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When Your Champions Run From the Field Rather than Fight

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Yesterday I posted "The Opening Statement" in this incremental work I'm calling, "What Should Be Happening Now." Today, I've added a new part --embedded in the original framework-- that is entitled, " When Your Champions Run From the Field Rather than Fight."

The NEW part is easily distinguished from the old part: what is new today is in BOLD while what was published previously is in regular font.

Subsequent installments will be presented similarly: the old will be in more faint type, the new standing out with bold.


The great disappointment of this moment is that George W. Bush is still able to dominate the politics --the agenda, the discussion, the chosen course-- of the United States. It is that the Democrats who constitute the majority in Congress have been unable to wrest such power from this president. This despite the fact that the president is deeply unpopular in the country, despite the fact that he has accumulated a disgraceful record of crimes and lies, despite the fact that the primary venture of his presidency --his war of choice in Iraq-- has proved to be a huge disaster for this country.

When Your Champions Run From the Field Rather than Fight

This president is not in a strong position. But still the opposition shrinks from the necessary fight.


The polls as of the beginning of November reveal that George W. Bush just set a record for the percentage of Americans who STRONGLY DISAPPROVE of him, breaking Richard Nixon’s old record around the time of his impeachment inquiry (at 48 percent).

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Half the people –people who can be counted on, one would infer, to welcome and reward politicians who confront and oppose this presidency vigorously—enough to win an election. But still, the Democratic opposition holds back.

Here we have one more example of the disastrous polarization that has occurred in America along the right-left divide: the right wing has been taken over by power-lusting thugs, people who habitually turn every issue into a war and conduct that war in a “take no prisoners” fashion; and the left is led by people who do not know how to fight.

Perhaps that is the explanation of the question, why do the Democrats seem cowardly and ineffectual: perhaps it is because they do not know how to fight.

But we need for these, our representatives, to fight. The plain facts of how power works in our system dictate that, when confronted with a lawless president, we need for these people to be our champions.
A champion is the one who leaves the field a victor. The word itself connotes a warrior: derived from the word for “field,” the champion is one who triumphs on the field of battle.
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In this case, the battle is not merely a competition between individuals, or between sides. It is a moral struggle. So it is not just our team or our tribe or our high school we want to prevail, but more importantly it is the good, the true, and the beautiful. We need for them to be our champions in the fight to make the truth predominant again over the Lie, after all these years when Bushite lies have ruled the country. We need for them to be our champions in the fight to give the values of peace their due weight.

We need for them to be our champions in the fight to maintain the legal and constitutional structures that safeguard our lives and that –far more than fascism—help create the circumstances where decency and justice have a fighting chance.

Yet, even while it is urgent that these battles be waged now –with all the ferocity that Achilles brought to the field of battle—our champions keep fleeing the battle without even having fully joined arms.

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)

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