Thursday, November 04, 2010

Lessons Unlearned

At times like this when we conservatives are still basking in the afterglow of Tuesday's sweeping victories, it's good to step back for a moment and consider how this outcome has impacted those on the other side. As we've been oft reminded by great men throughout history, it is as important to be magnanimous in victory as it is to be defiant in defeat. So let us reach out across the aisle to our fellow Americans during this difficult and trying time for them and...

...enjoy a good larf at their expense. I received this e-mail yesterday from my good friends at

There's no sugarcoating it. The election results overall are devastating.


And already, pundits are telling Democrats they "overreached," and need to be less progressive.

Well, here's our take: Americans needed to see Democrats out there, every day, fighting tooth and nail for regular folks. But too often, on things like the AIG bonus scandal and the foreclosure crisis, they saw corporate lobbyists getting their way while people suffered.

Democrats made genuine and significant progress on issues like health care and Wall Street reform. But the Republicans, Fox, and corporate front groups systematically misled America about all of that. And then those same groups spent hundreds of millions to put Republicans over the top.

Nice to see that the folks at President Obama--have their finger firmly on the pulse of the electorate. Clearly the problem was that the Democrats weren't progressive enough. If only they had spent more money, expanded government faster, and further encroached on individual liberty THEN they would have been victorious on Tuesday. Don't stop believin'.

Progressive heroes like Russ Feingold, Alan Grayson, and Tom Perriello stood up for everything we believe in. But they were swamped by voter frustration and corporate cash.

Again note the complete inability to even consider that "everything we believe in" may not be exactly what the majority of Americans have in mind. No, the only explanation must the condescending view that voters were "frustrated" (grunt, grunt "Me ANGRY! ME VOTE RE-PUB-ICAN!") and brainwashed by campaign ads funded by evil corporations. No need to remind you that the number one source of campaign cash during this election was unions.

It sure makes the change we seek seem a long way off.

But when I'm tempted to throw up my hands and walk away, I think of folks like Steve Nathan, an amazing MoveOn volunteer leader in Pennsylvania. Since Steve got laid off months ago, he's been splitting his time between hunting for a job and helping organize hundreds of other MoveOn members.

Then, two weeks ago, Steve arrived home from four hours out knocking on the doors of Democratic voters to find a foreclosure notice taped to his own door. "I'm in shock and stunned," he wrote us in an email, apologizing for needing to cut back on his duties. But Steve didn't cut back—he's been out knocking on doors and coordinating volunteers almost every day since.

Just like thousands of other MoveOn members who tirelessly canvassed, held house parties, and made calls all year.

When I talked to Steve yesterday, he told me that, win or lose, house or no house, he's not stopping his work for change. "Doing that," he said, "would mean giving up all hope, and I'll never do that."

Here's an idea for you Steve. How about instead of tirelessly working for "change," you actually work for cash? So you know, you might not lose your house and all that. Think about it.

We can't either.

Because Steve's work—and your work—has made a difference. Now millions of people will get health care. Some of the worst Wall Street abuses have been reined in. Billions have been invested in clean energy.

We can't give up hope because our country is still hurting. And if corporate Republicans and tea partiers have their way, things will get a lot worse.

We can't stop fighting because we carry in our hearts a vision of Americans coming together to take care of each other and make our country work again. And if we don't fight for that vision, who will?

Today, we should all take a breath.

Tomorrow we need to get back to work.

Our country needs us still.

They are indeed the ones they've been waiting for. The rest of us seem to have moved on.