Sunday, September 13, 2009

Best Wingnut Advice: Get Involved Politically

One encouraging development stemming from the so-called 9/12 Tea Party yesterday is a sense of empowerment that it's giving conservatives. I read a whole lot of conservative comments about the event and one general theme among them is that the people at these protests were happy to be there and happy to see each other. And more importantly, even the people who weren't there feel empowered and as if they're part of something big. And that's a nice shift after all the angry shouting they were known for throughout August.

I think this comment from Tom the Redhunter at American Power gives a good sign of where I'm hoping things go:
Fantastic post and great photos, Donanld. Just as in WDC it seems like all of you had a great time.
The question is where does this energy go from here? If all people do is go home and holler at their TVs then it will have made little difference. So please get involved politically. Find a candidate or cause and get involved. This is the only way you can effect change.
And good for them, I hope they do it. Because my biggest fear in all this is that Limbaugh, Beck and the others don't want these people to find a good outlet for their concerns. They want these people to feel trapped and powerless, as that puts them in the pocket of the demagogues. But having an outlet to their frustrations is the exact sort of thing they need.

And the last thing we need is for them to take all their pent-up energy and go back to hollering at their televisions, or their Congressmen, or worse. Desperate people do desperate things. We need these people to feel enfranchised again, and getting involved politically is the exact way to go.

"We Can't Stop Them"

Here's an example I quoted from James Dobson back in May:
"I want to tell you up front that we're not going to ask you to do anything, to make a phone call or to write a letter or anything. There is nothing you can do at this time about what is taking place because there is simply no limit to what the left can do at this time. Anything they want, they get and so we can't stop them."
Hear that? There's nothing you can do, as there is no limit to what the left can do, and we can't stop them. It was all about disenfranchising conservatives. About making them feel powerless and as if the system just couldn't work for them. And that worried me greatly. Rather than seeing last November as a short-term defeat, they were interpreting current events as some sort of apocalyptic doom, requiring drastic measures, which the normal letter writing simply couldn't handle.

But now, these people are sounding a lot more rational. It's all about trying to convert this energy into victory next year, and channeling their energy into productive activities. And I support that completely. Please, conservatives, donate money to your favorite politicians. Work the phonebanks. Knock on them doors. Anything, just as long as it's part of democracy, and none of this Coup by Election nonsense Glenn Beck was peddling recently.

The idea that we're "stealing" America "in the guise of an election" is entirely repulsive to democracy. Sorry Glenn, but if we win the election, it's not theft. That's the system of government you purport to defend.

Letting Democracy Work

Democracy doesn't mean you always win. Hell, it doesn't even guarantee good government. It merely guarantees that you get some influence in how your life is governed and if you don't win this time, you should stay on board, because you'll get another shot at the brass ring soon enough.

If they feel encouraged by 70,000 or even the supposed two million people they claim showed up yesterday in D.C., they need to remember that there were over 58 million folks who voted with them last year. They're not alone. They just lost an election and there will be other elections. And the best answer to Obama's healthcare plan isn't to scare everyone into believing they're going to be killed at the hands of Obama's "death panels," but merely to let democracy do what democracy does. And if the plan is as bad as conservatives believe, they should have no problem kicking our butts next year and repealing the law. That's how our system works and that's what these people need to keep their eyes on.

It's healthy for people to disagree with us. It's not healthy for them to lose hope in the process. So it's in all of our interests that conservatives learn to focus this energy into constructive measures. Go ahead, beat us at the polls. Anything's better than the vague threats of violence and revolt we've been getting. It's better for my congressman to lose an election than for him to get chased out of a parking lot. Voting is democracy; anger isn't.


Scott P said...

I think that's a great point, but maybe a little too rational for the Right at this moment. The Conservative movement has always had a feeling of victimization to it, and now they really get to express it. It's a lot easier to play the victim and yell and scream about how close you are to being thrown into a camp somewhere, than it is to actually come up with your own constructive ideas. Especially when the only ideas you stick with have been repeatedly proven wrong over the past few decades.

I also agree about Limbaugh and the other fearmongerers (mongeri?). It is much better for them personally for the GOP to be out of power. Rush came to prominence during the Clinton years, and was pretty much invisible during the Bush years. When the GOP comes to power again, he'll be pushed aside again.

D. H. Swinehart said...

Thanks for the insight. I have been nearly as apoplectic as the wingnuts on the right lately, so it was good to get another perspective on this. And you're absolutely right. If these folks get involved, they may stop being part of the problem, and start being part of the solution.

Wish I'd had the wisdom to write this.