Let me start this post by saying, right off the bat, that progressives and responsible persons who care about the future of this country (and, indeed, of humanity) must not for an instant relent in our efforts to win this election. That goes for the presidential race, for all the "down ticket" races, and for the various initiatives and petitions on the ballot. Ignorance, bigotry, and gut-level fundamentalism will never rest. They will continue to pollute and poison until they have suffocated everything, including their own adherents in revolting death. So, while we've got them on the run, keep making phone calls, canvassing, persuading. And above all, make sure to vote!
Note to Oregon voters: Today, Friday, October 31st, is the last day you can drop your ballot in a mailbox and be assured that it will reach the elections office by Election Day. If you can't get it in a mailbox today, after you've completed it, take it to an official drop-off site. Public libraries are one such. For Portland Metro area residents, there is a list of sites here.With that (rather lengthy) caveat behind me, I'll proceed to the gist of this post.
If, as polls indicate, the Democrats from Barack Obama on down, rout the Republicans and come into power with an unequivocal mandate, there will be a tendency among "lefties" like me to relax, to breathe a sigh of relief. And, I think it is only to be expected. The emotional and psychological strain of the last 8 years has been enormous. If we win on Tuesday, by all means, let's take a day or two to savor the victory.
But, only a day or two...
I know that the Democrats, though they are far superior to the corrupt and hypocritical Republicans, are still a long way from perfect. Obama has already uttered placations to right-wingers; and a Democratic coalition in Congress will be hampered by the backward-thinking "Blue Dogs." So, it won't be long before progressives and liberals will have to be out there advocating, promoting, lobbying if we are to see the changes that we want, that this country needs.
This was brought home for me the other night. Maty and I had gone to dinner at a local eatery after a trip to the Food 4 Less. As we sat at our table, I noticed a large family nearby speaking a language I didn't recognize. The man and woman looked to be in their forties and there were 5 or 6 kids ranging from a beautiful girl in her late teens to two toddlers that I suspect were twins. By the look of them, I thought they might be Armenian or Turkish. So, when I happened to catch the eye of the woman I asked her which language they were speaking.
"Arabic," she replied, with a smile.
"Where are you from?" I asked.
"Jerusalem," the man said.
Maty, who still has trouble with English pronunciations, looked at me quizzically. "Je-ru-sa-lem?" she asked.
"Jerusalem," I said. "You know....Israel."
The man (I later learned his name was "Rick") frowned slightly, wagging his finger at me. "Not Israel," he said. "Palestine."
Chagrined, I apologized.
A few minutes later, when another opportunity arose, I spoke to Rick again. I told him that not all Americans agreed with US policy toward the Israel-Palestine issue, and that I, personally, was appalled by the bias and injustice of it.
Rick said that he spoke with many Americans, and he knew that there were a lot of them that disagreed with the policy. "But when I look at your two presidential candidates, I don't see that anything will change."
And I had to agree with him. There is not a whit of difference between the policies of Obama and McCain with regard to the Israel-Palestine issue. Both candidates have paid obeisance to AIPAC. Both have been full-throated in their "complete support" of Israel.
For those of us that want a more equitable policy toward Palestine, there is a lot of work to do.
And that applies, as well, to many other policies: international trade, immigration, environmental policies, corporate power.
The advantage to having Obama as president is that, at least, liberals and progressives will have a man in the White House that will give us audience, that will have a degree of sympathy toward our views. With McCain, as with Junior before him, we wouldn't even make it within earshot where we could, at least, shout curses.
So, let's get this election won. Let's crush the Republicans. Let's shame them, revile them, humiliate them. And then, let's take a day or two to enjoy our victory.
But after that, let's get to work.