These last few days, I've heard constantly of Robert Gibbs, what he actually meant, where Obama really stands on "the professional left", and whether any of us in "the professional left" can have any more hope for any more positive change coming out of Washington...
But that's just it. We're missing the point here. And we may be letting all this Washington inside ball give us over to perhaps the most dangerous force threatening to wreak havoc this November.
I was walking yesterday with my local State Senator in what's become the typical scene of the Las Vegas suburbs: Parents bringing their kids home from school, seniors driving back from the grocery store, someone working on his car, casino workers returning from the mid-day shift... And foreclosures all over, and people out of work and afraid of what's to come next.
I spoke with a few people last night who nearly drove me to tears. One said she was planning to vote Democratic this November, but first made sure I knew about the foreclosed houses all around her and wanted to know what's being done about that and her neighbors without jobs. Another person I spoke to was a registered Republican, but said she lost faith after Bush stole the 2000 Election from Gore (yes, she actually said that!), her vote "doesn't count", and "they're all corrupt, she just pulled the wool over your eyes"... And she said she doesn't vote any more. Another registered Democrat did say she'd get out and vote, but expressed fear over all the school budget cuts and was wondering if anyone can stop our education system from being cut to death.
Now it was good to hear all the positive feedback from the Democrats I ran into last night, as well as the open minds I found among a few Independents and Republicans. Still, that one conversation with the Republican lady saying she doesn't vote scares me. Sadly, she's not alone. I've talked with other people over the phone, and listened as they said they didn't want to vote for anyone. I spoke with a neighbor last weekend who said, "I don't like any of 'em." I've heard others ask what the point of voting is.
What I've come to realize is that our problem is bigger than just some silly remark from Robert Gibbs or some "professional lefty" yelling about the filibuster or Obama's foreign policy. Our real problem this year is APATHY. Our problem is people giving up on the political process.
The big money corporate powers that be would love nothing more than to see us all give up, stay at home, and just yell at our teevees. That way, it's easier for them to buy their preferred "Tea Party" Republicans (and a few ConservaDem sellouts) and prevent any more progress from coming out of Congress.
How else do you think Sharron Angle became the Republican nominee for US Senate here in my home state?
Now the only way she wins and other teabagger crazies win down ballot is if people just give up and stay home. Seriously!
The new Reuters/Ipsos poll of the Nevada Senate race gives Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a narrow lead over his Republican challenger, former state Rep. Sharron Angle -- and a really big lead if turnout were to be higher than currently expected.
The numbers, among likely voters: Reid 48%, Angle 44%. There is no prior Reuters/Ipsos poll for direct comparison. The TPM Poll Average gives Reid a lead of 45.1%-42.7%.
The kicker: Among the larger pool of registered voters, Reid leads by a phenomenal 52%-36%. So clearly, the job for Dem groups is to mobilize voters for Reid -- and against Angle's right-wing positions.
It clearly is our job to get out the vote, and that's why I'm here today.
Look, I know you're frustrated. I sure as hell can be. We're still awaiting action on passing ENDA and repealing DADT. We're still awaiting any kind of real action on the climate crisis. And of course, we're still awaiting more action on job creation!
We clearly have further to go to fix what's wrong in our country. But to paraphrase President Bill Clinton, there's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed with what's right with America. And by just "sitting out" this election, we're essentially giving up on our country and on real solutions to our problems.
And let's not forget what has been accomplished so far. Remember those? Health care reform and the start of what will soon be universal health care. The return of sensible financial regulation and curbing of Wall Street excesses. The Recovery Act, small as it was, that provided much needed investment in our economy. And just this week, we got the $26 billion aid package to keep schools open and needy seniors on Medicaid... You know, the response to what Sharron Angle called "the emergency in Harry Reid's mind"...
And in local teachers' minds?
That was from a little earlier this year, after Harry Reid delivered $400 million for Nevada schools. And yes, that money is crucial to our survival. One of my neighbors works at a local elementary school. As of now, she has to buy school supplies out of her own pocket because Clark County School District couldn't afford any more supplies. She once had to go nearly a week without air conditioning while the school district was authorizing the expense, as they had to make sure they could pay for it. Now imagine how much worse shape we'd be in if we had more people in Congress like Sharron Angle who wouldn't approve that $26 billion school aid bill so long as her "Tea Party, Inc." corporate overlords told her not to?
And sadly, she's not alone. Other candidates up and down the ballot here in Nevada are taking their queue from Angle and toeing the "tea party line" on rejecting sound government and embracing oligarchy. And of course, it's not just happening here in Nevada. It's happening all across the country, and it's our duty to stop the corporate funded "tea party invasion", and rekindle that hope for real, progressive change we had two years ago but seems pretty dim today.
I know what Gibbs said the other day was ridiculous. I know it's frustrating to see President Obama not living up to his full potential. I know it's frustrating to see conservative Senators block any sort of progressive change all the time.
Let's face it, change was never going to be easy... But it's happening.
And we can't afford to "sit it out" and watch all this progress get reversed, and see any hope of more progress completely dashed. That's why I refuse to give up on true leaders like Harry Reid and Dina Titus, as well as my Democrats at the local level. The more I hear from my neighbors here, the more afraid they are of extremist wackadoodles like Sharron Angle. We just need to make sure all of us get out and support sane, progressive leaders who actually get good sh*t done for us.
And I hope I've encouraged you to do the same in your hometown. We can't afford any more crazy Republicans who want to take us back to the Bush-Cheney doldrums, and we can't afford to empower ConservaDems who'd like nothing more than to see real Democrats lose across the country and progressives demoralized.
So you want to prove Gibbs wrong? Fine, then. Show him how the not-so-professional left wins. :-)