Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: So What's Next?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

So What's Next?

The House and Senate bills on the treatment of detainees are still leaving quite a hangover a couple of days later. Some of the bill's implications are obvious, but it may take a while for all of them to sink in. So the question naturally arises, What are we going to do about it? What do we do next.

The answer I've got this evening isn't entirely satisfying, but I truly believe that it's the only option we have. We have to support as many Democrats as we can between now and November 7 so that they win back one or both houses of Congress. Yes, the Democrats didn't put up enough of an opposition to the detainee bills. The vast majority of them didn't come out against it until the day of the vote. Senate Democrats couldn't even keep their caucus in June to uphold a filibuster against the bill. If the question is asked, no, they haven't particularly done anything to earn our support. On that count, they come up with a big, fat zero. Unfortunately, that's not the only factor we have to consider. Not supporting Democrats only results in Repubs holding on to the power they've got at this moment and abusing it even further. The party of Lincoln has proven that they're willing to do anything to consolidate and hold their power, and neither common sense or the Constitution will stand in their way. That has to end. We're down to two choices: support the Democrats and get the Republicans out of power or sit back, do nothing, and allow the Republicans to run roughshod over what we once considered to be inalienable rights.

I've been reading some other blogs, some of which have expressed similar sentiments, and there are a few people in the comments who seem to want some sort of third option. Sure, to get it on the record, I'm all for a better third option than these two. Unfortunately, at least as far as I've seen, no one has any suggestion of what that third option should be. All we can do in support of a third option, apparently, is to sit and wait for it to fall from the sky. While we're waiting, however, holding our support from the Dems because they're not worthy (and they're not, no question), we're functionally choosing choice number two, that of letting the Repubs have their way with our country. We've seen what they'll do, and it just keeps getting worse. In the House, 34 Democrats supported the bill. Illinois's Melissa Bean was one of them. She's finishing her first term, and she's in a tough race for re-election. I've seen some writers comments at other blogs declaring that they can no longer support her. It would serve her right--absolutely--to lose her seat over this issue. But the problem with that comes when we want somebody other than Repubs to be in control of the House. We need to vote for somebody else, and right now the Democrats are the only ones in town who fit that bill. Express your displeasure at Melissa Bean. Next time around, mount an insurgent primary campaign against her. I don't care what happens to her personally, but we need the seat she's holding to stay Democratic. That goes for every seat we hold and every seat we might possibly pick up.

For more on this idea, check out Glenn Greenwald and The Mahablog. I'm up way too late after a busy week to come up with a smart little tag here. Deal.


At 8:28 AM, September 30, 2006, Anonymous mike a said...

I agree, we (as in the people) have got some serious lack of a good opposition. I also know that if at any time in the future one wants to find out which of our current 'representatives' chose to play Vichy to the GOP rendition of facism it will only require a quick search in Google. We don't have to forget this.

At 1:20 PM, September 30, 2006, Anonymous Doug said...

Exactly. We need to hold our representatives to account for how they've let us down, but first we have to wrest control of the Congress from the Republicans. Without that, we can't make any other substantial progress in changing the direction of the country. When setting priorities, we're not saying the items further down the list aren't important, we're just saying we'll address them later.


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