Thursday, May 01, 2008

This sort of thinking pisses me off

From one of Sullivan's readers, a young person threatening to quit politics:
I'll just put that out there. If Obama is done in by this whole Wright thing I am done with politics. I can't invest myself in something that is so sure to disappoint me time and time and time again. If the Democratic party decides that it can not risk nominating a great and decent African American man because his pastor is a scary African American man, it does not deserve power because it will have caved to what is worst about America. Racists on both sides of the divide will rejoice at having taking down the biggest threat to their belief system since Martin Luther King....and young people like myself will burrow deeper into to the holes we were in before Barack Obama dug us out.
No, no no no no! That's exactly the sort of attitude that would reward those who are trying to defeat Obama with a wave of divisive Rovian nonsense. Those forces this young reader decries want young voters to "burrow deeper into the holes [they] were in". They'd like nothing better than for a generation of potential activists to get all pouty and abandon politics. It would be so much better if young people said, "Every time I hear a campaign use a racist smear against Obama, I'm going to give another dollar (or nickel, or whatever makes sense) to his campaign, or spend another minute volunteering for it." When people express the kind of sentiment displayed by the quote above, don't they realize that they're completely shooting themselves in the foot, and empowering the very forces of sleaze that disgust them so?

When politics is disappointing, that's the time to get more active, more involved, more vocal. If the current Democratic party was a great steward of American progress, and did a great job combating Republican insanity, then we wouldn't need activists, bloggers, and progressive politicians to whip it into fighting shape. It's because our politics are so broken and disgusting that we need more people scrutinizing, criticizing, and changing how things are done in this country. I got active because the Bush administration was pissing me off so much.

If you want someone to stop shitting on your country, you don't say "If you keep shitting on my country, it's going to stink so bad that I'm going to run away and hide". You say, "I'm going to get your stinky ass out of office if it's the last thing I do!" And you work to make sure that those who are replacing the shitters are less shitty. Anything else is just surrender.

When you step back and think about it, it's an enormous accomplishment that Obama has come as far as he has. And I think he's going to win. And if he doesn't, I'm not burrowing into any holes.


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