And so the Stewart/Colbert Rally for Sanity closed with these memorable words from the Daily Show comedian: "These are hard times. These are not end times." After all the fun, Stewart did his best FDR, and I do believe the nation will be better for it. He did not urge us to get out and vote, just tamp down the noise so we won't go irrepairably deaf . Fear should not guide our decisions, but be exiled to restore an America that historically faced its fears and conquered them all.
Yet fear, though softened by this blend of jokes and wisdom, is not vanquished from my Progressive soul. I do think of Tuesday. I do fear the fragility of the thin thread holding the past to the future of the American Dream may snap on as one victor after another is called, a crazy elected here and another there with yet more to come; sending one timescape spiraling into oblivion and the other drifting into chaos.
Like perhaps most Progressives, I have a bitterness over the promised "Change" being so compromised, even bastardized. The President's explanations just sound like the whining he and his effete and corporate-owned advisors have accused me and you of doing. Obama comes off weakened by his excuses, and it makes me wonder how he has enough strength to stand; if he has something he cares enough about to stand for or if he, actually, stands for nothing at all.
And so it is I was about to sit out the first election since I cast my first vote for McGovern in 1972. If the Great Disappointer and his henchmen chose to tell me I was the problem, then I'd just pout in defiance of them. Until Olbermann.
In his drawnout Special Comment of October 27th, the MSNBC Countdown host listed all the reasons I must, one more time, go to the polls; that the stakes are, indeed, dire if I sit home and let these lunatics take charge of the future of this already too abused country:
"It is as if a group of moderately talented performers has walked on stage at a comedy club on improv night. The entertainment of the evening is for each to take their comment and build upon it. The problem is, of course, what it turns out there is no audience shouting out gags, just a cabal of corporations and the chamber of commerce and political insider blood suckers like Karl Rove and Dick Armey and the chicken little chorus of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. And the instructions are to elect a group of unqualified, unstable individuals, who will do what they are told in exchange for money and power, and march this nation as far backward as they can get".And if you are somehow indifferent to what is planned for next Tuesday, it is nothing short of an attempted use of democracy to end this democracy, to buy america wholesale."
Olbermann than pulled out the fear card to yank me off my ass: "You do not think your freedom is at stake next Tuesday?"
So, like Ed Sullivan, Keith ran down the list of the next variety show:
Sharron Angle : The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for senator from Nevada, decried divorce and social security as some of this nation's "wicked ways'. Angle also compared rape to "a lemon situation in lemonade'. She would deny an abortion even to a teenage girl who had been raped by her own father. And Angle believes unemployment benefits can neither be increased nor extended, because that's caused us to have a spoilage with our ability to go out and get a job. "Back in Nevada Mrs. Angle decries health care - not reform, but health care itself," Olbermann reminded me, continuing, "Everything that they want to throw at us now is covered under 'autism', she said." She, also, wants to repeal the 16th amendment that permitts a federal income tax. Perhaps government will keep the roads and bridges repaired and defend the nation is exchange for chickens.
Joe Miller: The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for senator in Alaska believes unemployment insurance is unconstitutional, though his wife received unemployment insurance after losing a temp job he got for her. Mr. Miller also believes Medicaid is unconstitutional, though his entire family had received Medicaid funds. According to Miller, Social Security is unconstitutional, too, but still should be paid out, and then the issue dumped into the laps of the states. He wants to repeal the 17th amendment that permits popular vote elections for United States senators. At an event at a public school, Miller's private security guards detained and handcuffed a reporter, and threatened to handcuff two more, without any legal right to do so. In Olbermann's words, "The security company was operating with an expired license; its chief has links to extremist organizations; and the defense was that the guards didn't know the individual was a reporter, which implies it would be just dandy to handcuff an ordinary citizen."
Mike Lee: The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for senator from Utah, like Joe Miller, wants to bar citizens from voting for U.S. senators, calling the 17th amendment "a mistake." He, also, eschews raising the liability limits for the next BP oil spill from $75 million to $10 billion, declaring, "You have a set of settled expectations that you give to a business when it decides to make an investment in this. Our country benefits from this type of activity"" Asked by the Salt Lake City Tribune if that's a kind of bailout, if it leaves taxpayers on the hook for part of the damage, Lee admitted, "Well, yea, probably does."
Glenn Urqunart: The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate to be the only congressman in Delaware, believes, according to Olbermann, there is no problem that abortion can't make worse and quoted Urqunart as saying, "I know good friends who are the product of rape" and believes the phrase "separation of church and state' was not said by Thomas Jefferson--he thinks it was Hitler.
Jon Runyan: The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for New Jersey's 3rd house seat defends corporate tax loopholes: "Loopholes are there for a reason. They are to avoid people from really having to pay too many taxes."
John Raese: The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate for the senate in West Virginia wants to abolish the inheritance tax (that only impacts the most wealthy) and abolish the minimum wage as well. Mr. Raese told the Associated Press, "I can't think of very many times when a government agency has helped me', though the companies Mr. Raese owns have received $2.4 million in contracts from the federal government since 2000, and $32 million in contracts from the state government since 2000.
Todd Young: The Tea Party-and-Republican candidate in the Indiana 9th believes Social Security is a ponzi scheme.