Sometimes you should just say you got it wrong or think there’s a high probability that you didn’t get it right.
I penned a piece just the other day voicing my frustration with the newly formed Justice Party and the presidential candidacy of Rocky Anderson. I never had any misgivings about the platform of that party which, if you take the time to research, covers all the hot spots — reform of Citizen’s United, restoration of basic Constitutional rights, curbing the MIC… In short, it’s a wish list for populists, or even those simply aware that we are on a path towards nothing but misery. Solutions are offered that would appear to benefit a large cross section of our citizens. But I deemed it useless and not worth the vote.
I’ve had some unsettled feelings about the entire issue and what role feels right in regard to these elections. But mind you, these thoughts are tempered with residual cowbell– you see, the Roadrunners’ game I just attended was celebrating cowbell night. The fervent pleas for more cowbell were indeed met with more cowbell, and that is ringing in my head as I write this, so be patient with meandering thoughts.
Back to the topic at hand.
My concern arose when the party seemed to be averse to grass roots volunteerism — the hint that it was more of a “just hand over some money” entity alarmed me. My other worry was more comical perhaps. An e-mailer for the campaign included a quote from Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, perhaps the closest thing to kryptonite in my world. Admittedly it borders on lunacy. It’s as if someone took the entire contents of my mind, found the synapse sparking spots that react to negative stimuli, and built a man to activate each and every one of those brain areas. And that man is Thomas Friedman.
But here’s where it gets slightly more difficult. It’s hard to stay riled about an entity/campaign that treats your misgivings with honest answers. Rocky’s press officer promptly contacted me to express the very real issue that it is a brand new party, fraught with initial difficulties, like any would have. Those involved early on that seemed to adhere to a more self serving plan evidently are not with the campaign any longer. The desire is there for grass roots volunteer work, not just contributions.
And perhaps even more unsettling to my world view was a point Rocky Anderson made — he also took the time to write and address the concerns I voiced and even admitted to being “the guilty party” who opted for the Friedman quote. He stated that, yes, they are indeed short on money. They have limited themselves to only taking $100 per donor and, of course, no corporate money. That doesn’t put you in a very fiscally sound place so they truly do need to ask for money. It’s a far cry asking for a $100 dollars compared to being the kind of candidate who whores for Freddie Mac as a “historian”. It was wrong of me to blend any of that. I projected the misdeeds of others.
Sure, they are politicos and you expect them to say the right things, but in this age of bratty elitism, to have concerns addressed is still refreshing. I live in the state that had its governor harass a teenage girl for twittering “heblowsalot” in regard to the governor. Her school was contacted by the governor’s office and really…..he does blow a lot. She was right. That attempted aristocratic message control even against silly teens is what I expect from the political class, not honest admissions of problems and decent plans to fix them. I’ll admit it, that threw me off my stride.
I had to ask myself why would I be so quick to discard this party when I agree with pretty damn near everything they espouse. I suppose it comes from that nihilist pull that only comes after disappointment upon disappointment in regard to these political types. I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t taken in by Obama last time, but watching so many succumb to that perverted hope and change he so slickly marketed—well, the fear is there that the same thing could be in action. Hence, an overly protective but not very socially responsible reaction on my part. Give me one slight issue and I’ll discard the very idea of hope before it gets a chance to disappoint me. Hell, quote Thomas Friedman and I’ll run for the fire exit screaming!
I didn’t vote in the last election, but a moment of something like shame washed over me when my daughter asked where my “I Voted” sticker was. She saw them on her teachers at school that day. I felt ashamed, but how do you tell a child that you couldn’t bring yourself to chose either of those men? It’s a sad place to have no faith in any of it and it’s nothing I wanted to explain to a little girl.
I still don’t know the efficacy in participating in all of this. But one thing I do know is that there’s no harm in these ideas of decency being circulated. I was always ready with support for OWS, relishing the palpable change, the discarding of docility. OWS began a discourse on right versus wrong instead of left versus right, and that truly was a novelty. So much has been contrived “culture wars” these last couple decades. It’s a leap of trust to think anyone involved in politics could bring us, as citizens, anything but harm, but at this point I’m already jaded. If I get disappointed, I’m just back in the same place that I was — no real harm.
But if having these issues discussed by a third party opens minds….I guess I should admit that this is only positive. Others will have to look in their souls and decide what they think. Obviously, I’ve got some volatility in regard to the issue, but hearing out this campaign, I’m left with the uncomfortable realization that not only is Thomas Friedman a jackass, but so am I!
I’m not a Ron Paul supporter, but I have enjoyed the anti-imperial war message he has thrust into the Republican debates. You have to wonder what the ideas of outliers can spark in others. And there’s no creepy undercurrent with Anderson. Maybe some logistical issues in utilizing volunteer help, but that’s a pretty small sin, isn’t it?
Now the Thomas Friedman thing. I suppose I should just write a screed about him and get it over with, and not hit the Justice Party in the crossfire. But, really, The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work by Belén Fernández took that task and created pure art with it. I couldn’t improve on that worthy read. But in a moment of clarity, I can understand that the message that a third party could have serious impact on national discourse could hit a soft spot in a third party candidate, and that might induce one to quote him. Rocky Anderson made it clear that his interest was in that third party issue, not any kind of fawning support of Friedman’s other more destructive input.
The world is full of authoritarians who will never admit to being wrong or even consider such things. I’m sure that’s a more solid and comfortable world view, but I was born a Permissatarian, and I’m wrong a lot. I shouldn’t have discounted this candidacy for the trivial. I’m not a true believer by any means. I do think anyone who came too close to upsetting the balance might be in some serious trouble, but an eroding of the business as usual mentality….that I could see happening. Who knows where that might go? I truly believe there will be no discernible difference in a Romney or Obama administration. So the spoiler issue is moot to me. I have decided to listen and consider the good of this.
I started that last piece with a snippit of a song from that band The New Pornographers, but perhaps this was the passage more apt:
What’s the weight of the world worth to you, kid
Go write down what you see
And see how far it can go
What’s the weight of the world worth to your side
Here is where you got lost
And here is how you got by
I got by being cynical and quick to dismiss. That’s how. But who knows? Maybe I will have that “I Voted” sticker on this year. Stranger things have happened. But the best thing for others to do would be to check out this issue on their own. Go to the Justice Party site and consider.
But hoo boy, Rocky Anderson — don’t even think of sending me an email with a quote from David Brooks!