Dear Liberals: You have one week to cry


John Kerry lost, and there is a lot of sadness going around. But let's face it. It seems he wasn't the man for the job at this time, and if we waste more than one week mourning the loss of our country it will be an insult to the people who worked so hard to jumpstart a movement, not to mention those of us with ancestors who fought and died to get us this far. There is reason to keep the faith. Here's my plan. Are you down?

Imagine you're a social conservative. The year is somewhere around 1969. Black people are roaming the streets freely. Not only are they voting, but they're burning shit as well. Hippies are making love-not-war in your front yard while smoking a pound of weed and taking mad LSD. The mini-skirt is in. You have lost your country. What do you do?

It turns out you start a 30 to 40 year effort to reclaim the top position in the US, and that's just what the Republican's did. Please don't make the mistake of thinking that the Republican dominance of recent years is some sort of overnight success. As in the entertainment industry, there's no such thing. Republicans built a long-term strategy to take control through analysis of demographic and cultural trends as well as coalition-building and yes, hard work. It took over 30 years. We can't expect to undo that work with 18 months of rocking, rapping, punking, clicking and blogging the vote. One Eminem video the week before an election does not a movement make. I'm not trying to underestimate the Hurculean efforts of campaigners, but we've only just begun.

Now is the time for democrats, liberals, progressives, believers in science, whatever you want to call us, now is the time to ask the hard questions, discuss the answers and keep moving forward. If our enemies had lost, they wouldn't even spend this much time feeling sorry for themselves. I know many of us are tired. It's been a long day and an even longer first term, but we don't have the luxury of time spent on self-pity. Here's a four-part something to help get us going. It's pretty rough and I'm sure not all that original, but it's helping me just to type it up. I suggest you repeat certain elements to your depressed friends. It's seemed to do some good toward cheering folks up here in Cambridge, Mass. The bluest city in the bluest state in the bluest region of America.

These are not necessarily in order, by the way.

Part 1. Christianity Is Not Necessarily Conservative

We need to talk about God.

As we've gotten more involved in the Middle East it has become popular to say (and apparent to most) that "Islam is not an evil religion. It has merely been hijacked by fanatics who would use it for their own narrow, perverse, political ends." Too bad we can't see that the same thing is being done in our own country.

Christianity is not, by definition, all about gay-bashing, fetus-love. It is what we want it to be. Unfortunately, in a desire to fulfill some notion of political correctness or separation of church and state or an intellectual superiority complex, we have left religion to the Right. Religion is nothing but a tool used to amplify a message. That message can be whatever you want. Christianity was used to support slavery. It was also used to abolish it. By being afraid to talk about God, or to talk about Christianity as a revolutionary doctrine of fairness and true compassion, we have let our own fanatics run with the ball and define it for us.

After years of neglect, Christianity = Conservative in the minds of most Americans. This must end. Now. John Kerry had an opportunity to address some of this when the Catholic Church decided it missed a chance to molest him as an altar boy and got their fix during the campaign. Catholic Bishops convinced too many that supporting Kerry was a sin because he supported abortion, which is a sin. But the Church has said the war in Iraq is a sin too, yet they said nothing about the Bush administration's prosecution of that war, nor the many moral lapses in the process (prison torture, lying to justify invasion, yadda yadda).

A twisted brand of Christianity is on the rise in this country, and we need to deal with it and challenge it. I'm not even a Christian, but that's not the point. Too many voters are, and they're being given a lop-sided point of view, just like too many Muslims in certain parts of the world.

Remember too that in 1976, Jimmy Carter won because of the support of Evangelicals. What goes around comes around. Let's start pushing the wheel. Let's start talking about God.

Speak Truth to Power. We've Got Nothing To Lose

Can we try to be honest about some of the bullshit issues facing this country that still don't get enough air time? I'm talking about the growing Poverty class, not just the squeezed middle class. I'm talking about the exploding prison population. I'm talking about an ass-backwards Drug War. I'm talking about corporate power run rampant.

It seemed like we got close back in 2002 and 2003. Enron, WorldCom, Xerox, Tyco, but somehow we decided to turn the other cheek. We decided to let the IRS buckle down on fraudulent claims on the Earned Income Tax Credit rather than the much more eggregious corporate loopholes.

Republicans have gotten farther and farther away from poor people every chance they get and may never attempt to appeal to them. Democrats have forgotten that the real issues of the poor are what helped catapult them to success as a party. Let's get free of the addiction to corporate campaign contributions and go after this rampant abuse of workers, of ethics, of downright decency.

John Kerry just may not have been the voice we needed to help us articulate these real issues.

Brown Is In

Votar para mi. White people aren't gonna be around much longer. (I have plans. Shhhh.) Black people are becoming decreasingly influencial beyond the promotion of fashion, alcohol and yes questionable values via so-called hip hop. Meanwhile, the Latinos are taking over. Kerry won the Latino vote overall, but among first time Latino voters, the electorate was split, meaning we're losing ground.

We need to find a way to talk to our brown brothers and sisters and bring them back from a party and a movement that doesn't have their best interest at heart. First we have to make sure we do!

Paul Wolfowitz Is Not An Evangelical

I know many liberals have this perception of Republicans as this invicible, monolithic horde, but they are quite the opposite. They are simply better partnered, organized and disciplined. Do you really think all fiscal conservatives hate gays and believe they will disappear when the world ends at any moment, leaving only their jewelry and fillings behind? Do you think the Imperiliasts are down with Creationism? Well, on paper they just might be, but not in reality. It's called a coalition.

We like to think we're different. We're the Left. We have hippies and rappers and musicians and laborers and ferners. How can we ever create a patchwork that will stick together? How does any alliance do it? By maintaining discipline and making sure every member gets some benefit. By coming up with a simple, simple, simple message. You think NATO was an easy alliance? You think the EU is easy? You think the anti-slavery movement didn't have any disagreements? Think again.

So listen up black people, especially those who profess to be Christian. YOU CANNOT HATE GAY PEOPLE. It's just unacceptable. We can't afford such ignorance. Now, when you get home, sure, you don't have to "like" it, but when you're choosing between "protecting marriage" and protecting your brothers and sisters by keeping them out of a deadly, deceitful war, choose the latter. We also need to get to a point where we recognize the struggle of our gay brethren as part of the Civil Rights Movement. Their struggle is our struggle.

And listen up white people. You may think that the mass imprisonment of black men isn't your problem. Think again. There are only so many of you all out there, and your numbers are dwindling. Black people have provided the most loyal fuel to the Democratic party of any group over the past few decades. It will be hard for us to provide that support in the future if we're in jail. Our struggle is your struggle.

And listen up men. You may think that "women's issues" have nothing to do with you. Think again. The main problem women have is us. We abuse them. We don't pay them fairly. These are blanket statements, but the fact is women can't make progress by simply meeting amongst themselves for the next fifty years. Their struggle is our struggle.

This is not a new idea, and it's actually consistent with John Kerry's message. We need each other. We cannot go it alone. Black people did not make it out of slavery and Jim Crowe alone. We all need to help.

So here are some things to think about with this coalition-building

1. We need a simple, simple, platform. Republicans somehow got "low taxes + God." What's our broad message? "People first." I don't know, but we need to think about it. John Kerry was definitely not the guy to go to for a short sound bite!

2. We gotta start mixing it up. We can't all just stay in the communities we know. That's great for self-pity but horrible for progress.

3. Some other shit. Can't think of it now but hopefully you get the idea.

And now, for an even less organized set of ideas

a) What do we do about this vast midland of Red? Tempting as it may be, we cannot simply return Texas to Mexico and the Louisiana Purchase Territories to France (though I'd love to hear them talk about Freedom Fries then). These people are part of this country, and we'll have to deal with them. We especially need to start educating their children on some of these alternative religion interpretations. Perhaps an Adopt-An-Evangelical movement? Pen pals? Hell, why don't we immigrate to the heartland with an each one teach one approach?

b) We gotta keep the pressure on Bush. You know if he lost, we would already be hearing about Kerry-Gate and Heinz-Ketchup-Gate and TrialLawyerGate before the damn inauguration. Keep writing letters to the editor and calling the TV stations when they drop the ball. Pardon my french, but fuck this post-election national unity bullshit. I am NOT rallying behind President Nukular. And I will be down on Jan 20 to provide the largest protest in the history of the presidency

c) Think about my idea on this. If Kerry had won, that might be worse for us long term. People would have considered their work "done." and thrown in the towel, satisfied in re-defeating Bush. Now we cannot do that. Besides. We've got four more good years for the Daily Show

d) And can we finally admit that this "war on terror" is not the most important issue? Can we be bold about this finally?? 3,000 people died three years ago. Let's keep it in perspective. I saw former NY mayor Ed Koch give the most disgusting interview last week. He was endorsing Bush but said, "I can't think of a single domestic issue I agree with him on, but he's right in the war on terror, and that's the most important thing." No. It isn't. That was the most unintelligent thing I heard throughout the entire election. The former mayor of New York just took out an ad saying, "the terrorists have won" because he made it clear he was willing to trade ALL his freedoms for a meaningless amount of security. I really do think Thomas Jefferson should rise from the dead and punch Koch in the face.

e) Finally, let's think long term. Elections aren't everything. A friend of mine wrote me an angry email called "Last Time Voter." Fortunately another responded and hopefully we'll bring her back, but as my man over at
jrm4.com
said, voting isn't everything, and we black people especially have made most of our progress without any form of ballot box, even without being able to read. Politics is not just about an election. A movement certainly involves more.


So that's it for now. I'll see you at a Democracy for America meeting or in the community helping build institutions or on a protest line. You have one week to cry, then it's back to work.