A Sam Gamgee Democrat

Of all of the main characters in the Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee was, as you know, Frodo’s faithful companion duirng the Quest. While he never thought of himself as a hero, his bravery often saved the day for the quest. When the wargs (ghost wolves) surrounded the camp near the Mountains of Moria, it was Sam who reminded the group that they weren’t eaten yet and people took heart. It was Sam who kept Frodo going during the last stage. The point is that while he sometimes underestimated himself, he always managed to save the day.

So it is with us. We may not lead the marches, but we work hard to make sure they take place. We pour the coffee, write the blogs, make sure people get the resources they need to do the fight. And we don’t give in easily to despair. We know that victory comes from doing the essential things that need to be done, by taking that first step.

Many people seem to be unable to take that first step. They feel they aren’t King, or Malcolm. When I bring up meetings, the sense is that they need permission to do something or that they don’t have time. Yes, it seems overwhelming, but go to-or even set up that meeting.

I used to do that a long time ago (another subject).; I would ride an hour and a half to get there every week. Of course, now I’m a little busier, but I do what I can from home. I brought a cake for Hillary organizers. I gave to a blog. I’ve signed petitions. It all helps.

Don’t Mourn-Organize!

Recently, I have been reading all of the blogs and so many of them insist we are doomed, that Trump will win everything, that there’s nothing we can do about it, et cetera. That we are inexorably headed towards Chile, or Nazi Germany, or something similar.

Me, I’ve felt the opposite. I want to resist and rebuild. Maybe it’s because I’m a Harry Truman, Samwise Gamgee Democrat who insists “we aren’t eten yet”, and because despite the whole condemnation of Trump voters, there are some folks who were simply bamboozled into supporting someone who they saw on TV (and TV presents people in a light better than they really are).

But most importantly, instead of focusing on whether or not they get it-why not start with some unity? And Organization? If we are unified, then the stragglers and the folks who get it later have a place to go that’s already humming. Also unity can help stop a lot of stuff from happening in the first place.

In a sense, (without getting too personal) I’ve been there twice. To do things that were beyond my capacity by holding out the promise that something will come of the suffering. In the end, I left abruptly the relationships it involved, and the only thing I really carried away was a pet cat I adored, and experience. And a long-standing feeling I was used. One of the people died, the other still lives and I’m just now feeling a desire to reconcile.

When it happens, a unified front will be needed.

Dont mourn, Organize

Fiffteen years ago today

Laid off, watching morning tv on my WebTv like I always did. It was a sunny Tuesday Morning in Cincinnati. It was a non-descript day, The tv was its usual bland self, until I heard them mention a plane crash. My fust thought was some wayward commuter jet and hoping that the other building’s occupants would be allowed to go home instead of breathing in toxic fumes all day. That lasted until I saw the other plane crash, and I knew it was no accident at all. It was strange-I was old enough to sort of remember Kennedy, but I had never watched people die in real time. Yes, there was Challenger, but I remember that I saw the video later, having taken space flight for granted. There was a time when broadcasters would edit that part out, deeming it too painful or graphic. But this was too sudden, too quick for carefully placed graphics.

I lived then in an apartment that was in the usual path of jets going to the airport. After the attacks, I heard only one plane-at the time I thought it was a fighter jet of some kind-instead it was the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

Sitting there, not really grasping the scale of it all. And grasping how absent Bush was at the time. Not a word, not a speech. Clinton would have said something as soon as he was safe. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan. Not this guy. No words, no action.I had remembered the mourning after Kennedy, this time it seemed rushed-3000 people had died, but instead of remembering them, there was this orgy of super patriotism that seemed so-well-more like anger than loss.

What was your 9/11 story and memory?

On Third Parties

http://drivewesaid.com/thread.php?string=&author=CarolDuhart2&id=569&search

 

The older I get, the less logic I see in going third party. Third parties rarely win, even locally, so their influence is at best, marginal. Better to take that energy and become a coalition within whichever major party is compatible with your views. -A Green Caucus within the Democratic Party could at least put members into administrative or regulatory institutions or the bench, reach out to various constituencies for support. A Green Party will do nothing but attract cranks and the marginal.

It’s no accident that the groups who most need legislation and tangible results don’t go third party. Third parties in the United States are at best feel-good institutio, at worst, cult-like in nature. People who could win real elections don’t bother, and if someone like that actually joins, they soon quit and join the majors. So it becomes a continuous loop of failure.

The result is also a narrowing of political discourse in several ways. As a faction inside one of the two parties, at least certain issues could get a more general hearing and a wider audience, Yes, not everything will ever get enacted-there is such a thing as “impossible” in democratic discourse, but at least they will be discussed before being dismissed. And some things could work at least on a local level

The Senate Game for Republicans

Right now, the game for Republicans is to keep the House at all costs. The Senate can’t be gerrymandered like the House, and with demographic shifts, Texas, Florida, and soon (Arizona) will be pretty wobbly not only on the Presidential level, but soon on the Senatorial level as well.

From drive we said…. http://drivewesaid.com/thread.php?id=569&postNum=42606

That was written 2 years ago. And I probably thought it was at least until 2020 before we saw Arizona as competitive. But back then, even people who thought that Trump would run didn’t think he would go that far-or was that toxic. An educated guess would be that the Republican would at least keep the low number of Hispanics they already had, and that nobody would bait that bear. Hispanic hating would be done by lower level bigots who could be dismissed as non-representative crazies.

But nobody asked Donald Trump anything…

love wins

This site is ready for Hillary

HillaryandMichelle
Sometimes things get better with age. I think Hillary Clinton is one of them. This time around, unlike 2008, she seems more self-assured and calmer. Perhaps it’s because she’s finally out of Bill’s shadow, so to speak. Secretary of State does that to you, giving you a chance to play on the world’s big stage. Perhaps that’s why up until Truman, the Secretary of State was third in line for the Presidency.

Hillary has worked hard, studied behind the master (her husband), and is ready to run and ready to govern.

And who knew that her competition would be the insane Trump, a reality show host with nothing to offer but arrogance and ignorance who traffics in fear and hate? And Bernie Sanders, barely a Democrat (became one this year)equally angry and barely more substance? This might be the year when a woman’s approach might smooth the anger, might be the solution to rage-a mindless rage that only seeks victims and a reason to rage against change.

Of course, nothing comes easy-the higher the stakes, the harder the work. I’m sure Hillary knows this-and knows she needs the help from many. I decided to become one of the helpers.I’ve already signed up to volunteer for the campaign, am already registered to vote, and have the necessary id. In later posts, I plan to do whatever little I can to help you do the same.

A Slideshow of The American Political Cycle

The off-year state and federal elections were meant to make these elections non-partisan. But such an approach doesn’t take into effect two things: the supposedly “non-partisan” elections get their candidates from partisan organizations, and instead of firing up interest in local elections, also make them low interest and low turnout.

Now the pendulum is starting to move back to making state and local elections coincide with federal elections. The reform saves money by eliminating the sheer number of low-turnout elections that hardly anyone votes in and the associated costs. Not to mention that giving time off from all normal politics would allow people a chance to chill out completely before re-engaging.

My reform would mean that the only political activity in odd-numbered year would be: intra-party (conventions, caucuses, organizational meetings) causes (think of a whole year available where causes would not have to share news cycles with votes) and pure civic stuff (voter registration, canvassing, and the like) and the rare Special Election.

A Problem Solving Convention and Conversation

US Capitol Building at night Jan 2006

One thing that has been going through my mind throughout all of this is that we need a way to brainstorm reform. There are so many ideas floating around, but they need to be discussed, analyzed and enumerated. Not as a manifesto, but as an action plan that can be prioritized and strategized and ultimately be worked on.

Having definite plans and a list of demands that can be worked on with specifics would insure some progress and some persistence.

How to get there brainstorming:

1) A virtual convention of activists doing a Google hangout. Virtual conventions make it possible to far-flung activists to meet without great expense and (something that needs to be considered) potential harassment.

2) #BlackAgenda. Twitter-driven solicitation of ideas from non-activists as well.

Now you are wondering what can we do now?

First, everyone who is minority in some way should register to vote. One hundred percent registration even if people don’t actually vote would wake up politicians in a hurry. That’s something that can be done now-registration can be done up to so many days before an election. I’m already registered and vote in every election-even city elections. I

Secondly, educate yourself about the basic structure of American politics. You can’t reform unless you know who you need to talk to-or move to action.

As for me, I also am going to provide a flowchart of American Politics so that people understand some basics. We have neglected even basic civic education, so people don’t even know which level to deal with or when elections take place.