streets all the time. More families and kids too. Too bad they are not swing state voters...

      People have almost stopped caring about the truth and what really matters. Nobody wants that anymore. Everything stops for the big show. It gets worse every cycle. We are all flocking to the coliseum every day. Its such great theater, that we forget to notice that we are the entertainment as well. None of the people getting eaten by the lions come from the 1%. Ever. Our leaders built the coliseum to keep us busy. To keep us feeding off each other and the unfortunate. For sport. Hail Rome!

      So while our leaders put their golden togas on and indulge in their orgies of PAC money, financial insider deals, and corporate lobbyist indulgences. We the people suffer for it. This is THEIR SPORT.

      Everyone sits around pretending to talk about doing something about the failed recovery. All we hear in the constant attack ads is about : the stimulus, the economy, the unemployment rate, the jobs created or not. But all they do is attack the other side. Nobody is giving any real solutions.

      And like you and your list of problems, all valid and needing much attention, I wonder what to do about the issue that I am trying to resolve:

      Here I sit. Whistle blower. Piles of evidence proving government corruption and abuse of authority. Proof that shows that a critical part of the recovery act has been implemented incorrectly. Proof that problems exists in the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program. Proof that multiple state and federal agencies were involved in threats and cover ups affecting millions of unemployed struggling workers and families and billions of ARRA dollars. Proof that the trail leads all the way to the White House and maybe even Obama (who I can show was the addressee in two FOIA documents I have about my efforts). Proof that this affects the stimulus, the economy and the unemployment rate.

      To them and others I am just the fool. I stand on the a little broken box, half naked, babbling my nonsense to the crowds that walk by on their way to the coliseum. I am not fit for an audience with the king, the emperor, the supreme ruler, or the almighty in charge. Facts don't count. If you are trying to distract from "the games" then you are crazy.

      I say be the fool. I say don't give up. Don't go watch them throw another one of us to the lions for the distraction of it. I have taken the hate and disbelief. I have taken the accusations that I am wasting my time, lying, or making up nonsense. That nothing can be done. That I cannot do anything on my own. That I have to wait for the next and then next and then next election before we can do anything about it. On and on and on. Forty + years of BS and counting.

      We the people cannot be stopped when we get together. A single person has been able to change the world...time and time again throughout history. Ignore anyone who wants to break us up or your just cause. And when you see a problem like this, we should get together and do something more than ignore it and the millions of people suffering because of it...even if it means you might miss seeing your neighbor and his family mauled by the lions...

      Just stop for one second and listen to a fool who knows:

      Mr. President there is a serious problem with the EUC08 program

      This problem is our modern day Watergate. We should do something about it and the other obvious problems you have listed. The government is not as unbeatable as you think. They are actually mostly a bunch of bullies and incompetents who would never survive in your own day to day reality. You just need to stick with it and we need to stick together and direct our attention to getting the job done.

      Americans have done it for generations. Don't give up hope even though things seems hopeless. That is after all why the propaganda machine spits out what they do 24/7 isn't it? Just ignore it and get the job done...I am. You can to.

  •  Know the feeling (7+ / 0-)

    When my mood swings to extreme pessimism when I re-realize the clusterfuck that our society has allowed our government (the best money can buy!) to become, instead of banging my head on a desk or nearby wall I have learned to follow the sage advice of Saint George Carlin and just treat "The News" as entertainment.

    I then can just turn off the madness, go outside and do something much more worthwhile by sitting and watching the sun go around while feeding the birds.

    I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the sidewalk. It's so fuckin' heroic. - Saint George Carlin

    by mzinformed on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 08:39:09 PM PDT

  •  What percentage of eligible voters actually did so (6+ / 0-)

    in the past several presidential elections?
    What percentage (not negligible, in the end) of actual voters were discouraged or prevented from exercising their legal right to vote?
    It's the functionally and de facto disenfranchised that we need to reach, IMHO. That may not make a difference in California, but it might in a state near you. Can you take the time and money to travel for a weekend or two to join in voter registration efforts in NV or NM? Can you donate in support of others who do?
    This collective, small-d "we" is potentially very large and very powerful. TPTB do their darndest to persuade us that it's hopeless, that we cannot ever push back successfully. I am well aware that the odds are daunting. But through some focused efforts, we can take our country back. (I know, that's a compromised phrase; I'm hoping that we can reclaim it successfully too.)

  •  The Right Wing is Determined and Patient (15+ / 0-)

    Thus, we also must be determined and patient. We should have confidence because their denial of science will eventually catch up to them.

  •  Exercise (7+ / 0-)

    One round of golf each day for two weeks should do it. If that doesn't work continue up the dosage to two rounds of golf daily until the symptoms disappear. If your erection lasts more than 4 hours contact your family doctor.

  •  Take some little breaks (14+ / 0-)

    My husband came home earlier this week and saw I was in a bad mood, when he asked what was wrong he got an ear full of Todd Akin and fear that Mitt would win.  With all the women's health nutiness I've had my hands full because I have 3 groups here that deal with that plus some on facebook.  I'm also working for Elizabeth Warren's campaign on Sunday.

    Turn it off for a day or two TAKE A BREAK... watch some movies that make you laugh, start planning something that will give you pleasure  - we are planning a day trip to Western MA on Sunday so I can  do more King Philip's War research and scout a resturant for one of the meets up

    I'm doing the NE Kossack meet up in Sept
    and tonight I've also published a diary about  a board game(that has NOTHING to do with politics)
    all these things have helped keep my spirits up through all the outrage

    and then for some reason tonight I began singing  the 5th Demensions version of "Age of Aquarius"

    which lead to Hair

    which lead to Flesh Failures/Let the Sunshine IN .. which for some reason I sang  strongly tonight  almost like a "FUCK YOU" to the right

    And you want to know what's really funny, everything about HAIR I've accessed on line has had a ad for the draft dodger Mitt Romney . . . LOL

    I thought about making a dairy about this, thinking maybe someone was feeling the same way I was .... well it seems so

    just take a break



    I know the movie HAIR wasn't as good as the stage but find me that on youtube! ;-)

    Bumper sticker seen on I-95; "Stop Socialism" my response: "Don't like socialism? GET OFF the Interstate highway!"

    by Clytemnestra on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 09:46:09 PM PDT

  •  Embrace your anger: your hate makes you powerful (10+ / 0-)

    The righties have been ranting and raving for 30 years, and by and large have won in the court of public opinion, because impartial/uninformed onlookers think they are really "committed to their convictions."

    All too often progs/libs simply sit back quietly singing "kumbayah" and hoping not to hurt anybody's feelings, even when the wingnuts push savage policies with catastrophic human costs.

    Time to take off the gloves and let 'em have it. I am tired of ignorant idiots gaining the upper hand because they scream louder and think nobody will fight back.

    Time to get in their faces.

    •  Ok.... (3+ / 0-)

      How exactly do I proceed to do that?

      What can an ordinary person do to make noise and be heard? I can't travel...I have a job and disabled wife.  I lack the right skills to gin up a demonstration that wouldn't just be ignored by the media.     I'm not going to be invited on any media talk-shows.  No political official outside my district is going to take my advice, or even answer my questions (and those in my district are actually pretty good people, Sen Feinstein is the only one I'm actually unhappy with that I can vote for).

      Short of fighting the "comment wars" on the internet in my limited spare time, which seems like a way to really raise my blood pressure without actually accomplishing much, what do you suggest as a way to fight back?

      •  greblos - Let me tell you... I thought I had (9+ / 0-)

        written your diary by the way our stories line up. I'm so frustrated and pessimistic and angered by the way our country has progressed in the last 20 years. But we have had some progress, as you noted in your diary, and that's something. We need to take the long view in those areas.

        I live in Florida so I will be canvassing, calling, etc, BUT I totally know what you mean by outrage fatigue. I've felt this  way since Kerry lost. Well, actually, since the Iraq war...

        BUT...here's what I'm doing: I'm volunteering my time at the local high school in their science program. This is not my strong suit at all...I was never a science guru (I teach political science at the college level and the hard sciences sort of intimidate me) ...but this science program is very, very good and yet, has also sustained budget cuts. Science is too important to have Rick Scott's budget cuts allow it to go down the crapper, so...that's where I will put my energy this school year.

        This is an area where I feel like I can make a real difference. I can do anything from making photocopies to helping students with research.  We'll see how it goes.  I'm pretty shy, too, but I feel like if I'm just myself then I can make a difference.

        "At stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country." ~Sen. Ted Kennedy

        by Wendy in FL on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 04:40:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good luck (4+ / 0-)

          You might look at "science buddies" (google it).  They have a ton of science fair oriented resources that might be helpful to you.

          They got me started volunteering at science fairs.  Being a judge works better with the (small) amount of time I have.

          What I found with the young people is that many of them actually do have some good instincts and research skillls where science is concerned, if they're still interested at the high school level, but their project management, ability to communicate both in writing and to an audience and teamwork skills are often completely undeveloped.

          I would expect a professor at political science would have a lot to offer in those areas.   Plus in basic "how to find out stuff in libraries and on the internet" type skills.

          Let the kids work out the hard science.  That's like 20% of the job.  The rest of research (as a failed PHD student who lacked many of the skills I now have) is the kind of things you probably know how to do well.

      •  Start your own local cable TV show (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LSophia, Killer of Sacred Cows

        People do, you know.  Invite some friends to join you for a round table discussion on the issues of the day.  Pass a talking stick from hand to hand so that no one person dominates the discussion.  Pick some provocative subject titles and every week reach a conclusion of some kind:  that something can be done; that nothing can be done; that more education is needed; and so on.

        "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

        by Diana in NoVa on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 04:43:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd be more inclined to adult education (3+ / 0-)

          My style for communicating to groups verbally works better in a situation where I can actually interact with them, rather than just lecture.

          I can tailor the discussion to what grabs the people in the room.  I'm not sure how that would translate into a broadcast.   Although its' a fair point.  If, when I have the time, I am at all successful in a classroom type setting, recording (with permission) the class and discussions to post on the internet or broadcast by local access cable is an idea I've never thought of.

          •  I was a guest on local cable a couple of times (2+ / 0-)

            A guy saw the bumper stickers (pro-choice, pro-environment, etc.) and left a note on my car inviting me to call him so he could have me on his local cable show.  I told my precinct captain about it.  "Don't go," she said.  "He's always trying to get me to go on his show. He wants to tear you apart for being a liberal."

            To some degree I'm a risk taker, so I went on his show anyway.  I brought my husband along for moral support.  He watched in the studio (there was no studio audience, of course.)  Forewarned by my Democratic colleague, I avoided topics that would inflame me and the host.  We found that we agreed on two things:  capital punishment (at the time I was for it) and legalizing drugs.  

            I've got to say he was very polite for a Republican.  He even wrote me a thank you note for coming on to his show.  I regarded it as an educational experience.  

            Sometimes, you know, I tend to forget that some Republicans are decent people.  But it's inescapably true that some are.

            "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

            by Diana in NoVa on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 09:46:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  suggestions re volunteering (2+ / 0-)

        i have some diaries with links for how to volunteer during the campaign.

        One focuses on online phonebanking, which I think you said is too emotionally draining. But I'll suggest it nonetheless, since it can be done from the comfort of your own home. You can call until 9PM local time (so that gives you Nevada in your time zone and CO that's one hour earlier, or the entire country on the weekend). One thing I do when calling is say that I am a volunteer, and even the RWs are generally pretty descent about their opposition. http://www.dailykos.com/...  Currently, I usually identify one new volunteer in like 30-50 calls and also find out which candidate some people support. I imagine that the phonebanking will become more effective after the convention because I bet in some locations we'll have to call the registered Dems and verify if they have ID.

        Another thing you could do is get involved with a competitive Senate race. Tester is is MT and even has the option to volunteer for some sort of online messaging team (i have no idea what that means in practice though). http://www.dailykos.com/...

        -- Diary: Per capita TV spending shows FL receiving less attention than NV, NH, IA, CO, VA & OH.

        by distraught on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 04:48:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I can hold two contradictory ideas in my head (5+ / 0-)

      at the same time.

      We do need a fighting political party. Maybe we need a new political party.

      But the Zen teacher Adyashanti says this regarding environmental activism:

      The hope for the environment does not lie in the hands of the environmentalists. They simply sit on the opposite side of the duality from those who destroy the environment. They are culprits in continuing a type of violence that is the very root of what causes us to destroy the environment. The hope for the environment lies in the realization that all beings and all things are yourself, including those who oppose you. Until your vision and compassion is big enough to include those who oppose you, you are simply contributing to the continuation of destructiveness. The end of separation is the salvation for all.
      More fighting in our actions. More peace in our hearts. Is that possible?

      Reaganomics noun pl: belief that unregulated capitalism can produce unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources and we the people can increase revenue by decreasing revenue.

      by FrY10cK on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 06:05:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is in response to all similar comments (14+ / 0-)

    I'm not having an actual meltdown.  Most of the time I can put all this stuff aside without any problem.  In fact, I'm way too good at putting it all aside.

    Most days I just think about my own life.   What good I do is mostly as a side effect of living my life, trying not to be actively destructive and trying to be a decent person.

    Sometimes though, I look at how screwed up everything has gotten over the course of my lifetime in pretty much every category except the following:

    1.  LGBT stuff
    2.  Interracial relationships
    3.  Workplace sexual harassment
    4.  Smoking in public places
    5.  Drinking and driving
    6.  End of the cold war (yeah, ok that's a big one)

    And it seems to me that while the above things are nice, I should maybe be doing something about all the things that no longer exist or are highly endangered for today's young people that launched me out of poverty.

    I kind of don't want to look back on my life on my deathbed and go "well, I was a decent guy, a good husband and a reasonably good friend.  Pity about my country becoming a theocracy bought and paid for by a few billionaires, but I was busy playing watching a movie with my wife to feel better instead of maybe helping out a bit."

    I'd like to be able to point to something I did that helped change the direction of at least one thing on the list of my diary.   Something more than a few blog posts, reliable voting and a few dollars tossed to whichever email plea for money actually got me to donate.

    •  well THIS DIARY counts as sumtin' (7+ / 0-)

      Keeping track of stuff and posting it here might be more effective in the mix and in the longrun than 99 other things you don't feel able to do. This place DOES make a difference.

      You could always help keep track of GOTV phonebanking opportunities and voter registration initiatives. You marshall the facts and link to what others are doing and nag the rest of us to get MORE involved while reminding us how important it all is.

      Good luck!

    •  I think you will be able to be proud (5+ / 0-)

      of yourself. Sometimes it is hard to see what it is that we're doing. And when you are fatigued, you must get some rest. That is a fact.

      Breaks and distractions are needed so you can gain the strength to get back out there again. And with all these "fact ignore-ers" we have to deal with, we need all the strength we can get and we need each other.

      "fact ignore-ers" = fucking liars (cursing helps me cope, sometimes)

      This better be good. Because it is not going away.

      by DerAmi on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 10:13:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Add to list. The bottom line of the bottom lines (6+ / 0-)

      is if voter suppression becomes the reality that it seems is about to happen, none of the other things we feel we need to rage about won't make any difference. Once the suppression is completed, our two party system is finished and won't be allowed to come back in out lifetime ---- or ever.

      •  The story of the fall (6+ / 0-)

        of the Roman Republic, the Weimar Republic, the very short lived Russian republic and both the French aristocracy and the French republic to empire, all looks like this.

        1.  Government stops addressing the needs of its people
        2.  Attempts to remedy this are blocked by a determined minority.
        3.  Determined minority takes power
        4.  Rules are changed so what they did to seize power can't happen again to them.   Regime becomes deeply authoritarian.

        At this point, peaceful transition of government stops.  In modern times, this means a one-party government.  This is in fact how most countries in the world are governed, regardless of whether they are monarchy, theoretically representative, theoretically communist or whatever.

    •  You noted in your diary that you don't have much (7+ / 0-)

      spare time, which might be why not many have offered suggestions beyond destressing activity.

      My suggestion would serve that purpose and your community - garden.  Grow vegetables - a few flowers too.  donate fresh veggies to the local food bank (our church actually had someone who would come each weekend and pick up veggies there) - fresh flowers for the local nursing home.

      If you find you are really interested, you could look into community gardening - that would add a nice social aspect for you, and opportunity for so many.  Community gardens have exploded in numbers over the last decade and there are a lot of resources out there about starting and running them.  

      You would have people of all ages there - seniors enjoying not only the social aspect, but being able to teach and learn and feeling useful.  the donations to a food bank would be larger.  children would learn not only of gardening but of community.  and on and on - there is just so much good that can come from a community garden.

      but even if you go it alone, gardening is one of the healthiest past times, both physically and mentally.  and you get fresh veggies and flowers for yourself and to share!

      "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

      by MRA NY on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 10:42:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a rather black thumb (4+ / 0-)

        and also a lot of allergies to happy, pollinating plants.

        But I do support the community gardens, and all the wonderful local farmers.  

        Pretty much everything I eat is produced locally, and one of the few charities I donate often to other than the SPCA is the various local garden projects and organic farmer organizations.

        It's a good suggestion for people more apt to it than me.

    •  Just posting this diary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson

      is doing something.

      You are doing things that change the discourse, that make people pay attention. Don't lose heart.

      We change the world one person at a time, and change happens slowly. You are doing your part. Never doubt it.

      Science can tell you how to clone a dinosaur. Humanities explains why this is a bad idea.

      by Killer of Sacred Cows on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 11:30:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  do what you can (5+ / 0-)

    If you don't want to canvass, try writing letters to news outlets. Most won't ever get printed, but some might, and the more messages they receive with a similar viewpoint the more likely they will print at least one-- so you'd be helping the chances that an ally's message gets through.

    Write or phone or email or fax your elected officials. You'll most likely get a form reply, but again their offices keep track of the ratio of responses they get on an issue.

    I won't lie to you and say you'll feel rewarded, or that we can see hope on the horizon. I share your feelings. I don't know if what I'm doing makes a difference.

    Maybe we need to act anyway, whether it makes a difference or not, just because it's the right thing to do.

    This essay about letting go of hope comforts and inspires me. Maybe it'll mean something to you:

    http://www.commondreams.org/...

    •  Thanks (5+ / 0-)

      I don't know if I'm wired to take the advice of the essay.

      One thing I learned with my wife, both in our relationship and in working with her disability is that you can't fix everything, no matter how much you want to.  Sometimes you can only sympathize, and sometimes sympathy is all that is wanted.

      Also there is a power in working at making the best of whatever you've been left.   Our quality of life is actually higher now than it was when she wasn't disabled and we were both making the kind of money I'm making now.  Our lives were much more out of balance then, and if she went into remission and got better (it happened once for about 3 months) we wouldn't live our lives anything like how we lived it then.

      Most days, I can live with that.  Sometimes though, I'd like to feel I tried a little harder to try to fix things.   It feels different to try hard and fail anyway, vs trying halfheartedly.  But trying hard has a cost, and at this point in my life I don't know if I can pay it without doing damage to some of the things I've spent a lifetime learning to do right.

      I've tried just voting and living my life.  That doesn't feel like enough, but it is where inertia is leaving me.

      I've tried using my leftover hours to do typical volunteer stuff.  That didn't last long.  It was a huge energy and time suck that I couldn't do better than anyone else off the street, and possibly worse.

      I could donate more, but I don't feel my donations have been well spent in the past and don't know where what I have will be most effective.

      This last...I'd like some advice on.  I should spend some of my money on this election.  I have a lot more freedom to spend than most people.   But it still seems like a futile effort and giving enough to seem more real would damage our own finances.

  •  Influence children (11+ / 0-)

    My teenage daughter and all her multi racial multi cultural peers are is so far beyond the crazy social wedge arguments that plague our politics it gives me hope for the future. Communications technology is a great equalizer. The demographic trend of the nation is decidedly toward a more progressive future.

    Influence children with the best values you can.

  •  What helps me is knowing that's how "they" want me (5+ / 0-)

    to feel.  "They" being the rightwingers, the producers of professional propaganda, the few in number who are pushing  behind the Republican Party that fronts for them.

    The public is completely saturated with propaganda now.  There's a receptive audience for it and it metastasizes when they help spread it.  Its purpose is to spread fear, doubt, confusion, and anger.  It also fatigues and demoralizes the opposition so it becomes immobilized.  

    Since I know that's what they want, I'll be damned if I'll give it to them.   It's a trick of the mind that works for me.   Defiance starts there.  No one can control your thoughts.  Only you can.  Propaganda also plays on emotions which crowd out the intellect.  It's good to feel fear and anger, but not to wallow in them, so that the intellect is gone.  

    There are some challenges and I have some practices that I keep.  I never criticize the President or other Democrats in public, including on the internet.  Some people indulge in ambivalence and I steer clear of that because it would defeat my purpose.  I'm unequivocal in my support of the straight Democratic ticket.  I don't fight or quarrel either.  It's a waste of energy.  I don't believe most people would mess with me physically and I've been told I look like I can take care of myself.  I've been insulted and name-called plenty of times and I give free rein to others when they verbally assault.  When they're done I might say that communication is better when people are courteous and polite but it's ok if they want to attack because I don't mind since the debate, the argument, the election, isn't about me.  It's about the future of our country.  That's a good way to lead a conversation that's boiling over back to the issues at hand.  

    I also want to encourage you because you did something in this short piece you wrote that not many people do.  You enumerated a great progressive platform that a lot of people would adopt, if only someone would put it into words for them.  

    "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

    by leftreborn on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 10:50:39 PM PDT

  •  My 4 grandchildren. What kind of world do I want (3+ / 0-)

    to leave them? Think about the next generation, then make one more call, give another 5 bucks, more if you can. We are like grains of sand - enough of us make some pretty long beaches.

  •  The young people I've interacted with (5+ / 0-)

    in the limited volunteer work I have done seem like pretty decent people.

    Teaching is something I'm moderately good at.  To teach children though, I'd need to get certified in this state, and then figure out how the hell to teach with all the standardized testing that seems to eat up much of the curriculum these days.   Assuming I could get a job at it in this climate, which seems unlikely.

    I've toyed with the idea of adult education.  There are some volunteer organizations locally that don't require all the red tape of teaching children.  I don't know enough yet on how effective they are, or how well I could contribute.  At the moment I just don't have the time to do either path right.  If I can transition to a less demanding job in a few years, this might be something I can do.

    Another possibility would be working with the local boys and girls club.   I'd have to work through their vetting process (they're pretty careful who they let volunteer) and again, I'd need more time than I have.

    But if I change careers, one thing I'm looking hard at is either a job aimed at helping young people, or one that is more of an 8-5 job, where I'd have more free time to volunteer.

  •  Help win this election (5+ / 0-)

    Using the Obama organization's system, we can call voters in swing states without having to leave home. Here's a message I got recently from OFA (Organizing for America):

    you should think about joining the National Call Team....The team steps up for call campaigns into key battleground states to rally people when it matters most....
    Also, turn off the TV if you haven't already.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 11:22:07 PM PDT

    •  Turning off the tv is excellent advice. (5+ / 0-)

      I listen to the Rachel Maddow show on stitcher, but that's about it. Hubby and I watch recorded episodes of fun shows like 30 Rock or The Newsroom. LOL...truly...if you're feeling down, there's nothing like some Aaron Sorkin lefty feel-good TV...yes, it's BS...but it's feel-good BS, which during this election season cannot be a bad thing.

      "At stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country." ~Sen. Ted Kennedy

      by Wendy in FL on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 04:50:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sadly, Sorkin is part of what's bugging me (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cassandracarolina, LSophia

        He's what I worry about in myself, doing the fantasy of a world that works better than it actually does, without doing all that much to change it.

        There are some issues with the female characters that bug me from time to time too.  Not really enough agency for the power they should be able to wield.

        I did like Sports Night though.  I wish he'd do more shows that aren't political.   His dialog is often a treat to listen to.

  •  my 2 cents: (5+ / 0-)

    1) take the long view and
    2) adjust your expectations

    If we all work together Obama will win.  We have a decent shot at keeping the Senate.  We will not likely win the House and we need to press the battle for 2014 in that case.  These are just necessary steps even if they don't win all the political battles.

    We've been fortunate.  A sometimes criminal, out of control financial sector cheered on by anti-regulation GOPers (and a few Dem crooks too) took this country's economy to a level of disaster that hasn't been seen in 80 years.  It's hard to be cognizant of how bad it easily could have been.  But we are fortunate.

    Tens of millions getting access to health insurance isn't bad either.  It's something 6-7 presidents attempted to do before but couldn't.  They didn't fail because they were stupid.  It was just never going to be easy.  But it happened and people are already benefiting from Obamacare.

    The GOP upped the ante in terms of extreme tactics and also extreme policies.  The intensity of political battles has entered a new normal and this way of life is going to be with us probably for the rest of our lives.  Get ready for the long haul.

    Think of the history that has taken us here.  Think of the civil rights movement.  Think of the women's movement.  Think of the GLBT movement.  Our future holds many more victories.

    I would ask what specifically you expect to accomplish, because I think you may be putting too much of a burden on yourself.  Each of us wants to win all our political battles, but wins often only come via small, incremental measures.  About "adjusting your expectations", I want to provide a quote from Thomas Merton.  I'm going to take out some of the faith language, but I think the wisdom in what he says is evident:

    Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, ..., you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all,if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. And there too a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it get much more real. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that save everything.

    You are fed up with words, and I don’t blame you. I am nauseated by them sometimes. I am also, to tell the truth nauseated by ideals and with causes. This sounds like heresy, but I think you will understand what I mean. It is so easy to get engrossed with ideas and slogans and myths that in the end one is left holding the bag, empty, with no trace of meaning left in it. And then the temptation is to yell louder than ever in order to make the meaning be there gin by magic. Going through this kind of reaction helps you to guard against this. Your system is complaining of too much verbalizing, and it is right.

    The big results are not in your hands or mine, but they suddenly happen, and we can share in them; but there is no point in building our lives on this personal satisfaction, which may be denied us and which after all is not that important.

    http://kylebos.wordpress.com/...

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 11:37:50 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, we got lucky last time. (7+ / 0-)

      It all seems very fragile.

      Lose the presidency and the senate and we're back to 1899 within 4 years, based on their platform.

      If our electorate doesn't punish the crazy, the crazy is going to become real.  Nobody is going to come to their senses.  They're going to actually go and do it.  Dismantle and roll back everything, and actually pass a few zillion anti-women and gay laws just because they can.

      I think if we do get through this election, even if Obama wins and we lose the Senate, the fragile gains have a lot more chance of becoming real.   I keep thinking that we can't stay crazy this sustained through 2016.

      So for right now, this minute?

      How do I spend my extremely limited time and moderately limited money in such a way that I don't wake up in November after a Romney victory without feeling like I did my best to prevent that?

      •  down ticket (7+ / 0-)
        How do I spend my extremely limited time and moderately limited money in such a way that I don't wake up in November after a Romney victory without feeling like I did my best to prevent that?
        Don't worry about the crazy.  They've been there a long time in substantial numbers.  The crazification factor is 27%.  There are people in the middle ground who don't focus on elections until September.  They can be reached.

        I don't know where you live so I can't advise you specifically but in two words:

        DOWN TICKET

        Sure help the Obama campaign too, but you can also help tremendously by working on a House or Senate campaign (or even state/local campaigns).

        Some people watch for info on close winnable races and use that info to donate.  Keep an eye on the Elections group at dkos.  Their diaries are often filled with info about contests near you.

        I live in the Chicago area and we have groups organized via the OFA and other organizations that have car pools to Iowa for canvassing on Saturdays.  We also have Chicago Dems driving out to Illinois CDs where there are close races we're trying to win.

        Some people can't go but are able to do phone banking to target those CDs.

        Ask around at the campaigns you've been assisting.  I guarantee there are some good opportunities to help and someone close by can hook you up.

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 12:11:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you! (5+ / 0-)

          Your comment is full of positive, actionable items.  It is good to hear at this stage, because I'm about to be at the stage the diarist is - burned out.  Thanks again.

          To my anonymous subscription donor: THANK YOU!

          by BlueInARedState on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 06:42:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  thanks (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlueInARedState, cotterperson

            Burn out is a state I'm familiar with from earlier years when I was a social worker.  It helps me to take on a mindset that this is just something I' m required to do as a citizen.  Like paying taxes, like trying to be a positive influence in my neighborhood...

            So I do the work but  I don't look back much and try to not get too attached to results.  And there is always something to do.   There are always terrific organizations around where one can find good people to share the labor .  And sometimes the work yields some special moments.

            I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

            by Satya1 on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 09:58:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I am amazed that I have stuck with it this far... (5+ / 0-)

    I usually bail from all political news/lies and spectacle long before this point.

    I have NEVER seen a presidential candidate's debate, and have no plan to see this one. I have already donated as much as I can afford...MAYBE a few months from now, I can spare a few dollars more, but, Dems, right now, I'm tapped out.

    I'm so emotionally drained I find myself occasionally yelling at GOPers on TV...I can not stand to watch The Cycle because of that GOPig woman, and have not seen Morning Joe all the way through ever. I am recording TV shows to watch in place of my daily MSNBC and other news programming background noise...thank god the Walking Dead are walking again.

    I may get involved with voter registration here in PA, but I can't get involved in anything that puts me in the same room with republicans... I was asked to attend a meeting with teabaggers nearby a few months ago, and had to say that I would not be responsible for my conduct if I were there, and might end up facing assault charges...(The guy who asked me to go said that was why he couldn't go either...)

    Look, I KNOW who I'm voting for and I KNOW I'm voting...it's not like the GOP's brilliance and humanity is going to change my mind...

    Politics at this point is like sausage...it tastes better if you don't watch it being made.

    mark

    Retired AFSCME Steward and licensed gun carrying progressive veteran.

    by old mark on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 03:16:16 AM PDT

  •  very well laid out (6+ / 0-)

    As a society, we have passed the time when we could have our cake and eat it, too—when the rich could go on getting richer while the rest could at least have some progress at which to point.
    Such was the largesse of dominating world markets, but it was temporary—a breakaway, and now the peloton is closing on us.
    I've also read a lot of history, and yes, insanity on a cultural level is a common result of this. It's disheartening, especially when thinking of my children and their children, but they will adapt, and you must, too.
    When it settles, we—the world and ourselves—may very well be something better for the experience.

    and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

    by le sequoit on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 03:23:41 AM PDT

  •  I hear you, greblos (5+ / 0-)

    I live in Massachusetts, which is pretty blue, but we've got our red pockets here, too.  And remember, that crazy "I will use lethal force if I am elected sherriff" guy from the other day is right across the border in NH.

    This past week, after the Akin comments and then the realization on my part that that view is actually mainstream in the GOP -- that was really shocking to me.  I knew such views existed but I truly believed that they were just a radical fringe viewpoint.  Maybe that is naive of me.  It has been really hard for me to wrap my head around it.

    I am just tired.  I have a 4 year old son and I am scared for his future.  I am scared of what his high school science curriculum will look like a decade from now.  What will they be teaching him?  That the earth is flat?  Magical ladyparts? What will the climate be like for him???  He's only four!

    I worked so hard for Kerry in 2004 -- and I agree with a poster upthread who called him the best president we never had -- and when he lost I remember just sobbing and sobbing on the phone with my mother, and she tried to reassure me that the pendulum swings back, don't give up hope, look toward 2006 and 2008.  And for those elections, she was right, and I started to feel hopeful again.

    Now, though, the stuff I was so upset and worried about in 2004 with a Bush win just seems like child's play compared to today's teabaggers.

    I wish I knew what to say that would offer encouragement.  I don't mean to be so Debbie Downer, normally I am upbeat and work really hard to not feel demoralized.  I just can't be rah rah optimistic every minute of every day.  I just get tired sometimes.

    Now, dusting myself off, back to work.

  •  Give till it hurts--Unfortunately it's all about (5+ / 0-)

    benjamins, increasingly, and the only way to combat that is with M-O-N-E-Y.

    Obama and the rest of the Democrats are being outspent and it's taking a toll--given all the bad news and bad decisions and stumbles on the part of Romney he should be tanking in the polls, but instead the race is tightening and it's all about the Benjamins (and the Republicans have not even began to unleash their largesse--just wait)

    Every few weeks I take an accounting of my expenses and see how much I can afford to give. Sometimes it's just a small amount.

     But I make little deals with myself--this week I'm only having oatmeal for breakfast (very heart healthy, very cheap) and no eating out and no gourmet cooking--and that's at least an additional $25 to give and I take great pleasure as I eat my oatmeal knowing that it's lowering my cholesterol and freeing up funds to fight the Republicans.

    I also only run my air conditioner when it's abolutely necessary, mainly for environmental reasons--but the savings go to the Dems.

    You get the idea. Sacrificing for a cause can bring satisfaction and no one ever said it would be easy.

  •  Campaign.Finance.Reform. (4+ / 0-)

    this needs to be the first thing we work on after election... I believe its the number one thing that needs to be changed if America is to survive as I once knew it, or we're all screwed.  

    I feel the same way you do... it seems that we keep having to fight the same things over and over again.... I'm so tired of them trying to wear us down with their crazy...

    "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

    by Statusquomustgo on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 04:10:17 AM PDT

  •  Two things: (4+ / 0-)

    Success happens but does not announce itself.  Part of that is because success is an end-point.  Nothing comes next.  That's why there's often a feeling of let-down. Failure generates it's own future via try and try again. Anyway, don't expect to know when your argument has been a success and swayed someone thinking.

    Secondly, lots of people say stuff that they either don't believe or fear in hopes of being persuaded that they've got it wrong and there's nothing to fear.  It's a strange way to seek reassurance, but there it is. I learned that from an old codger (89), whom we'd rescued from his falling down house. He kept talking about his stuff.  When we brought him his stuff, he had no interest in it.  Turned out he just wanted to be sure he didn't have to go back home. So, the best thing you can do is tell people they're wrong, when you think they are.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage". He's not into "catch and release."

    by hannah on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 04:30:57 AM PDT

  •  Oh the Outrageousness! It's like it's always ON! (5+ / 0-)

    Yea, seriously, the reason the Stoopid Burns is because it's always there. Just when you think it can't get any dumber, it does, constantly escalating--I live in a red state. So the chaffing has left a lot of callouses

  •  There's something you might try-- (4+ / 0-)

    Start your own local cable TV show.  People do, you know.  They shoot on the weekends, then it's played on the evening schedule.  Please see my comment upthread.  (I should have posted it here, where you'd be more likely to see it.)

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 04:46:39 AM PDT

  •  I have an idea...it helped me stay sane..... (6+ / 0-)

    ...and I believe it will help you as well.  My wife and I (mostly her) cared for her mom in our home, for years, until her mom's death last year.  We are devoid of money at present.  I am so beyond outrage with our circumstances and the deligitimizing of our president and EVERYTHING you stated in your excellent diary.  (Thank you for sharing it, by the way).  

    Anyway, writing my book was therapy for me, and it truly is a message that I believe in my heart can resonate and make a difference (even just a tiny one).

    It has been published and for sale on amazon for about a month or so.  Delivering that message made me feel good and actually enables me to watch even fox news and say to myself that those clowns don't get to me, and actually make me feel good about everything else.  I truly believe you will get the same out of reading it that I got out of writing it and editing it (which involved at least 25 readings).

    To make it even more peak experience for me, I am donating ALL royalties to the Obama campaign through barackobama.com, from all sales until October 1.  I am not trying to sell you anything that will materially enrich me.  If anyone buys it, it will help Obama and I do believe, help the world just that tiny bit.

    Aldus Shrugged by Floyd Blue, on amazon.com

    Tear Ayn and Bain and Ryan and fox and the entire obstructionist gop a new one!!!

    GOOD LUCK, SIR!!!

    Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand. @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 04:53:46 AM PDT

  •  I think we're doing too much whining about (6+ / 0-)

    ... Romney's and the GOP's unending string of lies, from their bullshit claim that Obama ended welfare-to-work rules (race resentment tactic directed at whites) to their bogus assertion that Obama gutted Medicare to fund Obamacare (persuade seniors).

    We have to accept the fact that Romney and the conservative Super PACS are going to lie -- enormously and continuously -- from now through election day, and that they have the money -- way more than we do -- to carry out this assault on the truth.

    So, that said, how do we fight it? How does the Obama braintrust fight it? How do liberal Super PACs fight it? As Josh Marshall noted yesterday, the phony welfare ads may be having an effect in swing states where conservative spending is the highest.

    Can the conservatives lie their way to victory in November? They have the money to pound their lies into swing states at rates that our side just can't match.

    We need to figure out creative ways to counteract their lies forcefully and repeatedly, especially since we are outgunned in terms of dollars.

    We need to put our minds on this problem ASAP.

    Well, that and work at the important stuff like getting out the vote!

  •  I started to garden along permaculture methods. (7+ / 0-)

    If you have any small space, even a window for containers, you can grow something. It is therapy.

    I have a diary series with the basics of agroecology and permaculture up. The first diary has three uplifting documentaries that show what we as a species can do for this planet if we only act with nature and not against it. This documentary, Green Gold, wasn't available at the time, but I would recommend watching it. If it doesn't move you to action, if it doesn't make you feel good that people all over the world are making change on a large scale and that you can be a part of it- even just by container gardening- then ... well, you (ambiguous you) must be pretty damned cynical!

    I also have a diary waiting to be published (probably Monday) that covers the first year in our garden (well, my parents now that I emigrated). If you want to see a preview, you can visit this link (the last pages have pictures).

    So my recommendation is simple- start connecting with the larger web of life out there. You'll quickly develop a more holistic working view of reality than most of us currently have. A less human centric approach to living life is refreshing as well. There is so much more out there than what we can imagine.

    A Victory Garden documents my family's experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles. A new blog following my life as an immigrant in Finland will be up soon.

    by FinchJ on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 05:17:26 AM PDT

  •  All politics is local (6+ / 0-)

    This is a small thing you can do, very small in the overall scheme of things but I find that it helps me retain my sanity.

    This is related to your list item regarding public education.  There is a reason that the right wants to destroy public education, and that reason is that the dumber the populace, the easier it is to manipulate them to vote against their interests and for the GOP.

    I don't know whether or not you have school-aged kids in a public school and if you do, go to their school and volunteer your time.  If you don't, find a public school in your area that is considered a "bad" school and volunteer your time there.  Get a few friends to join you.  If you're burned out on canvassing etc., this is a really good way to spend your spare time and you don't have to wait for an election to do it.  You can do it all year long (except in the summer).

    It really does take a village and most schools are woefully understaffed.  But you can make a difference right now, today, by giving your time and energy to those kids.  It is a small thing to be sure but it is not only helpful, it is rewarding.  Schools in my area always need volunteers to help with field trips and other group events and activities.  They always welcome volunteers even in the classroom and you can make a real and positive impact on kids' lives by teaching them by example that they are important enough to give them your time and energy.  My kid's school asks that all parents volunteer at least an hour a week, though if you're not a parent they may want to do background checks etc. to make sure you're not some wacko that is just trying to get opportunities to be around young children.

    At the end of the day, it feels really good to know that you made a difference in the lives of those kids, however small a difference it may be.  I think if all communities across the country took a more active role in educating their young rather than just leaving it to the schools, we'd all be a lot better off.

    Just my $0.02.

    Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

    by democracy inaction on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 05:27:53 AM PDT

  •  Plant something that you can eat (5+ / 0-)

    Even if it's only a basil plant for your kitchen...

    I agree that I feel overwhelmed by the calls for money.  And all the problems.

    www.tapestryofbronze.com

    by chloris creator on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 05:38:27 AM PDT

  •  It will be okay, promise. (6+ / 0-)

    I apologize for not reading the other comments, have to run off to start my own crazy day here, so this may be redundant, but this is something that works for me:

    Take a break.

    Really, that sounds counterproductive, doesn't it?  But you need to recharge your batteries, take time to breathe and relax.  All of us are important soldiers in this war, but you need a bit of R&R in order to come back strong.

    Limit your engagement with blogs/MSNBC/etc. for a week.  Get some time outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.  Find a fun movie or two at the library to borrow.  Read a book.  

    Then I'm sure you will have more energy for the fight, and can use some of the wonderful suggestions the other Kossacks are giving you to channel your energies in a way that makes sense for you.

    Wishing you the best.  EM

    DailyKos: Saving us from "The Oligarhy of Teh Stupid", one diary at a time.

    by Exurban Mom on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 05:39:57 AM PDT

  •  Here's what I do: (6+ / 0-)

    I write poetry,
    and that makes me feel good,
    and I write about overpopulation,
    and that's a bigger issue than any other,
    even bigger than global climate change,
    or the economy.

    I daydream about asking to be a guest speaker
    at a local university,
    and trying to teach young folks about
    overpopulation,
    philosophy,
    and how to write poetry
    that makes others feel good,
    or makes them cry.

    That's what I do.

  •  "I'm tired, I mean T. I. D. E. tired" nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, Killer of Sacred Cows

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 06:07:42 AM PDT

  •  Maybe this will cheer you up. (7+ / 0-)

    I live in a swing state in a town of about 7,000 people.

    In 2008, we had a registered Republican canvassing with us for Obama because he was fed up with his party. He has become a Democrat.

    We also had an Independent, former Republican, working with us who has also since become a Democrat.

    This year we have a former local candidate on the Republican ticket working with us who says she thinks people should vote straight Democratic ticket until the R's get their act together.

    A couple of weeks ago I was 'manning' the Democratic booth at our county fair when a woman came up to get some literature on various Democratic candidates. She said she is a Republican, won't vote for Obama but also can't stand Romney and will leave the top of the ballot blank this year. She will look over the candidates from both parties down-ticket and vote for the ones she thinks will do the best job.

    My point is, our message is winning while the R's are shooting themselves in the feet.

    Feel a little better?

    •  A little (4+ / 0-)

      I have to think all the boots on the ground Obama and the unions have organized have to make some difference.

      I've seen in California how money spent on adds stops having an effect after a certain point.  Opinions harden.

      I am worried about downballot where small (for superpac) amounts of money have disproportionate difference because the candidates are relatively unknown.

      Trouble is the "small" amount of money needed to influence those races is still about 100x more than I could hope to spend, while I know it is a rounding error in the budgets of even a mid-sized company.

  •  Connect locally. Develop community. (4+ / 0-)

    Our local efforts to stop fracking in central North Carolina failed because of corruption and an errant vote, but the effort brought many good people together.

    Now farmers at the Pittsboro farmers market know who I am. Supporting local farmers and local small businesses is something almost all of us can do.

    When we develop community we feel more positive and the burden is lighter so we feel less fatigue.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 06:22:48 AM PDT

  •  Mayor jake's prescription: Run for a local office (7+ / 0-)

    School Board?
    Town Council?

    Dude, all politics is local.  

    You sound like you have a lot to offer.

    Yes it will be tiring and yes,
     it will be mind numbing too
    but if you want to make a difference RUN!

    You may be surprised who you find following you.

    You already have the time- you just need to channel your energies into an effort with a measurable outcome.

    Maybe it won't be your cup of tea
    (or other beverage of your choice)
    but if you go in and learn the system
    you just might find some people you really like
    working with that you can help to bring about
    some effective change.

    You have my vote.

    "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

    by jakewaters on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 06:27:43 AM PDT

  •  Here's my theory, for what it's worth (6+ / 0-)

    What we're seeing on the GOP side are the death throes of a group that sees their way of life slipping away.

    Of course they're going to pull out all the stops. Of course they're going to double down on the rhetoric. Of course they're going to stomp and roar and thrash. They're dinosaurs. This is their last chance to reclaim "their" planet. Dinosaurs aren't into finesse. It's all shock and awe. They mistakenly assume that their enemies have the same reptilian mindset, and they'll run in a panic.

    Meanwhile, the age of mammals has dawned, and the Democratic mammals - smarter and more adaptable - are cutting into the dinosaurs' territory in every way. Economically. Demographically. Politically. Socially. They're eating the dinosaurs' lunch, and stealing their womenfolk.

    When the mammals stand their ground and [gasp!] fight back, the dinosaurs are truly freaked out. They double down on their every crazy and craven instinct. Yesterday's "completely insane" becomes today's normal.

    What you're seeing and hearing is the desperation of a failed lifeform, imagining that they can still survive. It's entirely possible that they'll flame out on their own, without any help from us. But if we can use our "judo smarts" to help move them along towards the destruction they seem to seek...  

    This too shall pass.

    Thanks for this excellent and thought-provoking diary. Glad to see that so many people are weighing in with suggestions!

     

    Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

    by cassandracarolina on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 06:47:44 AM PDT

  •  amazing changes happen (7+ / 0-)

    I'm an old guy now, which has its downside, but I can take comfort in knowing that when I try to figure out what's going to happen next, I'm almost certainly wrong. And that after a long dark time, things can change really really quickly.

    For the first third of my life, our odds of all dying in a nuclear holocaust never seemed much better than 50-50 from year to year, that is, inevitable. It's not something I think about anymore. Oh, god, that's huge. And it happened on the watch of somebody who seemed sure to kill us all.

    Viet Nam Vets go to communist Viet Nam for vacation, where they are welcomed.

    There is no draft.

    Nixon got impeached. I remember the depths of despair I was in while protesting his second inaugural. We were so isolated, so irrelevant. But all the time they were terrified of us, and (as it turned out) rightly so.

    The Berlin Wall was torn down by Berliners on both sides of it. The soviet empire is gone. There is no cold war. Red China is a US most-favored trading partner.

    The Rolling Stones are elevator music.

    We have a black president. He came out of nowhere. He's super-smart both politically and absolutely, seems made for the job, is a total realist and yet retains some moral fiber-- but he does enough quasi-military things I hate (or doesn't do enough other things I think are essential) that the CIA is comfortable with him, so he's re-electable. How did that happen?

    Bush went back to Texas, and occupies a space next to Nixon in the national emotional index.

    Anybody can (if they hit it right) post an article on Daily Kos that will have more real world impact than most of what's in the New York Times.

    I'm not saying the future will be good, but it will not be what we think.

  •  I know how you feel. (5+ / 0-)

    Here's a link to a really good post about anger fatigue, from one of my favorites at Jezebel.

    http://jezebel.com/...

    I love the concluding paragraph, which sums it up nicely:

    Eventually a person gets to the point where they can longer withstand the constant blitzkrieg of bullshit. So, Steve King, Todd Akin, and shouty Twitter conservatives: you win. Rape outrage limit reached. I have given this all of my fucks, and the fucks I have given are still not enough fucks. So many more fucks need to be given, and I have exhausted my fuck supply. The fucks are on backorder. Employees are working overtime to restock my fucks, but in the meantime, please accept this 10% off coupon while we wait for the fucks to arrive via FedEx. I'll be over here, drinking wine from a Pac Man mug and watching cartoons.
    Some days, you just have to retreat a bit.  But you always have to get back in the fight.

    My dogs think I'm smart and pretty.

    by martydd on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 07:28:32 AM PDT

  •  When I get outrage fatigue, I take a couple of (3+ / 0-)

    weeks off from reading the blogs and writing on them, let the overstimulation subside, then come back energized.  And ready to attack the crazy again.  It's good for me, and I suspect others who may get that feeling.  We need to be fresh in the last month of this or any campaign, so good luck if you choose this or any other means to re-charge your batteries.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 07:35:30 AM PDT

  •  Often said here, but still right. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, OhioNatureMom

    Take a week off from all the political stuff. No more than a quick scan of CNN page or something to make sure Iran or N. Korea didn't do something stupid.

    About once a week, on one of my wife's days off, is beer and Batman day. As important as all these issues are, you have to decompress to let your mind digest everything. Occupy your conscious mind with something, and let the subconcious do it's thing.

    I'm a gamer, so that's my method. She's home, the kid is her responsibility for a day, and I blow off steam from various things in a way that hurts no one. Your method will probably differ, but there is something very gratifying in "beating criminals to a bloody pulp with your bare hands". I find rational, optimistic thoughts far easier the next day.

    "The less time you have, the more you need to use it wisely." - Cpt. Avatar, Starblazers

    by DeathDlr73 on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 07:38:31 AM PDT

    •  I'm a gamer also (3+ / 0-)

      I'm actually really good at getting absorbed in my life and ignoring real world problems.

      Much of getting better at living is making sure the essential stuff gets done while still making time for fun.

      Trouble is that now I'm eating healthy locally sourced food, exercising most every day, spending time with my wife and friend and attending to my job...there just aren't many hours.

      The only thing I'm willing to downsize in all that is my job, and that only when I can qualify for the early retirement and pay off my house.  (and even then, probably not unless I have another job lined up).

      Normally I'd be ok with just blowing off the crazy.  I have done it most of my life.   This election just seems higher stakes than any since I started voting (in 88).  So I feel I should be doing more.

  •  You know greblos, outrage fatigue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick

    feeds itself.  It's like depression, a self-sustaining cycle.

    I used to use anger to rock myself out of depression - not rage but "You fucker, you are NOT going to kill me!" (anger aimed at the pedophile who radically altered my life.)

    My dear friend tells me we have a choice about the stories we tell ourselves about life, us, our families, our experiences.  What I'm experiencing in the political realm is that all the stories are overwhelmingly negative and frightening.  There aren't enough splashes of light, of hope, of success.  

    The reason I wrote my diary is that when things were really grim here last year, when every diary seemed to be about Obama betrayed me  I found some other places to hang out where some good news was trickling through.  It changed everything.  It's not delusion, I got a ton of hard information about what Obama is doing that will make it possible for us to move into the 21st Century as leaders, not losers.  That was my motivation to keep working to get him 4 more years.

    I am also a firm believer that the Republicans are fighting for their survival as a viable party and the rage and lies they spew is proportional to their level of fear.  Given how completely batshit crazy they sound, I'd say they're pretty sure they're losing despite election fraud via voter ID.

    The insiders, the people with some savvy and some brains have finally figured out that Obama is not your father's Democrat and they're pissed and scared that they have n't succeeded in hanging the economy on him, they haven't made him unlikeable or untrustworthy, they haven't gotten his polling into the '30's.  They probably know what the DOJ has in mind for Voter ID laws, given their moles.  

    They realize that their hand-picked puppet is not able to define himself in positive ways because Obama is weeks ahead of the curve.  They realize that Ryan was a hideous choice but the only choice if they wanted the Tea Party base to bother to show up at all.

    They get it viscerally that they've lost Strong On Defense, Fiscally Responsible, Keep America Safe from Terrorists.  They know that it's going to be expensive to keep selling themselves as morally superior because even some Bishops have pointed out the immorality of the Ryan budget.

    They know that they are mostly famous for

    1. Crashing the economy
    2.  Saving the obscenely wealthy from having to pay   taxes
    3.  Losing bin Laden and never bothering to relocate him
    4.  TARP for banks, no help for me.

    Since Reagan they've controlled the narrative, since Obama they've lost it.  No matter how loudly they rant, there are still a lot of people out there who think they're out of touch, uncaring, selfish, and incompetent.  They do their best to drown out those voices but it doesn't work.

    When you hear that most Republican congresspersons won't meet openly with their constituents in uncontrolled environments,what does that tell you?  First time out after 2010, flush with victory, they walked into disaster - their own voters told them trickle down doesn't work, what else do you have?  and they had nothing.

    I figure the louder and crazier they are the more convinced they are that they've got nothing good enough to sell, no matter how much Super-PAC money they throw around.  

    I enjoy reading about the Akins and the Palins because it gives me really good lines to use on people around me, things that motivate them to vote or even to become activists.

    It's a shift in perspective that makes it easy for me to keep fighting.  They're not going kill me, or take my country away, not if there are enough of us on the ground fighting back.

    With luck this is their last gasp.  If not, it'll sure be an unwelcome punch in the nose.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 08:03:10 AM PDT

    •  My strategy for depression (3+ / 0-)

      is to win small victories in life.  Do something I can control, like the dishes, or cooking, or getting a neglected repair job done on the house.

      I was hoping I guess for a way to win some kind of small victory in the political arena, where prior efforts in that direction that I've tried have flattened me with my insignificance :)

  •  Very late. But please hang on. We have got to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick

    fight and work and donate and not let them wear us down.
    Blessed be.

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 08:03:27 AM PDT

  •  Facts don't matter according to research (4+ / 0-)

    The Romney/Ryan campaign has been based on lie after lie and if they aren't outright lying, they're distorting. It made me remember this article from 2010:

    From the Boston Globe:

    How facts backfire
    Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains
    In the end, truth will out. Won’t it?

    Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

    This bodes ill for a democracy, because most voters — the people making decisions about how the country runs — aren’t blank slates. They already have beliefs, and a set of facts lodged in their minds. The problem is that sometimes the things they think they know are objectively, provably false. And in the presence of the correct information, such people react very, very differently than the merely uninformed. Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information, they can entrench themselves even deeper.

    “The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study. The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.”

    So when we say "How can Romney and Ryan repeat their lies even when debunked" it works.

    Look at the comment section of any site and you can see this at work. Give facts to dispute lie or distortion and you can see people dismiss them and ridicule the person who  gave the facts.

    But, of course, this doesn't provide a reason for the media not to point out and debunk lies and distortions. One thing I hate is to read an article that simply repeats what a candidate said even when what they said was a lie and the article never give you a "But" or "However" so it credibility to the lie they repeat in their report.

    This is a scarey election. I can't believe how well Romney is doing despite his lies and distortions, his refusal not just to provide tax information but to provide any details of his proposals.

    •  Please write a diary about your comment. (3+ / 0-)

      I think it would help people who cannot understand a lot of what is going on and this explains it, in part.

      Thank you.  

      "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

      by rubyr on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 08:34:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Big Lie (3+ / 0-)

      is at least as old as Nazi Germany.

      It works, and is the basis for most modern advertising.  Repitition, even if you don't agree, ingrains ideas.

      They lie enough, loudly enough, and a startling percentage of people will believe it.  And a bunch more will have an uneasy feeling that they can't pin down, and decide where there is smoke there is fire.

      Nobody has come up with an antidote for the big lie, except maybe education in critical thinking and even that requires that you're aware of the techniques.

      Most salespeople are vulnerable to the same tricks and "closes" that they use on customers.  Knowledge and a questioning mind isn't a perfect defense.  But it seems to lower the percentages.

  •  EVERYONE WHO FEELS DESPAIR-PLEASE READ: (0+ / 0-)

    http://criticalmassprogress.com/...

    Please email, Tweet and post this to Facebook. We have got to regain our energy and fight this madness. Please help.

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 08:24:10 AM PDT

  •  I feel the same way! It is so disheartening. Blue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina

    dot in a red state is exhausting -and scary when you think of rising kids here. I try to still make my donations and try to be smart about it. It is an investment, if Romney wins I'm sure I'll be paying more for my kids education and our healthcare, so I may as well try to put it on the front end into the election.

  •  I often feel outraged and full of despair and (3+ / 0-)

    then I take a moment to visit The Obama Diary and see this president in action and I get all fired up and ready to go.  I mean, if HE can keep working his ass off for this country, with daily threats to his life as well as all the stuff you so succinctly described in your diary, then I have nothing to complain about.  In the face of all this crap directed right at him, he still put two women on the Supreme Court, got affordable healthcare legislation passed, got equal pay for equal work passed, got rid of DADT, saved the U.S. auto industry, stimulated the economy to restore 4 million jobs and stop another GOP Great Depression, ended the war in Iraq and got Bin Laden.  So, it may look totally bleak when we're faced with idiocy, but they have a terrible candidate and ticket and platform.  They have no charismatic personality like Hitler or Napoleon.  They have Mitt Romney.  We have an incredibly powerful debater and speaker and candidate and I pity the GOP, because President Obama is in it to win it and even the Clintons will tell you that's a force to behold.  GOTV by phone banking to states that are still in play.  OFA has lists.  Just volunteer and you can make the calls from home.  Let's make sure of four more year for the:

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 08:35:14 AM PDT

  •  I made 900 phone calls to swing states (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, melo

    during the 2008 campaign.  I had a lot of real conversations with people who didn't know who they were going to vote for, and by the end of some of those conversations, they'd decided to vote for Obama.

    I also co-ran a phone bank with my friend at her home, and worked (made calls and assisted others) at a huge phone bank in downtown Brooklyn on election day. I felt then, as I do now, that those calls made a difference, and when school starts, I'll be at this desk, getting numbers from the campaign through this very computer, and using my phone to call hundreds of people.

    (Hi, my name is edsbrooklyn and I'm a volunteer with the Obama campaign.  I care so much about this country and this election that I'm calling you from my kitchen in Brooklyn, New York....)

    We had several bake sales in 2008 that raised $500.  So far, we've only had one (it's been way too hot to bake), but we raised $200 in three hours.  We'll be baking LOTS of cookies before election day. (Fudge is good too, since it's cheap to make.  You just have to keep it in the refrigerator -- which works when your bake sale is in front of your home.)  I have a goal of $1000 this year.

    The outrage is both psychically debilitating and energizing.  I find that it makes me want to work harder.  If we lose after all the work we do, that will be a different story.  For now, I remain hopeful. I have to.

    Remember. Bring them home. . "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now!" Rev. William Barber

    by edsbrooklyn on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 08:41:12 AM PDT

  •  Excellent posts here (3+ / 0-)

    I'd suggest reducing your focus to something a bit smaller and more manageable.  The problems of the world can just seem incredibly huge and overwhelming.  I also think we are learning about things that were always there - i.e. stupid people having power, rich people being greedy, people making poor decisions and shooting themselves in the foot - it's painful, because there is so little we can do.

    Start with yourself.  What do you like to do?  What are you good at?  Writing?  Data analysis?  Public speaking?  

    Then, look around you.  Where is the point of greatest need?  Where can you fit in and make a difference?

    It could be anything - feeding the homeless, starting a Toastmasters chapter, tutoring kids on literacy, organizing a volunteer group to do yard work for disabled people, volunteering at a day care center, leading the charge to conserve a local treasure, running for office, becoming a local gadfly to your newspapers....

    When you feel a sense of connection, of relaxation, then that's a sign that a particular opportunity might be a good fit. Don't be afraid to try a bunch of things.

    Also, don't let the crazies interfere with your enjoyment of your daily life, either.  (I should take this advice!)  Take some time out to do things that you enjoy and give you pleasure - it helps you stay centered and renews you for the fight.

    If it does seem as though things are getting worse, remember that:

    100 years ago, women still didn't have the right to vote
    112 years ago, the average life expectancy was 31
    150 years ago, slavery was still legal

    And so on.  The long view can be really comforting.

  •  A concentration camp surviver once told me (4+ / 0-)

    "Hope was a luxury we learned to live without."

    So, the trick is to endure and persist.   How?   Habit ? .. Rage ?  "to see what happens next?"  I dunno.

    The point is that we do what we can.  Anything we do ... however little ... is a good deal more than most people are doing.  Whether it was "futile" or otherwise is something we don't find out until years or generations later.

  •  You have done a worthy service (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melo, cotterperson

    by writing this diary.  You are a good writer and expressed yourself and your Outrage Fatigue well.  I'm grateful, because you put my own feelings into words.
    I'm with you.  I have been a nutrition researcher and published several papers in peer reviewed journals where every statement you make has to be supported with documentation.  It kills me that we have no Evidence-Based politics (from the GOP), and no vibrant media to methodically call for it.
    I agree with you that the stakes in this election are high, and wanting to feel like we left everything out there on the floor in our efforts to see Obama re-elected and more/better Democrats elected.
    Besides your diary, and many helpful comments upthread, this is what keeps me going right now:  74 more days.  We have a finite amount of time.  The conventions will fill the next 2 weeks.  From the end of the Democratic Convention until election day, I am doing ONE thing each day.  One hour of calls, one hour of canvassing, one letter to the editor, one hour of voter registration.  One of those each day.  
    This week I made a $500 donation to OFA.  I'm committing $250/week up to election day.  Remember Oskar Schindler in the last scene of Schindler's list?  
    We're in countdown mode.  This campaign season will end soon.  Do one thing each day.  
    Peace  

  •  I feel (and share) your pain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melo, cotterperson

    And I dislike phone banking and canvassing, although I admire those who do it. Can you spare one day, either the day before Election Day or on Election Day? Ultimately, the most important thing will be getting supporters out to vote.

    I find it less painful to call and remind already-identified supporters to vote than cold-calling people trying to talk them into supporting a candidate. Or maybe there'll be an effort to actually go out knocking on doors to get people to vote on Election Day. Maybe you can volunteer to drive people to the polls. Or be a poll-watcher. None of this will, by itself, change the world, but IMO you can't win elections without it.

    I was doing visibility during a primary (that is, holding a sign and chatting with voters as they were walking to the polling place -- beyond the limit where you can't campaign, but some people did actually come by foot), when a guy came up to me asking questions about the election. He was so interested, he was from India and it was the first time he'd been in the U.S. for an election. For some reason, that made me feel a lot more energized about the process ... especially since my candidate won. :)

a gilas girl, Ed in Montana, pundit, melo, Timaeus, grumbleberries, BigOkie, Emerson, cotterperson, rubyr, Heart of the Rockies, Paulie200, teresahill, mkfarkus, Clues, Rona, Getreal1246, psnyder, annan, figbash, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, ranger995, Damnit Janet, Exurban Mom, Diana in NoVa, ybruti, NoMoreLies, Lying eyes, chimene, democracy inaction, ChemBob, YucatanMan, Little Lulu, noemie maxwell, Thursday Next, Ginny in CO, coolbreeze, Brian B, Showman, Hirodog, Clytemnestra, BlueInARedState, Themistoclea, hungrycoyote, mskitty, deha, ginja, blueoasis, wild hair, philipmerrill, BlueSue, breakingranks, doingbusinessas, BB10, Statusquomustgo, Brunette, Pandoras Box, Thinking Fella, North Central, BeninSC, Habitat Vic, weneedahero, bigjacbigjacbigjac, LSophia, gloriana, edsbrooklyn, Blue Waters Run Deep, bnasley, HCKAD, GMFORD, Killer of Sacred Cows, fallina7, nuketeacher, MKinTN, JGlaz, AnnieJo, HappyinNM, OleHippieChick, Youffraita, NewDealer, lineatus, wagdog, tofumagoo, Hanging Up My Tusks, smartdemmg, bluesheep, triplepoint, alnep, emidesu, DixieDishrag, Bongobanger, HarpboyAK, magicsister, dmhlt 66, DavidW, lissablack, Purple Priestess, litoralis, maryabein, FinchJ, doc durango, futureliveshere, ruscle, Hunter Huxley, coppercelt, eXtina, gramofsam1, Interceptor7, Luma, cishart, sunny skies, gulfgal98, CayceP, pixxer, sharonsz, Oh Mary Oh, soaglow, Xtatic, Hill Jill, I love OCD, spooks51, Catherine R, sfcouple, cv lurking gf, OhioNatureMom, NormAl1792, CoExistNow, sinclairtx, sethtriggs, SueM1121, EagleOfFreedom, MRA NY, marianevans, worldlotus, sound of progress, Inameli, MA Mom, Marihilda, Desert Scientist, Jantman, DRo, Apost8, ParkRanger, SuWho, rosette, Williston Barrett, teachered, MikeyB33, molecularlevel, Citizenpower, a2nite, This old man, shanesnana, reginahny, cassandracarolina, mumtaznepal, Robynhood too, leftreborn, ororis, JayRaye, OurMissEwenice, entrelac, paccoli, doraphasia, LaraJones, FourthOfJulyAsburyPark, GreenMother, missquested, JKTownsend, rigcath, Ms Tex, blue91, DaveCaswell, corazonroto, GreenMountainBoy02, Sonders, Edward Song

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