Today it rained here in Southeastern Massachusetts, so I stayed inside (as people tend to do in foul weather) and decided to curl up with a good film. The movie? The HBO film Iron Jawed Angels. I want to recommend to anyone who hasn't already seen it to make a point to watch it as soon as possible.
When I was younger, I learned that feminism was a thing of the past, and that the good work was already done. Today I felt in my heart that this is not true. I also felt that the lessons of these amazing women may also hold true for us progressives.
They were up against seemingly insurmountable obstacles and rabid opposition. We are being told that we are in the minority, as they were, but we have to keep on fighting. If people disagree with us, we must work that much harder to educate them, to help them make a better decision.
Opposing progressive policy is not just politics as usual. It is a direct byproduct of inundation in anti-progressive propaganda. It is a direct byproduct of misinformation campaigns that have been voraciously launched and fought by the right-wing in this country. It is a direct byproduct of the history of this country, where the wealthy and powerful have always held tight to political power, despite their constant pandering "one man, one vote" and their shouts of "representative government." This is not a new problem, but we must find new solutions. We have tried working within the Democratic party. We have tried appealing to conservatives on social issues. We have compromised, and compromised, and compromised -- but no one is compromising for us. The time has come for harsher measures, for revolution.
I do not propose violence, please hear me. But the time has come to boycott the Democratic Party, a party which has failed us again and again, and continues to ask us to open our wallets, as recently as this week in a whining, equally pandering mass email campaign. Are we gluttons for punishment? Why do we insist on clinging to the coattails of the Democrats when they no longer espouse those beliefs that we hold closest to our hearts?
What is stopping us from leaving them high and dry, as they have repeatedly left us?
This is not the way to fight. Sitting underneath the table and begging for scraps is for dogs, not for us. We are American citizens, and we ought to be demanding our fair share of voice in this government.
We shy away from making statements that we know to be true, because we don't want to lose the fish-heads we are occasionally tossed from the elite power structure.
For example, I would hope that by now we all know that the United States is the biggest exporter of state-sponsored terrorism in the world.
Why shouldn't I say that? Until now, I have made an effort to keep quiet on subjects like that -- hell, according to the right, that statement should be considered grounds for treason charges.
This is insanity. I will no longer give in to pressure. If I think that we are murdering innocent civilians, not only in Iraq, but all over the world, I am going to open my mouth and shout it from the rooftops. If I think that war is the greatest evil man can perpetrate against man, I will do the same. If I know I am being lied to by the United States government, I will not keep calm.
There is no morality in war. Am I "weak" for making this claim? Absolutely not. Have I shied away from it in the past to avoid conflict? Sadly, yes. This is disgusting behavior, and for it, I feel profoundly ashamed.
I no longer stand only against George W. Bush. I stand against any power structure that intentionally, deliberately disenfranchises the people of this nation--be it through obvious means (such as we saw in this past election) or through subliminal means. We have become a nation of sheep. Those of us who supported Senator Kerry have also fallen victim to this systematic indoctrination. This is not an insult, but a wake up call. We were given such a limited number of choices, we felt we had no choice but to side with the lesser of two evils. In reality, John Kerry (though I believe him to be a generally good man) is not so much better than Bush politically. Until we assert ourselves into the debate, at the highest levels, we will have no power for change.
Popular revolutions have been crushed by the United States government for decades--because the elite power structure knows that the people, given power, will no longer stand for their policies.
We are the people. Our revolution, though quieter than some, is being crushed in much the same way. All I ask is that we fight back. If it means that the Republicans stay in power for the next 4, 8, 12, 16 years, then so be it, but I refuse to continue my support for the Democratic Party on the grounds that it abandoned me before I was ever born. It took me 23 years to see this clearly, but there is no going back.
Without the support of the people, the Democratic Party will have two choices: it can collapse, and be replaced, or it can hear our united voices, and do the right thing -- push for progressive change, oppose corruption, both political and corporate, and fight the good fight to put the power back in the hands of the people.
Not One Damn Dime Day? Not one damn dime to the Democratic Party until it comes around. And until that great day, any money I choose to give will go to real progressive groups.
The Party's over.
Katherine Brengle is a 23-year-old college student and aspiring writer from Massachusetts. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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