November 18, 2002
You are mourning. Your friendly Democrats got bashed. This time you can't even fault Ralph Nader for the results. The pundits tell you that the main reason the Dems were taken to the cleaners is they did not propose any road map for the economic woes the country is experiencing. They could also have added that, aside from playing the Bushite fuzzy math game, the oh-so-loyal opposition voted for war against Iraq, the tax cuts, the Patriot Act, and tutti quanti. Talk about opposition!
You've also heard that they (you?), the Dems, are spineless and therefore deserved the lesson they (you?) received.
What can we do, what can we do, you sing in unison like a Madame Butterfly lament, since there is no one to blame this time, and you are at a loss, including your dwindled 401K, to answer your question.
Let's bring help to the choir.
First, it's about time you start realizing that the reason the Dems had no alternative to propose is simply because they are an integral part of the non-alternative crowd, aka the status quo. It's about time you realize that both parties have been following the same policies for a long time, whether it's about obliterating entire nations and peoples or keeping the minimum wage at a level that is below what it was in the 70s. It's time for you to realize that the war on drugs, the war on this or the war on that are fallacies that keep you pinned down in your unhopeful, resentful state of mind.
In other words, it's time for you to take a walk (good for your health; will save you muchos buckadoes, if you are lucky enough to still have affordable heath insurance), reassess your belief system and look around for alternatives.
For alternatives do exist, loud and clear.
In the early 1990s you had the Perotistas. They cost old Bush I his re-election bid. But the Perotistas, running on an "Independent" platform that our Libertarian friends could hail with impunity, were altogether dependent on the personal wealth of the great leader, Ross Perot. Perot, a pragmatic billionaire, having had his 15 minutes in the sun, soon retired into golden nothingness. With the money gone the Independent party withered away. History was made. Even the professional wrestler in Minnesota tired the audience. Arrivederci. The Libertarians are still searching for their savior. Buchanan holds the flame. Buchanan, please! They are looking for a leader in an age of leaderlessness! (Leaderlessness: not a word in the English language? Oops, sorry. Never too late to coin a new one; and, anyway, you get the gist of it.)
Hmm, that's not much of an alternative, isn't? Then again, what kind of alternative are you looking for? Someone who's going to find the solution for you so that you can stand still, munching frijoles in front of your TV, watching your favorite show, and flying your red white and blue cloth in the yard? And when this someone will not appear on the radar screen, much less deliver, you'll keep whining, your butt glued to the living room couch? Or are you ready to move your tired body?
If you are, I have news for you. It's called grass-roots politics. It entails moving your butt out of complacency. It also entails the acceptation that you are ready to lose in the name of your principles. It truly means that you prefer to not have what you love instead of having what you do not. Get it?
Well, if you do, here's a definite alternative:
There is a party in the US of A today that is not dependent on, or a slave of, special interests. It's a party that has been growing for years based on the convictions of its supporters. It's about pure, undiluted water, clean from the bottom up.
It's a party that got almost 6 Million votes in 40 states in the 2002 mid-term elections (a week ago). It's a party of which 5 candidates received over a quarter million votes and 11 over 100,000. Six of their elected candidates received over 10,000 votes. It's a party that was overwhelmingly successful in California. Its candidate for Governor beat the Republican Bill Simon in San Francisco and Northern California by healthy margins. It's a grass-roots party that has grown steadily since its inception. To demonstrate:
82 Candidates in 1996
28 Types of Offices
34 Types of Offices
50 Types of Offices
79 Types of Offices
Do you detect a trend?
I don't know whether this is the party (and the platform) for you, but the least you can do is to check it out.
The Green Party.
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Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.
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