Taking Back the Country, the Language, and the Party

Like many, I have long dreamed of the day when the American people would rise up and take back our country. Like Bastille Day. Like many, I am a wee bit afraid to believe it’s actually happening now. After all, we dared to become hopeful in 2000 (at last! a president who cares about the environment!), only to see our dreams stolen from us. But this time seems different, feels different. It feels like it really might happen this time.

Politics aside, there is a powerful message in the fact that record numbers of people are registering to vote, are voting early, are volunteering to help others vote. The message: the people are finally sick and tired enough of watching our country being run into the ground. It’s kind of sad that things had to get this bad — economic crisis, increasing foreclosures, spiraling debt, neverending war — to inspire people to pay attention, but I guess better late than never.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have been disgusted with the Democrats these last few years as well. Talk about voting with Bush the majority of the time — they’ve been no better. They didn’t make any real attempt to stand up to Bush and Regime. Frankly, I can’t stand the lot of them – with a few exceptions like Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden, who actually have some balls.

So it warms my heart to see us as a nation getting involved. Yes, even if you’re voting for McCain. For a country that prides itself on being a democracy, we have one of the lowest voter turnout records in the world. Pretty sad that we take that democracy for granted. So, kudos to everyone who’s getting out there and voting!

This hope-wave has also inspired me to take something else back: our language. The Republicans commandeered certain words and ruined them. Like patriot. Post 9/11, “patriotism” came to mean blind obedience to the Bush Regime and flag waving. Dissent of any kind — nay, even acknowledging that there might be some validity to the idea that Osama might have some kind of point — meant you were in league with the terrorists. It got so bad, I felt nauseous at the word “patriot.” So many of us felt the same — that we could no longer use those words to identify or describe ourselves. I hate the fact that 9/11 is now “Patriot Day.” WTF does that mean?

So this year, I’m taking it back. F**k Karl Rove. I deserve to fly my red, white, and blues just as much as some doofus redneck drivin’ his 4-by. So in addition to my Obama stickers, I’ve tricked out my bike (which I ride to work on every day) with red/white/blue ribbons, as well as a nifty little Obama flag. From a distance, I’m sure many people assume I’m some sort of neocon Repubbie. Well HA! I am a TRUE patriot: someone who believes in her country’s principles more than politician’s bullsh*t.

Sorry, I got a little empassioned there. On to the next point. The second law of thermodynamics: for every action there is an equal reaction. The counterpart to the hope wave is the desertion wave going on in the Republican party. Every day, more and more respectable, notable Republicans are saying “Enough!” and endorsing Obama. At last! They are having their own Bastille Day! For too long true conservatives have watched their party be hijacked by the neocons. I am glad that they are finally standing up for their beliefs and saying publicly that the neocon party line isn’t their party line. Andrew Sullivan and George Will are two of my favorites — because though they may be conservatives and therefore diametrically opposed to me on many ideologies, they have principles and they stick to them. They have honor, and they won’t have it usurped any longer. So, good for you, True Conservatives! Time to break away and form your own party! If Republican = Neocon, then it’s time for y’all to call youreselves something else!

At long last, the Rovian era is coming to an end. Let’s ride this wave for all its worth.

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Profile Photo Steve Ressler

Love the passion. There was something special waiting in line for an hour on Tuesday to vote. Monday I tried and it was a 2 hour wait. Lots of energy as people felt empowered.

BTW – My friend in Belgium told me it was required by law to vote. Interesting…

Profile Photo GeekChick

I was recently reading about some country (can’t remember which, sadly) where Election Day is basically a national holiday. Everyone gets a paid day off to vote! Can you imagine?

I early voted, and had no line at all. And no problems with the electronic machine, thankfully!

Being fortunate enough to be federal employees with lots of paid leave, my husband and I have decided to take E-Day off and volunteer to help others vote. After all, if other people have to lose income to stand in line at the polls, the least I can do is use paid leave to bring them cookies and water or something. Whatever it takes!

I forgot to include one other word I am taking back: freedom. Freedom to think my own thoughts. Freedom to speak them outloud. Freedom to agree to disagree. Freedom to fly my red/white/blue freak flag with pride. Freedom to stand up for what I believe in without fear of retribution.

This whole thing is so exciting. I really do feel like we are on the eve of our own Bastille Day. I hope it comes true! Even if I have to take up my own pitchfork and storm something. (note to domestic surveillors: just kidding).

Thom Hartmann has been talking about Guy Fawkes Day, which is Nov 5. I’m having my own GF party, but on the 1st. I intend for it to be a good-wishes kind of bonfire for the election. A pre-victory party, if you will!

And I realy am happy for the conservatives who are beginning to take back their party. I’d much rather have a dialogue with them than deflect idiotic rants from neocon robots.

Profile Photo Charles Roberson

I loved your blog post and it is even more satisfying to read with the benefit of hindsight, seeing as how I didn’t get to read it until after the election.

I agree that there was something inspiring about people finally waking up and going to the polls with some energy that is quite a change from the “same old drill” that we’ve had year after year after year. To me, this has not necessarily been about D v. R so much as Good v. Evil. Bush is a bad guy who has surrounded himself with even worse people and it is no accident that things are falling apart under his watch. What I hope is that this energy continues and that the electorate continues to stay after its elected officials and hold them accountable for decisions, whoever those officials happen to be. I don’t blame Bush for this mess…I blame us, because we let that little fixer get in…yes, even in 2000. The vote should not have been that frickin’ close.

If you are going to take back some words, perhaps you would add the word “liberal” to the list. When did that become an expletive? a putdown? Back in the day, liberal views were held in reverence. Now it’s the butt of stupid jokes or a way to distance oneself from a trainwreck. “Well, you don’t want to vote for (insert progressive candidate here), he/she is just some silly liberal ready to dive in your wallet and give drugs to your children and pets!” Enough, already. I am a tree-hugging, dyed-in-the-wool, bleeding-heart liberal and not only do I not apologize for it, I embrace it and look for the same traits in others because you know what? Compassion isn’t such a nasty thing to have on your side, and compassion is a base for…wait for it…liberal-thinking.

I was also interested in your comment about there being a country that elevates Election Day to holiday status. I think that is more the norm than the exception. For example, in many European countries, one has to PAY DUES to be a member of a political party. If you miss meetings, you are dropped from the rolls. In other words, it is clearly a privilege to be a part of the process. Imagine countries where people are literally dodging bullets to get to the ballot box. Hell, we used to kill swarthy people and women in this country who tried to vote. That we haven’t been able to get people interested in the process for years is a travesty, but again, it seems the tide has turned. I don’t know if Obama will be successful as a President, but I truly hope he continues to stoke the fire that has been lit under our collective butts to give a damn.

Keep up the great posts, GeekChick! They’re fun!

Profile Photo GeekChick

Thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying them. I was a little worried I’d maybe gone too far off the deep (left?) end…..

I agree with your assessment of this being more about good vs evil than Dem vs Repubbie, though “evil” is yet another word the neocons have stolen from us (as in “Axis of”). And yes, let’s take “liberal” back! Besides, what they talk about as liberal isn’t anywhere near true liberalism! What does it say that people who are merely centrist are perceived/labelled as liberal?

I distinctly remember being confused by the media referring to Bill Clinton as a liberal. I was in my radical, Gulf War-protesting college days back then, and I thought, if that guy’s a liberal, then what the heck am I?
(the answer, of course, is a socialist!)

Hope you enjoy my new post — a Patriot’s Reading List!