Panhandle (W.Va.) Grassroots for Democracy

The Panhandle Grassroots for Democracy is working to improve our corner of eastern West Virginia, our state and our nation.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

An open letter to Billmon

Dear Billmon,

I hope you don't mind me contacting you in this way, but I suspect many people feel the same way you feel.
You've been on fire lately with your analysis of the Middle East fighting and political situation. I do not think any of the big name columnists at any of the major newspapers has been as accurate at describing the overall current events or predicting what will happen in the immediate near future.

For quite some time, you've been one of my favorite writers. I have a near obsession with Arthur Conan Doyle, would have donated an organ to keep Patrick O'Brian alive and writing, and wish Richard Laymon had not died so young. So when I say you're one of my favorite writers, I want you to know the company I place you in.

And so it isn't some thing I say lightly when I say I think you're wrong. You wrote:

So here's my confession: At this point I really don't give a flying fuck whether the Democrats take the House or the Senate back. No, wait, that's not true. The truth is I hope they don't. It wouldn't save us from what's coming down the road, in the Middle East and elsewhere. It wouldn't force President Psychopath to change course or seek therapy. But it would make sure that the "left" (ha ha ha) gets more than its fair share of blame for the approaching debacle.

That may well be the natural role of the Democratic Party in our one-and-a-half party system, but I don't want any part of it any more. Which means that when I say it's a bad sign (consensus opinion always being wrong) that Charlie Cook now thinks the Republicans are likely to lose their House and/or Senate majorities in November, I just mean that it's a bad sign for the Democratic Party and its professional hangers on.

For the rest of us, and for whatever is left of this country's soul, it doesn't really matter. We've already lost.

Believe me, I understand why you'd think that. Even if the Democrats win the House and Senate, we're not at a point where we can see light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel has collapsed. There is no light to be seen. The Republicans wrecklessly smashed through the supports and too many Democrats stood by or even abetted them.

I know about darkness. I've lived in it. The world is very dark. I understand your despair.

But here is where you and I differ. I still have hope. I have hope that people are wakening up to the desperateness of the situation and they're going to get to work digging our way out. We're going to push the Republicans who led us into the disaster out of the way first and we're going to push out the Democrats who enabled them, beginning with the worst of the lot Sen. Joe Lieberman. But we're not going to stop there. We're going to go through the whole bad lot of them here and across the globe. And when I say we, I don't mean the bloggers. We don't have that power despite the foolish claims of the pundits. It's the ordinary people who are going to do it. The bloggers are just ordinary people with cyber megaphones. But it's the people who are going to get us out of this mess. Not any pretend leaders.

I don't know as much about the current events in the Middle East or in Washington, D.C. as you do. But I do know about ordinary, plain folks. I hear their anger at the way the world is and their desire to work to make it better from the people sitting next to me at Sunday school and from the passenger seat of the junk-hauling dump truck.

We're going through a tough time around the globe, those of us who just want to work and raise our families in peace and quiet and who just want to love our neighbors and make enough money to take care of ourselves and a little extra to help those not so fortunate. The planet is going through hell. But you don't make steel without putting the raw metal into the fires of the forge.

As Americans, we can look back at our history where the cause of progress must have seemed hopeless and lost. Valley Forge. Bull Run. Labor relations.  Segregation. Vietnam.

It is heart breaking that we continue to go through wars in the Middle East and have to fight to protect the rights of ordinary Americans here.

But peace and social justice are worth the struggle. I don't believe the cause is lost. The odds are overwhelming certainly. They were overwhelming against us when Thomas Paine and Gen. George Washington fought for independence against the greatest military force on the planet and the were overwhelmingly against us when Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. faced racial segregationists backed by the full force of law enforcement and defeated them with the force of their courage and love.

They did the impossible. And that makes them mighty. And their blood flows through our veins. The odds always seem overwhelming. But no cause is lost -- unless we decide it is and surrender. That it doesn't really matter. And from what I've read of your work over the years, I know you believe it does matter. That you'll be one working for peace and justice until you draw your last breath. With people like you fighting for the country's soul, it is only a matter of time until we win.


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