Saturday, January 23, 2010
Is there a Special Interest Group for Everyman?
I had to force myself out of bed yesterday morning. It would've been easy to stay home, huddled under the covers, ignoring anything outside them. I was battling a cold anyway, and had been home sick the day before...but I thrust my legs out and down and greeted the morning. Staying in bed all day would be the worst thing to do. Ruminating aftershocks of the Supreme Court's decision would surely crush me. I needed the diversion of being at work; I felt like I'd had the wind knocked outta me.
The Brown win in Massachussetts is a good story, full of irony. A red guy elected in the bluest state to fill the Senate seat of the bluest of the Democrats-- a blueblood even-- who'd held the seat for 40 plus years--after assuming the seat previously occupied by his brother. The last scion of a powerful political family sadly died after passing the mantle of the party to a presidential candidate--an outtanowhere, impressively accomplished, courageously spoken black guy, a living symbol of the blueblood family's political legacy. The romantic flourishes of this story are real. The new Republican senator from Massachussetts embodies the necessary dissenting voice to kill the health care proposal that the new president had made a centerpiece of his Administration. The notion of Health Care Reform is itself a lovely, gracious nod to the former lion of the Senate, the president's benefactor, whose committment to providing health care coverage to all Americans echoed after his dying breath in the voices of his grandchildren and other family members at his beautiful and poignant memorial service(s).
It's a compelling story, truth more intriguing than fiction, with lots of nuance and symbolism--and it evolves. Now the new president has got to find some way to stem the tide of progressives and/or independents that have slipped the Democrats due to his inaction on their agenda; chiefly, a public option in health care reform. The thing is, now that he's suffered the loss, and a Republican has got the 41st vote, denying the Dems the 60 they need to make any real progress in the Senate, he's less able than ever to woo them back. He. no. longer. has. enough. votes. The motto of the first year could be "too little action, yet much ado, and still NOTHING".
But that's politics. It's like following a soap opera. The amazing plot twists are what keep you coming back. The thing that nearly compelled me catatonic under the covers was the Supreme Court decision that, essentially, disenfranchised me and Everyman by empowering corporations to directly influence election outcomes by financing campaigns. That precedent-shattering $74 million that Obama raised is a pittance compared to the coffers of companies that have hundreds of billions in profit, like say, Exxon Mobil.
And you thought Obama was taking over business! Enough of that socialist nonsense! There's no chance of that now; the Supreme Court 'danced with the one that brung 'em': business is taking over the government!
1. campaign commercials will end with things like: We're *INSERT YOUR EMPLOYER'S NAME HERE* and we approve of this candidate! or,
2. the Capitol will become known as Goldman Sachs Hill? or
3. anyone who's genuinely interested in serving the public good will even bother to enter politics or government?
I thought maybe I was overreacting. No one else I mentioned it to seemed nearly as bothered. Though the President immediately voiced his disagreement with the decision, and encouraged Congress " work together...bipartisan...to fight..." blah, blah; I really don't think there's anything they can do--is there? This is the Supreme Court. The final word. In the prescient words of the inimitable Michael Jackson, "This is it!" (for the foreseeable future anyway, given the makeup of the Court.)
Well, at least I'm not alone in my freakout. Check out Worst. Week. Ever.