We Irish know in our genetic sinews, no scholarship need be considered, that Halloween, or all Hallows’ Eve, springs from the medieval Gaelic Samhain, marking the end of harvest and the beginning of the darker half of the year.
It is little wonder then that we have most of our elections as the natural light dims and darkness grows.
In one tradition of All Hallows’ Eve, souls wander the earth until this evening for their one last chance to gain vengeance.
This election season we have the feeling our candidates are making the holy day’s danse macabre their inspiring motivator, calculating a revenge comprised of how they may get theirs — at our expense.
The right to vote that we “enjoy” is a forced choice made before the primary or caucus is held, the product of back room paper and power shuffling that pre-selected whom we may consider.
The districts themselves are drawn not rationally but by the force of numbers in the line-drawing state legislature with one clear purpose – to pre-determine each election’s outcome.
Our voting discretion is “informed” by tall yarns, name calling and distracting issues that make the blood boil.
One clamoring voice outshouts another with high cost hard copy and electronic propaganda that muddle or drown out any contrary fact or opinion.
The election “trick” is the threat of how bad it will be if you don’t choose the imperious “me.”
In December 2010, I was involved in a wonderful, though provoking debate about the future of progressive politics in the wake of the November loss of the House of Representatives. In the midst of dealing with the realities that election brought upon the nation, (potential government shutdowns, legislative badgering of the poor and female) it seemed to me appropriate, and uplifting, to return to the lessons I took out of that election.
Of COURSE we need to continue fighting for progressives and progressive policy outcomes at the national level. We will all be better off with better policies from Congress and the President. That being said, the wall off 40 (or more) incorrigibles in the Senate represents a very difficult to breach dam holding back hundreds (no baloney there, the House passed hundreds more bills than the Senate in this past Congress) of pieces of progress on the American experiment.
This of course, begs the question of what we, today, here in Loudoun can do to effect better and more Change at the national level. As I see it there are six specific pressure points on which we can act to yield better outcomes in the medium and long-term.
1. President Obama – We can, and should, exert the pressure of popular Democratic opinion on President Obama. This means letters and resolutions. Sure, some will say that such things “have no effect” but that’s not true. These things have no effect in isolation or limitation. One letter, sent once, is a howl at the moon. A dozen letters, sent monthly, is a demonstration of unity and commitment. One LCDC Resolution, issued alone is a symbolic gesture. A dozen County and City committee resolutions, with similar wording, issued simultaneously is a shot across the bow.
(I, of course, assume that everyone venting their bile at our President has had the decency to let the President himself know how they feel in a letter or at least an email.)