Friday, September 24, 2010

screwing it up

Dear Apathetic and Cynical Democrats:

If anybody screws up our momentum and advantage, it's going to be you. You're sitting there, wallowing in your learned helplessness, telling yourself that you already worked hard, and it didn't make everything all better. Can't you just sit this one out? You'll have the bonus of being right about yourselves: you can't do anything, nothing that you manage to do will matter, and nothing that you do which matters will last.

I don't want that. Do you? Maybe. Does it have to be that way? No. You were laying groundwork before, and you were laying it for this. You think it won't make a difference whether you work to get more Democrats in office or not? You think it won't? Why? It did last time. Six months ago we got the first piece of our health care reform passed, and a lot of it goes into effect today. Right before the mid-term election, things have changed.

Health Care Reform Changes Effective Today

Starting today, for example, insurers won't be able to exclude children from coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Rescission, which led to many Americans losing their coverage when they needed it most, is forbidden. Young people can now stay on their parents' plan until age 26. Preventive care -- including colonoscopies, mammograms, and immunizations -- must now be covered without co-payments.

Republicans intend to take all of this away, of course, and will fight tooth and nail next year if voters reward them with a majority.

For more details, the White House has a website dedicated to the new law, and you can probably find some good stuff in there.

I'm posting this as a reminder to everybody that this, new credit card regulations, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Tribal Law and Order Act, and a host of other things are why you guys need to get up off your asses and make sure that the Republicans don't take back the House this November. The few small reforms we've managed to get done are all things that they hate, and they absolutely will take them away if we invite them in the door. You know it and I know it.

Yeah, I know that a lot of Democratic candidates aren't really anything special. Frankly, though, you have two choices. You have one party that's going to pay lip service to your interests, and another part that gets itself re-elected by telling their constituents you are a bunch of greedy, lazy, godless, ignorant, freedom-hating terrorist sympathizers. There's a limit to what the Democrats are going to give us, but learned helplessness is not the answer.

This November, I need you to vote. You remember what it was like when the Republicans got their way. You remember Bush's second term when he could do whatever the hell he wanted, push whatever partisan horseshit came to his mind, and just in general actually do what his insane voter base had put him in office to do?

I want us to have that too. Don't fuck it up. It's about more than the Presidential elections. Some of your Congresscritters are up for re-election, and Indiana, I am looking at you when I say this: You aren't going to make America more progressive by getting lazy and letting Republicans get elected. We're only going to get more truly-progressive Democrats in office if we make it clear that they don't have to play to the radical right wing to get elected. The more Democrats there are overall, the safer it is for the progressives to come out and do what we voted them in office to do.

So do not fuck it up. We need more than a majority. We need a supermajority, because right now, a minority of the house can block things like common-sense election reform. We need there to be fewer Republicans in the House and Senate. This is not a time to rest on our goddamn laurels and say, "Well, we got really close! Good for us!" Now we're close enough that we can see the finish line, so don't fuck it up.

President Obama made a good point last night, and I wanted to close with it.
“The single biggest threat to our success is not the other party,” the president said at the Roosevelt Hotel. “It’s us. It’s complacency. It’s apathy. It’s indifference. It’s people feeling like, well, we only got 80 percent of what we want, we didn't get the other 20, so we’re just going to sit on our hands. We’re not going to go out there. It turns out bringing about change is hard. I thought it was going to be easy. I liked the cute poster of the Obama campaign. I enjoyed the inauguration. It was great when Beyonce and Bono was singing. I didn’t know that we were actually going to have to grind it out, that sometimes we’d have setbacks.”

He's got us nailed, guys. I thought we were proud of finally standing up and fighting for something. Remember how excited we were to use the words "President Obama?" You know why? Because we fought. We fought for something, and realized that we're more powerful than we thought we were. That little voice in our heads telling us nothing we do matters? It was there then, too, and it was dead wrong. It's still wrong.

Remember how Candidate Obama absolutely destroyed his opposition to become President Obama. That was you! What you did once, you can do again. You're no weaker now than you were then. You're no less now than you were then, and you're starting off much closer to your goal. Don't sell yourself short. Selling yourself short is the only possible way that you're going to fuck this up. So don't.

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