Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Base-building the hard way

Over the past 6 years, I watched as Bushco made horrendous decisions that sent our kids off to war, gave hard-earned taxpayer money to companies (Bankruptcy Bill, the sham of Medicare Part D), took away our civil liberties - you get it. The list of horrors goes on and on. The worst part was, Bush would do something that once upon a time we would have thought was too brazen, too over the top corrupt, and each time, a little part of me would die.

The parts that thought government was for the people, by the people - those went first. Then slowly but surely, I became cynical, hardened, even bitter about our ability to create social justice, or even social change in such a crazy messed up world. And I was an activist, so it's not that I just sat back and complained - I went out and fought the good fight in my corner of the world.
Idealistic parts of me that previously thought anything was possible shut down and went into hibernation, afraid to step out into the sun, afraid of being broken permanently. I would hear about Bush's latest crazy scheme, and think, "Ok, well, he's shooting for the moon with that one (social security)" as opposed to getting really pissed and motivated. I would think that I should be surprised, but that I wasn't, and that there were more horrible ideas that they were waiting to unveil. Or I would get pissed, and then really fatalistic. I was scared to believe that there was a ray of sunshine at the end, and I bet anything that it's how Rove wanted it. Believe me, those were dark and gloomy days of little hope and much self-flagellation.

So it is good to read an inspiring story from New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District on how an underfinanced, undersupported, underwatched dark horse candidate who ran as an anti-war activist against a better financed primary challenger, and then a Republican incumbent in a district that hasn't elected Democrats for three decades - won on the strength of her faith in the people and the democratic process. It reminds me of why I got into the fight in the first place, and that sometimes the underdog does win.

Folks, I give you the warm tingly-inducing story of Carol Shea-Porter as told by her accidental campaign aide on what can only be called people-powered politics. She won againist all popular wisdom and she did it under the radar screen, by reaching out and touching people. The campaign did the difficult grassroots work and they made it happen. It makes my inner idealist want to run around outside and turn cartwheels.

And I now REALLY want to read the Tipping Point, which has been on my list of books to read.
I'm not averse to finding inspiration and ideas from all and any sources, since I'm right now on a campaign against a big nasty Goliath.


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