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March 29, 2008

Fear Gets in the Way

By Tim Copeland

Selling presidential candidates like detergent is what lost the last 2 elections. We need more Star Trek.


Progressive Democrats have never been more optimistic about an approaching election. The growing activism of the party base, the constantly improving communications tools they use and the series of absolute disasters that comprise the résumé of the Republican Party make it inevitable that Democrats will win by historic margins in November.

So why do we wring our hands so?

As Obama and Clinton slug it out (I am pro-Obama because I'm anti-Clinton), I hear from many fellow Democrats that they:

1. like Obama

2. hate Clinton

3. think Clinton better able to beat McCain

So their angst is a choice. Do they follow their hearts or play the strategy game? After all, their hearts have been broken so many times, they just want to win this time. Well, so do I.

For those who don't know, the greatest Star Trek movie was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. The greatest moment of the greatest movie was when the landing party was seemingly stranded for days in a cavern deep within a planet, and Captain Kirk, having just told a story about beating an "unbeatable" simulation during his Academy days, finished the tale with the arrogant declaration, "I don't like to lose."

Then he flipped open his communicator and said, "Spock, you ready?" And Spock was there and the rescue instantaneous.

The fantasy of Captain Kirk was that he never gave up and he always won. So what's to learn from a fantasy? Well, two things.

First, Kirk plays to win. He doesn't compromise; he doesn't trade-off one thing for another; he doesn't accept less than what he wants. He puts it all on the line and he wins.

Second, Kirk does not act out of fear, he acts. To win, he lets go of fear and puts his effort into winning. It is the same thing the basketball player does when she drives to the goal between two guards. It is the same thing the quarterback does when he tracks the distant receiver as linebackers thunder toward him. It is the same thing the businessman does when he dares expand just when the economy is tanking.

The competitor who runs a race always looking behind herself is not focused on winning, she is afraid of losing. Playing it safe doesn't get the big prizes.

Who would do better against McCain in November? I'm going to surprise readers and admit that I don't know. I really don't. But for those Democrats who want so desperately to win that they'd support Clinton even though they despise her war enabling, her denial of the same, her corporate servitude and her recent lies about her support of NAFTA, I have a thought.

If you are playing to win, let me define winning. Winning is getting what you want. With Clinton, you might win the election but lose everything you are fighting for. If you want to win, then run an honest race and don't look back.

The final thing is this. Presidents are fun to have, but they don't make law. Congress makes law and if you want to turn this country around, Congress is the only game in town. I could live with McCain if I had a liberal Democratic Congress with the mandate to act and the spine to become a co-equal branch of government.

Congress is what really matters. We're going to take it this fall and then we're going to grab it by the balls. You win by wanting to win. This is our time. Fear gets in the way.

Submitters Bio:

Tim Copeland served a 20 year career in the USAF flying reconnaissance RF-4Cs and working in a Army Corps liaison unit. After the AF, he was a taxi dispatcher, school department computer manager, community college adjunct faculty and computer adaptive technology specialist. He is currently a self-employed technical consultant working with public schools and people with disabilities. He has been publishing political opinion in Maine for over 3 years. He is radical liberal, active in local politics and darn good looking.