Remember how hard it was to gloat when President Bush's poll numbers began to sink? In part, that was due to discouragement over the tremendous amount of work undoing the damage caused by his administration. It was certainly no reflection of any nobility of spirit that liberals and progressives might flatter themselves into thinking is inherent to their breed.
For instance, note how hatred of Bush, which you'd think would have peaked after the Democrats assumed the majority in Congress, continues unabated.
The time has long past to leave hatred of Bush behind. Because he's a soft target, it never delivered much bang for the buck anyway. Perhaps instead we should reserve our hatred for those who put him in power. No, not corporate interests, Karl Rove, or the Bilderbergers, but the voters.
In other words, hating Bush is hating the American people. But, just as hatred for Bush is futile because he's too dense to know he's hated, it's no fun reviling those to whom informing themselves before voting never occurred.
In his new book, "The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies," libertarian economist Bryan Caplan suggests voter competence tests to encourage greater economic literacy. Because it harkens back to the measures whites used to keep blacks from voting in the South, that's a non-starter in the US. His idea about emulating pre-World War II England and granting extra votes to more knowledgeable voters is even more dead in the water.
We're stuck then with a system in which, as journalist Christopher Shea writes, "Most people base their votes, and their answers to polls, on only the vaguest feelings about how the economy, or life, is treating them."
At the risk of appearing as elitist as Kaplan, those that muddled are only to be pitied. Then who's left to hate? How about those privy to the knowledge of what Bush and Co. were capable. In other words, ourselves.
Us? Yes. Just because we're tired of hearing Edmund Burke's chestnut -- "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing." –- doesn't make it any less true.
Okay, I'll go first. Like many reading this, I vote, go to demonstrations, write articles, and call my congressional representatives. Obviously, these activities alone haven't been enough to halt the pox the Bush administration has spread on Iraq (not to mention everything else it's touched).
I hate myself, then, because. . .
- I never arranged a picket line or staged a sit-in.
- I've never, despite how easy it is, organized regular, weekly vigils at a military recruiter's office.
- I've never planned, much less attended, any teach-in or meet-up kind of functions.
- Using the excuse that people don't care, I've never created a listserv and sent around regular emails urging friends and acquaintances to action. (I don't even notify them when my articles are posted.)
- So resigned am I to American apathy, I never talk about politics in public, even if only to draw others out on issues.
- I've never tried to raise money for progressive causes.
- I've never even set up a phone tree, to pass along messages to several people, who would then pass the message on to other members.
- I've never gone to demonstrations in a jacket and tie, like those who took part in the civil rights demonstrations.
- I've never parked myself on the doorstep of the office of Hillary Clinton (one of my senators) and told her people I wasn't leaving until we left Iraq.
- I've never rounded up a bunch of folks, lodged ourselves at the fence outside the White House, and spent all day shouting, "Can't you take a hint? Go home. You're not wanted anymore."
- Finally, I've never placed my body on the line for my country to defend against, "the long train of abuses and usurpations" (Jefferson's words) of Bush & Co. In other words, I've never taken up ar –- uh, never mind.